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US Space Policy Update Urges International Cooperation

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the hey-can-we-bum-a-ride-act-of-2010 dept.

Government 66

eldavojohn writes "The recent shift in NASA's spaceflight goals has caused great stress in the space community and those related to efforts in space. A White House update to the policy is said to emphasize cooperation with the international community and looks to be a move away from individual nations competing in space. Instead, the document urges intense competition (PDF) in the commercial sector and reasons that 'The United States considers the sustainability, stability, and free access to, and use of, space vital to its national interests. It is the shared interest of all nations to act responsibly in ways that emphasize openness and transparency, and help prevent mishaps, misperceptions, and mistrust.' Space.com also notes that you can submit your comments and thoughts to the task force Obama appointed to determine new directions. No doubt this avoidance or departure from another Space Race will have a lot of people concerned that the US is out of the game."

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WHAT game?!?!? (2, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32722610)

No doubt this avoidance or departure from another Space Race will have a lot of people concerned that the US is out of the game.

Hate to break it to you, but NASA hasn't been "in the game" in almost 40 years now. You want a perfect illustration of the last time they were fielding a real team? Just look at their historical budget [wikipedia.org] . Notice a pattern after 1970? Yeah, that's when they stopped being the Yankees and started becoming the Mets.

Re:WHAT game?!?!? (1)

rwv (1636355) | more than 3 years ago | (#32722794)

The Yankees spend LOTS of money and win on average every 4-5 years. The Mets spend slightly less money and have won 3 or 4 times since they joined the league in 1962. Not to say you're wrong... but the Mets throw LOTS of money down to drain to produce negligible results. I think you're trying to make the point that NASA doesn't have the budget to put up "Yankees" numbers in the "Championships Won" department.

Maybe you meant to compare NASA to the Pittsburgh Pirates [go.com] who spend about 20% of what the elite teams do to field their 0.333 [go.com] team?

Re:WHAT game?!?!? (5, Funny)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#32722874)

Well, if we start using the Social Security money, then there wouldn't be a problem. NASA == Social Security. You could never cut the budget then!

Ah, the old people. Send them into space. Shit blows up? Pfft. They're old and were going to die soon anyway.

It's a win/win! NASA gets funded. We have an unlimited supply of expendable astronauts. And, it takes care of all those old people burdening our system. And lastly, the old people get first dibs into going into space - it could even be a one way trip!

Yeah! What a gimmick! Hey old farts! Say good bye to your loved ones and go into space!

As far as the senile ones are concerned just say, here you Gramps! There's a Matlock marathon in that rocket and all the chocolate and banana pudding you can eat!

*The mods* Ooo! What to do...what to do... Moderation guide:

Like old people -> Flamebait

Don't like AnonymousClown->Troll

Some old guy pissed you off today-> Funny.

Seeing the budget deficit going horribly into the Red and all that Medicare money go out of your paycheck while you see the old farts in their Cadilacs, Land Yachts, and telling you to get a job and compete with the Asians because they had to work hard in the snow (with virtually no overseas competition) and you're just a slacker-> Insightful

Huh. Gramps always wanted to go into space and get away from Grandma-> Interesting

Re:WHAT game?!?!? (1)

Silm (1135973) | more than 3 years ago | (#32723382)

actually, it is quite benificial to send old people into space. Less bone density required, less ( no )chance of falling down and breaking something, and well, they're old already and dont need to reproduce.
that way you dont even have to worry about them getting all sterile from radiation. And the cancer doesnt matter either; they'll die sooner anyway.
Of course, this means you dont worry about getting them down again, but still, this is quite serious if you find a solution for that.

Re:WHAT game?!?!? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32736158)

Clearly, old people are just pissing eveyrone off...

Do we really want to hand them over the glory of space exploration in such case>

Re:WHAT game?!?!? (5, Informative)

atrain728 (1835698) | more than 3 years ago | (#32722990)

So... who's spending more than NASA?

According to this [spacedaily.com] the Chinese were spending about 1/10th of NASA in 2007. Does that make them the Royals?

JAXA [wikipedia.org] comes in at around 2 billion dollars as well.

