Approved by the Infrastructure and Research Policy Committee on March 14, 2019
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on April 28, 2019
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 13, 2019
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports government and commercial development of space-based infrastructure to:
- Develop the land-based infrastructure to support space programs;
- Bring the experience and knowledge of civil engineering to bear on the exploration and settlement of space;
- Support characterization of non-terrestrial environments to better design, construct, and maintain terrestrial and non-terrestrial facilities of all types, and to augment scientific data obtained therefrom;
- Improve the economic attractiveness of space for commercial investment;
- Educate stakeholders, including civil engineers, space industry professionals, and the general public; and
- Promote international cooperation in space activities.
Civil engineers lead the creation of the fundamental facilities and infrastructure of civilization. A challenging frontier for civil engineers in the 21st century is the expansion of the human sphere of influence into space.
Permanent human activity off the Earth requires the robust engagement of civil engineers. Successful creation of non-terrestrial facilities requires engineering skill and experience with terrestrial methodologies at the highest level. Civil engineers are uniquely prepared to address diverse aspects of non-terrestrial environments. All fields of engineering and science are needed to reach beyond our home planet.
Civil engineers are responsible for designing, constructing, operating and maintaining the terrestrial infrastructure. This responsibility involves civil engineers in all aspects of life support facilities, as well as the physical manifestation of the industrial economy, and preservation of the environment. Therefore, civil engineers are the natural leaders to develop non-terrestrial infrastructure for human development and settlement of space.
Government space programs stimulate basic research and education in science and engineering and provide valuable resources to society. Commercial space programs stimulate employment and applied research and development from a different, but no less valuable, perspective. Civil engineering is a core capability required for both government and commercial space initiatives to succeed.
Establishing support for space education and research, and involving civil engineers in industry and academia will contribute to providing the innovative and creative civil engineers needed for this new frontier. The participation of civil engineers in space engineering and construction is expected to have terrestrial spin-offs that will benefit society.
ASCE Policy Statement 512
First Approved in 2006