Space & Advanced Technology
The Space and Advanced Technology (SAT) Staff handles international space issues and multilateral science and advanced technology questions for the Department of State. Among its goals are: to ensure that U.S. space policies and multilateral science activities support U.S. foreign policy objectives; to ensure that U.S. international initiatives and political commitments on space are science-based, protect national security, advance economic interests, and foster environmental protection; and to enhance U.S. space leadership and the competitiveness of the U.S. aerospace industry.
The SAT office has primary responsibility for U.S. representation on the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, where a wide range of civil space issues are discussed among nations. In the 1960s and 1970s, this committee developed the Outer Space Treaty and three related United Nations conventions, which serve as the bedrock of international space law. The SAT Office also represents the State Department in interagency deliberations on civil space policy issues, coordinates U.S. participation in such multilateral bodies as the NATO Science Committee and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, maintains the official U.S. registry of objects launched into outer space, reviews export license requests for space technology, and provides support to NASA for a network of overseas emergency landing sites for the Space Shuttle.
Currently, the SAT office is coordinating a broad diplomatic effort to encourage acceptance of the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) as a worldwide standard for satellite-based navigation. Other initiatives include a wide range of actions to promote space applications for sustainable development, an assessment of whether existing international rules are adequate to preserve open access to space and promote and protect commercial space ventures, and an effort to foster a coherent U.S. government approach toward space cooperation with emerging space programs.