|United Earth Space Probe Agency|
The Zefram Cochrane UESPA Headquarters, Bozeman, Montanna, Earth
Civilian led space exploration and research
This article is written for the United Earth Space Probe Agency set in the 22nd Century
The United Earth Space Probe Agency (UESPA) was Earth’s first global space agency after the Third World War and the historic launch of Doctor Zefram Cochrane’s warp ship, the Phoenix. The motto of the organisation was set as: “Science Leads”. It was an independent global civilian administration initially which ended up leading the United Earth Commonwealth’s space service branch. Although a member of Earth’s military, the UESPA is unique in its nature that it is solely led and manned by civilians. Responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research, the UESPA was meant to avoid any formal military ties however as it developed Earth’s deep space programme, it was felt that a formal approach is more required. Initially the UESPA developed and started the United Earth’s Starfleet, however in 2155 Starfleet was federalised by President Littlejohn and became it’s a branch of the military due to the war with the Romulan Star Empire.
Creation, Purpose and History
After Cochrane’s flight and first contact with the Confederacy of Vulcan, a majority of Humanity was inspired to change and improve itself. There was a surge to return to science led work to make significant changes that would have a positive impact on the world. Humanity had almost destroyed itself from the third world war, but now so many people wanted change. Wanting to catapult his research on the warp drive further, a group of eager scientists, engineers and researchers banded together. Their primary aim was to develop the warp technology further and to use it to push humankind out into the stars. Zefram Cochrane was invited to join as the leader of this group, but he turned down the offer and suggested his right-hand woman Doctor Lily Sloane. Accepting the gracious offer, Sloane, who had been with Cochrane at first contact, began working with her peers to develop a new space agency that would take what Cochrane and she had built further. By 2065, they established the United Earth Space Probe Agency. Members of the agency came from a range of Earth nations, each one of them bringing a unique and special perspective.
Initially based in Bozeman, Montana (the same location of the Phoenix’s launch) the UESPA raised funds for its support from a range of donors. The one stipulation was that every donor and member who was involved in the UESPA, understood that they were not there to make a profit or create anything that could be used in a military application. Sloane, as its administrator, led this vision for many years. The most successful project of the agency was the launch of its Friendship probe series. These unmanned warp capable probes would be set out into deep space with their primary mission of exploring the stars and hoping to make contact with more friendly species. The Vulcans, who had assigned some consultants and advisors to the UESPA, held back on sharing their technology and research. This caused some resentment, nevertheless Sloane insisted that the UESPA continued with its mission. She knew that from hardship they could do anything, she had proven that with her work with Cochrane.
The UESPA gained a lot of popularity across the world with their work and achievements. A whole new set of science was emerging; people were inspired. Partnering up with other space agencies or amalgamating with what elements were left of them, the UESPA started its most aspirational projects ever: the development of the first human colonies beyond Earth. By the turn of the twenty-second century, the UESPA’s influence and example had transferred not just from the scientific community to the general public but had a massive impact on global politics and social reform. Their proof that Humanity could put to bed its historical past differences and squabbles to put the need of the whole Human race above anything else led to talks of a new world order being established. A united global government. At this point in time and after becoming a living icon herself like Cochrane, Administrator Sloane retired and left behind a legacy that would empower so many after her to step up to the mark in space exploration. Sloane would later join her old friend Cochrane, along with other colleagues, to establish a colony on Alpha Centauri III. This is where she would take her family and find her resting place.
The UESPA’s involvement in Earth’s development continued for the next five decades. Becoming one of the largest organisations on Earth, due to the number of projects, stations, ships and bases it had. By 2130, the UESPA is invited to join the new United Earth Government and to take official led on its space program. Initially wanting to remain independent from the government, it is agreed for the UESPA to retain some of its individuality and the United Earth Accords legally ensures these protections. It is agreed that civilians will continue to run the space service branch of Earth’s military. Earth was on the threshold of joining the galactic stage and its leaders did not want to come off aggressive to other species, as advised by the Vulcan allies.