ISRO spends about half that ($1.23 billion). [wikipedia.org]

Oh, who could forget about Russia? The FRO has a declared budget of about $2.4 billion. [wikipedia.org]

Puny old NASA with it's $17.6 billion budget. The Mets indeed.

Re:WHAT game?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32723108)

the mets exactly, they piss tons of money down the drain and only have some historical wins that no one will remember come next generation or 2

Re:WHAT game?!?!? (1)

Araes (1177047) | more than 3 years ago | (#32725456)

This completely ignores globalization.

Just comparing the labor costs that these institutions have to deal with. Assuming similar ratio for other costs. Tabulated average yearly income for mechanical engineers (used because aerospace doesn't have enough data on payscale).

US Engineer ~ $61000
Chinese Engineer ~ $17500
Japanese Engineer ~ $44500
Indian Engineer ~ $7500
Russian Engineer ~ $42000

If they then spent their budgets completely to hire engineers, they could each get:

US ~ 288000 Engineers
China ~ 114000 Engineers
Japan ~ 45000 Engineers
India ~ 164000 Engineers
Russia ~ 57000 Engineers

Yes, NASA spends more money, currently than the other space agencies, but the bang for the buck is significantly reduced due to the cost of working 100% inside the US. India's "paltry" 1.23 B can hire 1/2 to 2/3 the number of engineers our 17.6 B can.

Re:WHAT game?!?!? (1)

atrain728 (1835698) | more than 3 years ago | (#32735276)

No doubt this is true to an extend, however my point was that OP was suggesting that NASA is some sort of second-rate space agency, which is, even by your worst-case estimates, far from correct.

Re:WHAT game?!?!? (1)

timbo234 (833667) | more than 3 years ago | (#32728004)

You forgot the nearest competitor which is the ESA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esa) with an approx $4.5 billion budget.

But even including NASA's relatively large contribution, that's still a very small amount being spent overall by the world's governments. It makes sense to encourage more commercial involvement as well as commercial, rather than militaristic, competition between nations.

Re:WHAT game?!?!? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32723134)

" emphasize cooperation with the international community"
In other words - the United States is filling up with useless THIRD WORLDERS, who are too stupid (and criminal) to offer anything useful to the space program, so the U.S. will have to 'co-operate' with other countries - not AFRICAN countries, I don't need to add...

Your children are going to hate you - they are going to grow up in a third world hellhole, surrounded by hate-filled, selfish, 'sense of entitlement' third world scum, who will destroy them, and everything their WHITE ancestors built.

Good new direction (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32722630)

Cooperation is good. Races are bad and cause accidents. The plans I've seen for long duration vehicles using ion drive engines and inflatable habitats are a great step in the right direction.

Re:Good new direction (2, Insightful)

brainboyz (114458) | more than 3 years ago | (#32722744)

One more step towards the "global government" is not a step in the right direction. We need individual organizations held accountable for completing missions (getting to Mars, more probes to the outer planets, etc). Global "cooperation" leads to eternal delays, blame shifting, and inflated budgets. Let's not even get into the fact that everyone wants their approach to be everyone's approach.

Re:Good new direction (2, Insightful)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 3 years ago | (#32723304)


Global cooperation provides more hands, funds, and experience to work toward a common goal.

Your paranoia about a 'global government' is completely unfounded and the type of nonsense that only someone with no knowledge of the way the world works would shovel.

Anything to inspire cooperation, explore new areas, improve technology, and deteriorate war and its causes is a good step for our world.

If you think otherwise kindly get the fuck off of my planet and go pollute another.

Re:Good new direction (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 3 years ago | (#32728948)

Anything to inspire cooperation, explore new areas, improve technology, and deteriorate war and its causes is a good step for our world.

If you think otherwise kindly get the fuck off of my planet and go pollute another.
What color is the sky on your planet? B/c here on Earth, you get to pick 2 of those things not all of them. Also love the irony of your if don't agree with me leave after looking to inspire cooperation. Quite nice tovarich.

Re:Good new direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32725730)

Are you Actively Involved with your City Govt.? And that means more than just voting on your Mayor.
If your answer is no, then kindly STFU. Your fears of a global govt mean exactly jack shit if you aren't working on your local govt.
Quiver in fear douche, the rest of humanity has some social evolution to get done.

