In the first blog entry I put forth a discussion definition of what spacefaring means to me. I wanted to expand on this to better clarify the understanding of what is meant by the meme of Spacefaring America and to introduce another meme–spacefarer. (Note: the definition of meme is also covered in the first blog.)
A spacefaring nation is one that has command of space through technology to enable its citizens to seek knowledge, wealth, and security in space or from space. No nation has yet reached this level of technological capability in the broad sense of what spacefaring should mean. An increasing number of nations have the capability of launching expendable vehicles into space and to use these to place unmanned satellites into space. Three nations now have the capability of transporting humans to low Earth orbit, while others could to do this should they wish. However, these capabilities fall short of those of a true spacefaring civilization.
In a seafaring civilization, its citizens have the freedom, by virtue of technology-enabled seafaring logistics infrastructure, to traverse the seas as travelers and mariners. In a true spacefaring civilization, its citizens will enjoy the freedom to access and travel in space as travelers or as spacefarers (those who by occupation work in space). While some argue that Russia, the U.S., and China are currently spacefaring nations, I do not concur. Substantial new spacefaring logistics infrastructure capabilities are required before citizens of any country will be able to regularly and safely access and work in space.
The meme of a Spacefaring America can now be further defined to be where Americans are spacefarers, utilizing spacefaring logistics infrastructure to access and work in space to reap knowledge, wealth, and security from space.