Figures and policies back their assertions. For instance, the US produces less than 20 percent of all satellites in the world. Fifteen years ago America's share of the global satellite manufacturing amounted to 75 percent.
Chiao and Pulham are particularly concerned with lunar exploration. The US, they say, has only a "vague idea" of sending piloted missions to Mars in the coming decades, while "China, Russia and Europe are planning, with firm schedules, to send their astronauts to the Moon in the next decade."
The experts are convinced that Russia, China and other nations "will go to the Moon, with or without us." And should the US dismiss missions to the Earth's only satellite as irrelevant because it has already done it, Washington's global standing will be affected.
"There aren't just two space nations playing anymore, there are dozens. If we don't lead that effort, another nation or nations will. This is important, as it partially reflects our overall position in the world," they noted. "Losing that position would be a blow to our international prestige. We worked hard as a nation to achieve and to maintain leadership in space. It would be more than a shame to simply let it slip away."