CAPTCHA - trapped
That would be you, trapped by your own idiocy.

Re:Good new direction (3, Insightful)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 3 years ago | (#32722746)

Competition got us Apollo. Cooperation got us ISS. You sure you don't want to rethink that?

Re:Good new direction (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32722904)

Competition got us Apollo.

It was also a cooperation. With Germans.

Re:Good new direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32722954)

And not to forget, The Trojans!

Re:Good new direction (2, Insightful)

Teancum (67324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32724318)

You might want to check again with the Germans [wikipedia.org] to see how well that went. German engineers are pretty good at building rockets, but American politicians killed off (economically) an entire generation of German rocket developers that is only beginning to recover. It is a real pity too as this was a rather ambitious program that could have made a huge difference.

Re:Good new direction (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#32723116)

Yeah, but that was competition people cared about, since people cared about the Cold War, and advanced rocket technology was seen as rather relevant to advanced missile technology. Do people in 2010 really care about competition with, say, the European Space Agency? If they don't, as I suspect they don't, might as well just cooperate with them and let them foot some of the bill.

Re:Good new direction (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32723260)

Apollo got 12 people on the moon, each for a few days, at the expense of three more lives, and only at the very end did anybody think to send up a lone geologist.

The ISS has had over six times as many people on orbit, for weeks and months at a time, doing actual science.

Spectacle != progress

Re:Good new direction (0, Flamebait)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#32727412)

Apollo (and in general the push to the moon, including mercury and gemini) got us (well, you americans anyway) from barely being able to shoot a single guy in a can into orbit, to doing in-orbit rendevous, lunar transfer orbits, and landing on a frickin moon! (in ~10 years from the start of serious spacetravel to moon walking)

The ISS is mostly mir 2.0 combined with freedom (the us proposed space station), and while it is the pinacle of space-station design and operation, most knowledge regarding long term stays in space was already found aboard MIR and its salyut predecessors.

Claiming the ISS is responsible for more scientific progress then the first ten years of the space-race is ridiculous

Re:Good new direction (1)

AnarChaos (1844534) | more than 3 years ago | (#32728648)

sorry but you've got your facts wrong, the ISS is a PLATFORM FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH, i really fail to see how you could think that the first 10 years of Apollo-era could have spawned more science than that, since those first 10 years spawned mainly rocket-tech while today they're conducting researches in most, if not all, scientific fields up there.... (i do however agree that, generally speaking, most people are a bunch of bastards)

Re:Good new direction (1)

Meneguzzi (935620) | more than 3 years ago | (#32723512)

And once the Apollo program was over and the space race was "won", much of the technological and engineering advances made by that team in rocketry have been readily forgotten (I saw a documentary the other day saying the today's engineers sometimes reverse-engineer Apollo parts to find out how they solved all sorts of problems). With international cooperation, the need to share the designs and have things fit together with other countries components at least ensures that they are properly documented and reusable in the future.

Re:Good new direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32725644)

Although people like to think of Apollo as a success and the ISS as a failure, is that really true?

The success of Apollo was shallow and short-lived. Where was the follow-up? Vietnam, blah blah, Kennedy, blah blah, Nixon, blah blah, it's all stuff we've heard before, and it doesn't matter much. Yes, Apollo got us to the Moon and back, and that was the goal. Where was Apollo version 2? And let's not forget, the budget for Apollo was generous and elastic. Much more so than programs today.

The ISS is in space now, there are people there on essentially permanent rotation, and it's international, as intended. Remember all those problems getting the Russians to finish their modules? Well, with a lot of help and teeth knashing, they did finish them. Now the Russians are the most reliable transport to the ISS so they get a chance to pay us back.

In fact, you can fault the Apollo Moon program for having strategic goals issues. Once we got there, we discovered a dead, desolate world. One that didn't interest the average taxpayer all that much. Having won the space race the ability to get to the Moon quickly lost it's appeal.

Well, lots of people are faulting the ISS for an analogous problem. The strategic goal of the ISS may not have been ambitious or interesting enough. Low Earth orbit? Is that enough?