The need to take Earth’s exploration of the stars further was pushed by many world leaders on the to the UESPA. It was a sentiment that the UESPA as it wanted to begin developing its deep-space program in the 2120s. They had already sent out a number of probes to explore, send back data and telemetry about what laid beyond the Sol system, but they needed to do more. As a result of this and seeing the need to develop a formal division that would represent Earth’s interests with other races they may meet, it was decided to create a new division of the UESPA. Starfleet was created and officially founded in 2135. It’s mandate, at the time, was to begin work on Earth’s deep space exploration program and create a new warp drive that would take humans further beyond their homeworld.
Starfleet was a lot more formal compared to the UESPA. Where the UESPA was more civilian based, led by an administrator and directors, Starfleet would use militaristic terms, loosely based on navy traditions. However, in Starfleet’s charter it was originally stated that Starfleet would not be part of Earth’s Global Defence Force (GDF). The idea of keeping civilian control over Starfleet was crucial. Military advisors were brought in, but the need civilians to lead this division was important to the UESPA. As a result, the Commander-in-Chief and a majority of Starfleet’s leadership was taken from highly experienced mission leaders, scientists and engineers from the UESPA. A new training programme was created and within a span of fifteen years, using UESPA resources, Starfleet started to become its own entity.
After a number of deep-space ships had been launched in the 2150s, Earth had discovered that a number of other species, that were warp capable, were quite aggressive. This resulted in Earth entering into a war with the Romulan Star Empire by 2155. During the height of the war, the President of the United Earth Commonwealth, formally federalised Starfleet as a branch of Earth’s military forces. She had also appointed the Starfleet Commander-in-Chief as the Chairperson of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at this time too. Although controversial at the time, due to the UESPA and Starfleet’s original nature intended to be civilian led, the need to ensure Earth survived the war outweighed the original philosophy of the UESPA. Science would still lead Starfleet’s directive, but the added work of defence was added to its objectives. When the split occurred, government back resources normally assigned to the UESPA were moved over to Starfleet to help with the war effort. There was also a shift in obligations where many in the UESPA felt it was their duty to serve in Starfleet to protect Earth and its commonwealth. As a result, the UESPA suffered drastic staffing shortages and a significant fall in resources. It was still responsible for space exploration programmes, but these were limited during the war and what they did have in regard to technology, space craft and resources were stretched to help complete what projects they were undertaking.
The leadership and overall structure of the organisation of the UESPA falls under the purview of the Chief Administrator, their Deputy Administrator and Associate Administrators. Each Associate Administrator leads one of the divisions of the UESPA. These divisions have been known to change from time to time, based on the direction that the Chief Administrator is led the UESPA through. A majority of them though have stayed the same and fall under the following categories:
- Space exploration technology research & development (including spaceflight, propulsion research, robotics, satellite development)
- Scientific investigation, including but not limited to astrophysics, astrobiology, astronomy and astrochemistry.
- Space exploration program
- Manned programs
- Unmanned/probe programs
- Mission Control
- Space stations
- UESPA Training Campus
Many projects undertaken by the UESPA are worked on by a range of its departments, another shining example of how scientists, engineers and researchers can collaborate to achieve great accomplishments.
Collaboration with other branches and agencies
Rarely has the UESPA had to work alongside the Earth Global Defence Force or the MACO on any significant missions. However, this changed in 2152, after the devastating Xindi attack against Earth. The UESPA worked with the GDF and MACOs to deal with the initial aftermath of the attack. Eventually when the United Earth Parliament based a bill that increased the drastically spending on defence measures that included orbital-based platforms, the UESPA was tasked in supporting the GDF with such projects and their deployments. Eventually the UESPA, through Starfleet, would take initial lead on the war with the Romulans before Starfleet was federalised and became a military branch by itself at the end of 2155. Throughout the rest of the conflict, the UESPA did what it could to support Starfleet as part of the war effort.
The UESPA In Play
- Compared to the Earth Starfleet, the UESPA is solely civilian based. Positions and job titles are comparable to their counterparts in Starfleet though.
- The UESPA takes its formal structure heritage from former space agencies like NASA, ESA and JAXA.
- The UESPA has taken a ‘back seat’ in leading Earth’s space program since Starfleet became more popular by the general public. This was down to the fact that most people could apply to join Starfleet and received training to become officers, while the UESPA’s training prospect were more geared towards those with a scientific, engineering or mathematical background that were well established.