UNITED STATES ASTROGRAPHICAL SURVEY
The parent body of the USAGS is the U.S. Geological Survey, which was established in 1879 as part of the Department of the Interior. It was to classify America’s public lands and examine the nation’s geological structure, mineral resources, and related products. USGS survey teams directly supported agricultural development, mining, and other industries, as well as performing scientific research. The beginnings of USAGS can be traced to 1959, when the U.S. Geological Survey compiled its first map of the moon. In 1963, the Geological Survey began training NASA astronauts in geological techniques. This began a close association between the USGS and NASA. A USGS geologist-turned-astronaut walked on the moon as part of the Apollo program, and Geological Survey personnel explored Mars and the asteroids.
In 2032, the Martian Region of the USGS was formally established, with its own regional director. This was followed in 2057 by the creation of a new agency, the U.S. Astrographical Survey, which was assigned to take over NASA’s role in managing manned and unmanned planetary
exploration within the solar system.
Today, USAGS is a federal agency charged with mapping, surveying, and exploring extraterrestrial bodies with the aim of promoting scientific knowledge and, in particular, commercial exploitation. USAGS personnel often work closely with corporate partners as part of its mandate, sometimes including teletourism companies to defray budgetary costs. USAGS is an “applied space science” operation, blazing a trail for corporate America.
USAGS missions have included geological surveys of Mercury, cybershell probes launched deep into the atmosphere of Saturn, the first expedition to Titan, and the first cybershell exploration of Neptune’s moons. USAGS is presently fighting a turf battle with NASA over which agency will have jurisdiction over Oort Cloud exploration and exploitation, particularly given the potential value of the black holes.
The agency employs 11,000 people, of which 1,600 actually live and work in space, mostly on Mars and Titan. USAGS has three regional divisions, each headed by a regional director. The divisions are Inner System (primarily Mercury, Luna and Venus), Mars Region, and Outer System (the asteroid belt and beyond)
The Outer System regional division is Director Ricardo Jimenez, whose office is on Titan. The outer system division is divided into astrogeology, astrobiology, meteorology, and cartography offices. Individual operations are headed by a program manager, with personnel assigned from multiple offices. Most USAGS personnel are scientists or supporting technicians, although they also hire space crew, especially if they are cross-trained with a scientific background. USAGS also employs many AIs and ghosts. Project managers and above must be U.S. citizens, but the agency will hire appropriately skilled foreigners for contract positions when necessary. The Outer System Division has an internal prejudice against Duncanites, however, as a result of their past appropriation of USAGS property on Hyperion.
USAGS operates four elderly Shepherd-class deep space operation vehicles, a half-dozen specialized manned spacecraft, and numerous unmanned space probes and satellites. The agency also has unpublicized links with U.S. intelligence agencies, with USAGS operations occasionally providing cover for listening posts and reconnaissance.