However the international cooperation angle to the ISS has been a strength if you ask me. It not only fosters good relations in the political realm, it allows other nations strengths to pick up the slack when one or another's space capability is compromised. In the real world this has worked.

Cooperation is good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32722996)

Competition is a sin.

- John D. Rockefeller

Good Ol' Johny agrees with you.

Re:Good new direction (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#32725358)

Cooperation is good. Races are bad and cause accidents.

Since we're going for slogans that are easy on the old noggin, how about this one? "Competition is the best form of cooperation." I'd buy that over your thing about races. After all, doing anything risky causes accidents. And space activities are inherently risky no matter how many international partners you have.

Sharing is good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32722844)

This article is basically saying, "space is expensive, let's spread the costs around".

Pfft (1, Troll)

LittlePud (1356157) | more than 3 years ago | (#32722860)

A White House update to the policy is said to emphasize cooperation with the international community and looks to be a move away from individual nations competing in space

In other words, the US has realized it is broke and now wants the rest of the world to foot the bill for space exploration.

Re:Pfft (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32722888)

Until somebody figures out what the ????? is supposed to be between "1) Space Travel" and "3) PROFIT!", we aren't going anywhere.

Re:Pfft (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#32723152)

Until somebody figures out what the ????? is supposed to be between "1) Space Travel" and "3) PROFIT!", we aren't going anywhere.

I don't know, but I somehow get the impression that The Riddler is involved.

Re:Pfft (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#32727430)

So you're saying batman is standing between us and affordable spacetravel?

I find your ideas intruiging and wish to subscribe to your newsletter

Re:Pfft (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#32723656)

"In other words, the US has realized it is broke and now wants the rest of the world to foot the bill for space exploration."

China figured out you don't have to lead to make money and benefit from modern technology.

Re:Pfft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32727348)

Yeah stealing everyone elses designs really saves on the R&D budget.

Re:Pfft (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 3 years ago | (#32727818)

Troll? I don't know about that.

What was the cost sharing on the "International" Space Station again?

Re:Pfft (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32735874)

Hey, it was also the only thing to make Shuttle look useful (plus there's training with Mir, and I suspect prices for "Mir 2" part and "Alpha" part aren't exactly comparable)

Quest for Glory was wayyy better.. (4, Funny)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 3 years ago | (#32722934)

Man I miss that game.

Get your ass to mars (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32722948)

It really boils down to one question. Do you want the UN in charge of space and the space program?

Not only no but FUCK NO.

With a few exceptions I'm not sure what else the rest of the world has to offer other than plublicity pieces. Europe has got some tech, but no money. Russia is still farting around with the surplus they had from the cold war, so not much interesting there. China steals 5 pieces of tech for every 1 they build, and all the hand wringing over how much the US debt they "own" really doesn't amount to much in the way of cash. Japan has tech and money and make cool cartoons and robots, but other than them the rest of the world doesn't have much to bring to the table.

If the US government is more concerned with making sure that every fat piece of shit in America can have health care to support the redicuous life style they maintian I don't see how they are ever going to get back into space.

The sooner a US company get's their ass into space the better.

Re:Get your ass to mars (3, Interesting)

vivian (156520) | more than 3 years ago | (#32723860)

China steals 5 pieces of tech for every 1 they build

This kind of thinking is why the US and other western countries are going to fail in the long term.
Just like Japan in the 50's, China right now is largely perceived as being a country that makes cheap knock offs of products that are invented in the US or Europe, with no real innovation of their own.
The reality of course, is that we mostly only see the cheap crappy products that importers are willing to import - China actually has some pretty good tech of their own that does not get exported.
They are already the main producers of our favorite tech toys - iPads, iPhones, etc etc.

When I lived in Japan I was always surprised to see how far behind the "latest and greatest" consumer goods were back in my own country (eg. video cameras) compared to what was available in Japan. I would be very surprised if this is not already the case with stuff coming out of China too - we only see the goods here that importers are willing to import, which seems to be mostly the cheap knockoff stuff.

China is now greatly out-pacing the rest of the world in terms of growth in scientific research [scidev.net] , and it already massively exceeds Japan - 125,000 in 2009 vs 72,000 from Japan) it will only be 6 or 7 years before it passes the US too.

