Policy: June 2010 Archives

The End of the Apollo Era - Finally?, John Logsdon, Space News

"I interpret the new space strategy set out by the White House Feb. 1 to be at its foundation a proposal to move from the 20th century, Apollo-era approach to human spaceflight to a new approach consistent with 21st century national and international realities and future exploration and other strategic space objectives. It is not surprising that those with positive memories of Apollo and with vested interests in continuing the space status quo have been so strong in their opposition to the new approach; they are defending a space effort that to date has served them well. These critics have been met with a -- literally -- incoherent defense of the new strategy by its advocates inside and outside of the government. U.S. President Barack Obama confused the situation even further in his April 15 speech at the Kennedy Space Center. The result has been a polarized debate unprecedented in my more than four decades of close observation of space policymaking."

Briefing by Senior Administration Officials on the President's National Space Policy Via Teleconference

"SENIOR ADMINSTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: No, no. What it does is it sets up best practices for things like transparency, confidence building measures. I don't know if my colleagues want to add anything more on that.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: No, I don't have anything to add.

SENIOR ADMINSTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Yeah, it is not an arms -- a legally binding arms control agreement. What it is, again - is, again, set up best practices how responsible space-faring nations would act. And it would be politically binding, not legally binding. That is a confidence in transparency building measure. And I think in the near term that's where the focus of the Administration's efforts will be."

Keith's note: Yesterday, the space media got a 6 minute warning by email that White House officials were going to have a media telecon to discuss the new space policy. NASA PAO only found out at the last minute and did their best to alert us. Yesterday, the State Department also had a stealth press briefing - by telecon - about space and NASA apparently did not get a heads up - ergo no media advisory for the space media. But in addition to no advanced notice, no one at the State Department was willing to use their name or allow comments to be attributed to them. I am trying to decide if this is attributable to arrogance or cowardice. It is probably safe to assume both.

But the most post hypocritical part of this entire stealth exchange is when "Senior Administration Official One" and "Senior Administration Official Two" start to talk about "best practices for transparency." What could these two people possibly know about "transparency"? They won't even use their own name in an official State Department activity, a transcript of which is posted on an official website.

Space Policy Reaction

Obama seeks international cooperation in space, AP

"Saying the U.S. is no longer "racing against an adversary," President Barack Obama called Monday for greater international cooperation in exploring space. Obama said in a statement that the U.S. seeks peaceful collaboration with other countries that will ward off conflict and make it easier to expand exploration. The United States must do more to address debris and other hazards in space, he said, and called for a "burgeoning commercial space industry."

Obama Focuses Revised Space Policy on International Cooperation

"President Barack Obama called for greater international cooperation for space exploration and bolstering U.S. companies that build spacecraft. Obama vowed to maintain the U.S. competitive edge in space exploration and in systems that support national security operations. At the same time, the president said, U.S. policy must recognize that the world has changed since the end of the Cold War."

Obama calls for international cooperation in space, Orlando Sentinel

"President Barack Obama on Monday underscored his desire to turn space into a place for peace on Monday, releasing a policy paper that advocated international science missions and opened the door for future treaties that could limit space junk and weapons above Earth. But administration officials said the push for international cooperation does not mean the U.S. necessarily would ask its allies to join Obama's proposed mission to send NASA astronauts to an asteroid by 2025, which he outlined during a visit to Kennedy Space Center in April, or immediately seek a treaty that would ban space-based weapons."

Keith's note: I (and other space media) just got this White House Press Secretary advisory one minute ago from NASA PAO. I had a total of 6 minutes advanced notice. I can't think of a better way to cut down on questions:

"Today: Senior Administration Officials to Hold A Conference Call Briefing on the New National Space Policy

WASHINGTON--Today at 1:30 PM EDT, Senior Administration Officials will hold a conference call with reporters to discuss the administration's new National Space Policy.

WHAT: Conference call briefing to discuss the administration's new National Space Policy
WHO: Barry Pavel, NSC Senior Director for Defense Policy and Strategy,
Jim Kohlenberger, Chief of Staff of the Office of Science and Technology Policy,
Peter Marquez, NSC Director of Space Policy
WHEN: Today, Monday, June 28 at 1:30 PM EDT
Dial-in: United States: (877) 941-8639
Call Title: "White House Conference Call"

I will live tweet the content of this briefing here.

-- National Space Poicy (full text)
-- Fact Sheet: The National Space Policy

New National Space Policy Conciliatory, not Confrontational, Spacepolicyonline.com

"Whenever it is formally released, President Obama's new national space policy will have a very different tone than his predecessor's. Rumors remain rampant that the new policy will be released on Monday, but some of those in the know say that it more likely will be later in the week. Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley intimated on Wednesday that it might even be longer than that. Nevertheless, a one page summary of the policy's "Top Level Messages," dated June 25, is making the rounds. It says that the two major principles of the policy are "responsible use of space" and "nurturing the U.S. space industry."

New Space Policy Calls for Global Cooperation, Wall Street Journal

"The Obama administration as early as Monday is expected to call for significantly greater international cooperation than ever before in outer space, covering a wide range of civilian and national-security programs. The new policy, according to industry and government officials familiar with the details, also endorses the pursuit of verifiable arms-control proposals for space. And it envisions stepped-up U.S. government efforts to bolster domestic rocket and satellite manufacturers, making them more economically viable and competitive overseas."

Keith's note: OK, so the White House makes all sorts of budgetary and contractual changes to NASA programs with little or no advanced warning, questionable pre-coordination, bad rollout - all with no cogent space policy in evidence. Chaos ensues. And then they fiddle with it. Now they are going to actually release a space policy - but only after all of their earlier efforts at NASA have run into brick walls (Congress). Is this going to clarify things - or just make things even more confusing? Stay tuned.

Playing politics: President's NASA policy could haunt his party at the polls in Harris County, Editorial, Houston Chronicle

"A parade of administration officials, starting with the president, has gone to Florida to promise federal assistance. In a speech at KSC, where some 20,000 NASA and contract workers are affected, Obama pledged an additional $40 million in job assistance. No such consideration has been shown toward other NASA facilities around the country, including the Johnson Space Center in Clear Lake. It stands to lose up to 7,000 NASA and contractor jobs. We smell the stench of political favoritism in the consideration lavished by the administration upon Florida, a presidential swing state, while facilities in Alabama and Texas, two reliable GOP strongholds, are ignored."



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