US space policy focus at Rice’s Baker Institute Jan. 24

Just three days after President Obama’s inauguration for his second term, leading space policy experts will discuss the status and concerns over the future of NASA and the nation’s civil space program Jan. 24 at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. Participants will also discuss the need for and the elements of a definitive national civil space policy.

The panel discussion, “Lost in Space: The Need for a Definitive U.S. Space Policy,” will be at 5:30 p.m. in Baker Hall’s Kelly International Conference Facility. A reception will begin at 5 p.m.

The participants in the discussion will be:

Mark Albrecht, chairman of the board for U.S. Space LLC. He served as executive secretary of the National Space Council from 1989 to 1992 and as a principal adviser on space to President George H.W. Bush.

Leroy Chiao, adjunct professor at Rice University and chair of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute’s user panel. He served as a member of the Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee chaired by Norman Augustine in 2009. Chiao flew on three space shuttle flights and was commander of Expedition 10; he flew for six months onboard the International Space Station.

Joan Johnson-Freese, professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College. She is the author of six books, including “Heavenly Ambitions: America’s Quest to Dominate Space” and “Space as a Strategic Asset,” as well as more than 80 articles on space security, globalization and foreign policy.

Neal Lane, senior fellow in science and technology policy at the Baker Institute and the Malcolm Gillis University Professor at Rice University. He served as assistant to the president for science and technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology from 1998 to 2001. Lane also served as the director of the National Science Foundation and a member (ex officio) of the National Science Board from 1993 to 1998.

Eugene Levy, the Andrew Hays Buchanan Professor of Astrophysics at Rice University. He served as provost of Rice from 2000 to 2010 and is currently a member of the NASA Advisory Council Science Committee.

John Logsdon, professor emeritus of political science and international affairs at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. He served as director of the Elliott School’s Space Policy Institute from 1987 to 2008. He is the author of “The Decision to Go to the Moon: Project Apollo and the National Interest,” a general editor of the eight-volume series “Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civil Space Program” and has written numerous articles and reports on space policy and history.

George Abbey, the Baker Botts Senior Fellow in Space Policy at the Baker Institute, will serve as moderator.

For more information on the event, visit A live webcast will be available at

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.