The we keep believing the myth that the only the US or Europe is capable of producing innovative products, the further behind we will slide in science and technology, until we wake up one day and wonder why it is that the only thing that we are producing is the very goods that we used to ascribe to third world countries - ie. agricultural and primary products like ore ore and coal, with perhaps a few Britney CDs thrown in too.

The amount of money that was spent to reach the moon during the space race was astronomical - and justifiable at the time due the the cold war. To really get back in the space business properly, there has to be a good commercial reason to get there, and it has to be private companies that do it. What we should really be doing is encouraging more private enterprises to get into the field by having more schemes like the X prizes, which has so far been very successful at helping drive private industry into the field. The problem with large publicly funded NASA driven projects is it just generates way too much pork barrel inefficiencies, with relatively little return for all that public spending compared to what can be achieved by private companies for the same money.

I would like to see someone actually start trying to do something like actually capture an asteroid (or use some of the existing hunks of rock) at one of the Lagrange points as the basis for industrial mining, processing and fabrication of stuff in space - as ultimately this is probably going to be the most affordable way to build substantial structures up there, as opposed to pushing up every single component on rockets at thousands of dollars per Kg. Perhaps it is time for an X prize type competition for the first company who can actually make something from stuff that is already out there in space, so we can finally start building real space based industries.

The US should establish a moon colony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32723028)

And Obongo can be the first (and only) colonist.

A new frontier will cause uncontrolable growth... (1)

Robin47 (1379745) | more than 3 years ago | (#32723168)

and give pioneers someplace to go which means they will slip the leash. Right now there is no new frontier. If a substantial population moves off the planet how will they ever round them back up? The meek will inherit the Earth, everyone else will be making a life out there somewhere.

Bend over (1)

biggerboy (512438) | more than 3 years ago | (#32723288)

"It is the shared interest of all nations to act responsibly in ways that emphasize openness and transparency, and help prevent mishaps, misperceptions, and mistrust."

Not if you are the only nation that has this policy.

Summary overly crude... (4, Informative)

Silm (1135973) | more than 3 years ago | (#32723320)

This document is not a " This is what NASA is going to do" sort of thing; It is a top-level, national guideline towards spacerelated ( and by related, I mean everything even vaguely connected ) business. Even school teaching programs. And if the USA can get data from satellites for climate change. This is a set of soft guidelines, without any realistic impact. For that impact, we need way, way more technical and financial reports.
For such a thing we will have to wait till congress looks at budget proposals, and some real life testing. constellation is still doing some tests, but everyone knows that the Ares 1 will never launch a single human to orbit. Officially - and even this document changes nothing about that - it is still going on.
And please, dont attach too much meaning to rumors of a new "space race". The chinese have a launch rate of one mission every 2 years. They are currrently way below 1965 level of experience from the USA. Instead, look at the slow but significant progress:
ESA getting Soyuz acces: http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Launchers_Home/SEMXN619Y8G_0.html [esa.int]
Russia upgrading its production facilities to build a 5th soyuz ( notably the upgrading of its thermal room so that 2 soyuz heatshields at the same time can be fitted to the spacecrafts: http://www.federalspace.ru/main.php?id=2&nid=9719&lang=en [federalspace.ru]
While its nothing flashy and I think there should be more money into spaceflight, spaceX and orbital and the likes are really going for it. Talk in the article about "losing the space race" is overly simplistic, certainly with an ISS that'll be around till atleast 2020, and very possibly 2030. It is international, dont forget that.
also, a rumor; ATK ( they manufacture the shuttle srbms) have finally caved in it seems, and are willing to build the old 4 segment boosters instead of continueing to lobby for a 5 segment version. Great news; they finally might get something moving now...

moon (1)

fadethepolice (689344) | more than 3 years ago | (#32723460)

we should MOVE cape canaveral to the moon and stockpile fuel there for eventual missions to all of the other interesting bodies of the solar system. We should not spend money GOING anywhere unless we plan on creating a colony there. A joy ride simply isn't worth the money.

Re:moon (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#32723722)

"A joy ride simply isn't worth the money."

