Presidential Policy Directive 4: National Space Policy of the United States of America [open pdf - 350KB]
Alternate Title: PPD 4: National Space Policy of the United States of America
"The legacy of success in space and its transformation also presents new challenges. When the space age began, the opportunities to use space were limited to only a few nations, and there were limited consequences for irresponsible or unintentional behavior. Now, we find ourselves in a world where the benefits of space permeate almost every facet of our lives. The growth and evolution of the global economy has ushered in an ever-increasing number of nations and organizations using space. The now-ubiquitous and interconnected nature of space capabilities and the world's growing dependence on them mean that irresponsible acts in space can have damaging consequences for all of us. For example, decades of space activity have littered Earth's orbit with debris; and as the world's space-faring nations continue to increase activities in space, the chance for a collision increases correspondingly. As the leading space-faring nation, the United States is committed to addressing these challenges. But this cannot be the responsibility of the United States alone. All nations have the right to use and explore space, but with this right also comes responsibility. The United States, therefore, calls on all nations to work together to adopt approaches for responsible activity in space to preserve this right for the benefit of future generations. From the outset of humanity's ascent into space, this Nation declared its commitment to enhance the welfare of humankind by cooperating with others to maintain the freedom of space. The United States hereby renews its pledge of cooperation in the belief that with strengthened inter¬national collaboration and reinvigorated U.S. leadership, all nations and peoples--space-faring and space-benefiting--will find their horizons broadened, their knowledge enhanced, and their lives greatly improved."
White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov/
PPD 4; Presidential Policy Directive 4