Issue Brief: A Short Guide for Understanding and Assessing U.S. Space Sustainability Initiatives

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In the last few years, the United States has taken significant steps forward in establishing a framework for protecting the sustainability of the space domain and in demonstrating U.S. leadership and commitment to preserving the safety, stability, security, and long-term sustainability of space activities. The framework is implicit in the first ever U.S. National Space Traffic Management Policy, Space Policy Directive-3 (SPD-3), which is re-emphasized and promoted in the December 2020 U.S. National Space Policy (NSP). This paper identifies key lines of effort, extrapolated from SPD-3 and reinforced in the 2020 NSP, to guide understanding and assessment of recent efforts, and provides insights into where new and continuing efforts should be focused.