Which is why we should build generation after generation of superb robots, which humans will require anyway in the utterly hostile environment of space, and use THEM to actually "explore". Tourists don't explore shit, and no matter how horny people are for adventure that doesn't justify sending them first unless they personally foot the bill.

We need robots, we can get a much faster development cycle than for manned missions, and there is ZERO urgency to send people because there is no short-term benefit and there are many drawbacks to sending them.

When ships were cheap and life was cheaper, sending expendable humans to explore Terra was a Good Idea. Now systems are extremely expensive, at an extremely early developmental stage, and the burden of meat support is too high for zero return. Send the robots first. We could wait a thousand years and master space remotely without losing anything.

Re:moon (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#32734996)

A photograph (not shopped) of a man on mars will ensure NASA's future and funding. The level of publicity for it will be crazy. Publicity and awareness results in funding. Probably not the smartest system but that is how it works.

Also, ships back during the world exploring time period were not cheap, they were fucking expensive as hell. BUT because of the type of government available known as fucking over anyone not at the top you could afford to do huge works. Great wall of China type projects could not be replicated in say Europe today (Even with the reduced costs attributed to having big trucks and w/e). No one has the funding for that kind of shit. Sticking people on mars isn't doable because of this.

Re:moon (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32736838)

Hm, otoh - what happened with NASA funding just after first photographs of a man on the Moon?

BTW, we still seem to have a bit of "great wall of China type projects" [wikipedia.org] , also in Europe (accidentally, the top one...)

Re:moon (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#32745962)

"Hm, otoh - what happened with NASA funding just after first photographs of a man on the Moon?"
Good point.

"BTW, we still seem to have a bit of "great wall of China type projects", also in Europe (accidentally, the top one...)"
The great wall of China cost over 1 million lives. And its construction on and off spanned many generations. The comparison is silly.

Re:moon (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32749664)

But also a changing way of quantifying resources, human ones too. One one hand it's probably a bit inneficient (overall) to allow direct human "sacrifices"; on the other - who knows how many were "claimed" by directing resources to such costly projects today. To complicate matters, the ultimate goal of both Great Wall and many projects from that list was to, at the least, maintain stability and prosperity of societies; so also "saving" lifes. And our infrastructure, even in this "faster" times, is also built over many generations.

Dismissing the familiarities is silly. Especially considering we do much more.

Full National Space Policy document (2, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 3 years ago | (#32723526)

First off, a full link to the document (instead of the short fact sheet linked in the original post) is here:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/national_space_policy_6-28-10.pdf [whitehouse.gov]

It's useful to compare this to the 2006 National Space Policy document issued by the Bush administration:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/national-space-policy-2006.pdf [whitehouse.gov]

Space Politics has a pretty good comparison of the two:

http://www.spacepolitics.com/2010/06/28/the-new-national-space-policy-is-out/ [spacepolitics.com]

I think the revised section on commercial space is quite promising:

Commercial Space Guidelines
The term "commercial," for the purposes of this policy, refers to space goods, services, or activities provided by private sector enterprises that bear a reasonable portion of the investment risk and responsibility for the activity, operate in accordance with typical market-based incentives for controlling cost
and optimizing return on investment, and have the legal capacity to offer these goods or services to
existing or potential nongovernmental customers . To promote a robust domestic commercial space
industry, departments and agencies shall:
  Purchase and use commercial space capabilities and services to the maximum practical extent
when such capabilities and services are available in the marketplace and meet United States
Government requirements;
  Modify commercial space capabilities and services to meet government requirements when
existing commercial capabilities and services do not fully meet these requirements and the
potential modification represents a more cost-effective and timely acquisition approach for
the government;
  Actively explore the use of inventive, nontraditional arrangements for acquiring commercial
space goods and services to meet United States Government requirements, including measures
such as public-private partnerships, hosting government capabilities on commercial spacecraft,
and purchasing scientific or operational data products from commercial satellite operators in
support of government missions;
  Develop governmental space systems only when it is in the national interest and there is no
suitable, cost-effective U .S . commercial or, as appropriate, foreign commercial service or system
that is or will be available;
  Refrain from conducting United States Government space activities that preclude, discourage,
or compete with U .S . commercial space activities, unless required by national security or public
  Pursue potential opportunities for transferring routine, operational space functions to the
commercial space sector where beneficial and cost-effective, except where the government
has legal, security, or safety needs that would preclude commercialization;
  Cultivate increased technological innovation and entrepreneurship in the commercial space
sector through the use of incentives such as prizes and competitions;
  Ensure that United States Government space technology and infrastructure are made available
for commercial use on a reimbursable, noninterference, and equitable basis to the maximum
practical extent;
  Minimize, as much as possible, the regulatory burden for commercial space activities and ensure
that the regulatory environment for licensing space activities is timely and responsive;
  Foster fair and open global trade and commerce through the promotion of suitable standards
and regulations that have been developed with input from U .S . industry;
  Encourage the purchase and use of U .S . commercial space services and capabilities in international cooperative arrangements; and
  Actively promote the export of U .S . commercially developed and available space goods and
services, including those developed by small- and medium-sized enterprises, for use in foreign
markets, consistent with U .S . technology transfer and nonproliferation objectives .
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has the primary responsibility in the Federal Government
for international trade agreements to which the United States is a party . USTR, in consultation with other
relevant departments and agencies, will lead any efforts relating to the negotiation and implementation
of trade disciplines governing trade in goods and services related to space .

