39. Dr. Ezinne Uzo-Okoro: To go far, we go together...one foot in front of the other.
In this episode Peter Garretson meets with Dr. Ezinne Uzo-Okoro of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). They discuss the White House space policies in the context of the Administration Priorities, including climate, economy and jobs, restoring US global leadership, COVID and infrastructure, and the intention to lead by example. They delve into the broad context of the White House Space Priorities Framework and its emphasis on sustainability, norms and behaviors, earth observation for climate change. They examine the plethora of policy documents and the 'nuts and bolts' of what is involved in originating and coordinating such documents, including aligning with presidential intent, 'reading the room,' bringing together and educating stakeholders, and soliciting feedback including from industry and academia, making a case for guidance, always with the intent to maintain US preeminence at least 10-20 years down the road. They address how such documents are used by federal agencies, allies, and industry, and the relationship of OSTP to the National Space Council (NSpC), National Security Council (NSC), and Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and sometimes the National Economic Council (NEC) and Climate office...as well as the need for patience and grace throughout the 6-12 month coordination process. They explore the historic nature of the National Cislunar Science and Technology Strategy and the deliberate choice of the language of 'settlement' in the new National Low Earth Orbit Research and Development Strategy, and the consistent industry-friendly themes across documents of new products and scalable infrastructure, and economic growth. They touch on In-Space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing National Strategy and National In-Space Servicing Assembly, and Manufacturing Implementation Plan, as well as the National Strategy for Advanced Manufacturing and Interagency Roadmap to Support Space-Related STEM Education and Workforce.
They also cover the James Webb Telescope and exciting DART mission, the recently updated National Preparedness Strategy & Action Plan for Near-Earth Object Hazards and Planetary Defense—"what's cooler than planetary defense." Along the way they discuss Space-Based Solar Power, Exoplanets, Settlement, Space Weather, regulating novel space activities. They review Ezinne's own career and journey, and her reasons for optimism and philosophy of hard work. They conclude talking about how easy it is to become involved in space, because it is a small community where anyone can play, and secrets of success such as: if you want to go far, go together; that success comes from putting one foot in front of the other; the utility of patience and grace, and that there is plenty of work, so grab an oar!