One year ago today, the Vision for Space Exploration re-energized the nation’s space program  and charted long-term plans for sending humans and robots exploring beyond Earth orbit and into the Solar System.

The first step of the Vision will come to life later this year with the return to flight of the Space Shuttle and continued assembly of the International Space Station.

With significant backing from the White House and support from organizations such as the Coalition for Space Exploration, our nation’s leaders in Congress embraced the Vision and fully approved NASA’s FY 2005 spending plan.

Congress’ vote of confidence for the Vision echoed national public support for the Vision. A Gallup Poll, released in July by the Coalition, revealed that 68 percent of Americans approve of the Vision’s goals.

NASA responded quickly to the challenge of implementing this new space policy and established an exploration office, soon tasking 11 companies to begin working on studies for lunar exploration and a new Crew Exploration Vehicle to carry humans back to the Moon.

Meanwhile, the spirit of exploration remained alive within the aerospace community thanks to the success of the Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, the arrival of Cassini at Saturn, and the ongoing operations at the International Space Station.

Just this week, NASA launched the Deep Impact comet probe and, with their colleagues at the European Space Agency, helped land the Huygens probe on Saturn’s moon Titan – both missions critical to future exploration goals.

“We can expect many more stimulating news days like these in the years to come as we move forward in implementing the Vision,” said Jeff Carr, chairman of the Coalition for Space Exploration’s Public Affairs Group.

Looking ahead to this year, the Vision’s most important “next step” will come when Space Shuttle Discovery lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center to resume servicing and assembly of the International Space Station.

“That return to flight voyage will launch a new era in space exploration that will lead to new scientific discoveries, help maintain our national security, and drive improvements in our lives,” Carr said.

The Vision for Space Exploration redirects NASA’s budget and provides marginal increases to focus the agency toward accomplishing achievable goals on an affordable timeline, using a balanced program of robotic and human exploration.

The Vision begins with returning the Space Shuttle to flight and completing assembly of the International Space Station, which will be used as an exploration research platform. NASA will then deploy a new Crew Exploration Vehicle to enable humans to return to the Moon and follow robotic science probes to explore Mars and beyond.

About the Coalition for Space Exploration

The Coalition for Space Exploration is a diverse group of companies, non-profit organizations, trade associations and unions who are dedicated to supporting the nation’s Vision for Space Exploration.

Our mission is to increase public understanding of the goals and benefits of the Vision for Space Exploration and engage the public in active political support of the Vision to help secure and sustain necessary funding to carry out the Vision in its entirety.

The Coalition believes the Vision for Space Exploration will ensure the United States will remain a leader in space, science and technology – key factors that will benefit the nation’s economy, help maintain our national security, and gratify our inherent human need to explore.

For more information about the Coalition for Space Exploration, please visit