How's that for timing? (0)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32723640)

I was going to add another post to the NASA poll pointing out that if we're going to get anywhere beyond the moon, we should do it with an international project, to spread the risks and improve technological and sociological cooperation generally.

Frankly, there's no more "space race". The job is too big for one country to pay for, and too important to humanity for one country to claim credit for.

So free competition for space contracts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32723766)

Whilst usually not very critical of the US, it seems to me that invitations for international cooperation on commercial/engineering projects are usually accompanied by the expectation that other foreign nations will pay money to US companies as a result of a "fully neutral" bidding process, rather than vica versa.

Other nations, having the same expectation but being quite used by now to disappointment, are probably quite unlikely to put money on the table without bulletproof commitments that the US will find it politically intolerable to give. All in all, attempt #32 at getting other nations to pay for US industry, hence with limited success.

Space...? (0, Flamebait)

terraplane (898379) | more than 3 years ago | (#32723886)

Something else for lowlife trekkie wasters to get upset over?

I don't have a violin small enough.

Encourage International Cooperation Step 1 (0, Troll)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#32723986)

So, Obama, you want to encourage US participation, both commercial and government, in the international market in the space industry? I have the first, most important step for you right here:

1. Mandate, by law, that we switch our outdated asses over to the standard metric unit system. Trying to explain to a Russian, what slugs and ft-lbf's are is about as much fun as you had trying to explain the U.S. healthcare bill to Sarah Palin.

what nasa is really doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32724556)

listen nasa is worse than goverment over keeping secrets how many pictures have they touched up what is nasa really doing look up how many satellites they have secrectly sent in space and check where at and listening for talk the other side of jupiter . dont believe me its all in the records. check it out!

Mistake (2, Informative)

tsotha (720379) | more than 3 years ago | (#32725150)

It's a mistake to depend too heavily on international ventures. Countries have different political and economic cycles - you tend to find yourself halfway through something ambitious when your partners decide they don't want to fund it any more. The ISS was a classic case of this kind of thing - we ended up bailing out the Russians as they went through problems after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Europeans were slow with their supply ships. The US stayed in the project when it would have made sense to cancel it, then we kept the shuttle fleet flying longer than we should have to service the ISS.

You may save money up front by penciling in partners, but you pay a big price in flexibility.

Re:Mistake (1)

stiggle (649614) | more than 3 years ago | (#32731036)

The orbit of the ISS was also changed from a useful one we could have used as a staging post for further missions, to the mess it is now so it orbits over Russia and is in basically a useless orbit for anything else.

Also due to the Columbia accident some interesting parts were cancelled - centrifugal base artificial gravity, X-38 CRV (that project got passed to the Air Force to function as what seems to be a returnable spy satellite system.

International co-operation is good - ESA has shown it can be done. But then the Europeans are already fairly well linked up for co-operation and have been doing it for years on other stuff (Airbus, etc).

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