21 August 2009

Burt Rutan recommends spending on Planetary Defense

From: http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?ContentBlockID=3817e162-da22-4712-a108-9d40f85f77ec
He says the best way for money to be spent to protect the planet is research into a planetary defense system against asteroid strikes, "the only real extinction threat the planet has ever had and the only one in which Man can indeed use his intelligence and sweat to successfully defeat."

Indian Grand Stragegist Calls for Bilateral Space Solar Power

Wednesday 19 August 2009, by Namrata Goswami

When Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama emerged as a front-runner in the 2008 US Presidential elections, many in India especially in the policy circles were worried. The argument was that “the George W. Bush Jr years” had been one of the most productive for enhancing US-India strategic relationship after decades of distrust and suspicion. So, the related major question dominating Indian policy discourses was: will a Democratic President continue the upsurge in US-India ties of the Republican years, the jewel of which was the July 18, 2005 Indo-US civilian nuclear deal?

One did not have to wait too long for an answer. It came during US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s four-day visit to India from July 17 to 20, 2009.

On July 20, 2009, the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and India’s External Affairs Minister, S. M. Krishna, issued a Joint Statement which reaffirmed the commitment of both India and the US to continue the “new heights achieved in the India-US relationship over the last two Indian and US Administrations” and to now start a third transformative phase under the Obama Administration. Both nations also committed to annually hold an “India-US Strategic Dialogue” focusing on bilateral, regional and global issues of common concern. Among the list of stated commitments, the commitment to a “nuclear free world” and “defence cooperation” under the 2005 Defence Co-operation Framework Agreement is exciting to say the least. Nuclear weapons in the South Asian context, while bringing about stability to an extent between India and Pakistan, have not been overtly successful in thwarting acts of terror and “limited wars” especially between the two states (read Kargil and cross-border terrorism). Also, a nuclear free world is perhaps strategically critical to India as its neighbour Pakistan possesses a range of nuclear weapons the security of which is suspect. That nuclear terrorism is a potential threat for India from Pakistan is a critical area of concern for India; and the July 20, 2009 Joint Statement recognises the vital importance of nuclear weapons safety.

The most important aspect of the Joint Statement was the section on “Civil Nuclear Cooperation”. Setting at ease the Indian sceptics of a Democratic Presidential Administration’s commitment to carry on with India what the former Republican Administration agreed to with regard to the reprocessing of procedures under Article 6 (iii) of the 123 Agreement, the Joint Statement made a commitment to do just that. In fact, on July 21, 2009, President Obama submitted his first report to Congress on the July 18, 2005 Indo-US Civilian Nuclear Deal stating that it had opened up new pathways for serious talks on non-proliferation between the US and India.

It is rather clear by now that the July 20, 2009 Joint Statement reflects the fact that the US recognises India as an important actor in the international system and will like to see it as an ally on issues of global importance especially in the economic sphere. The US is India’s largest trading partner investing around US $ 10 billion while India has also increased its stakes by investing heavily in the US economy (US $ 3.7 billion in 2008). The nuclear reactor market is very enticing to the US as India is aiming to import 24 nuclear reactors in the next 10-15 years, creating “as many as 20,000 new jobs in the US from nuclear trade”, according to a Confederation of Indian Industry report. India also intends to replace 125 of its aging Soviet fighter planes and the US is competing with Russia, France and Britain to win for itself the multi-million dollar deal.

WHILE all these seem rather encouraging in terms of upgrading the strategic partnership between India and the US, bottlenecks on issues like climate change and nuclear proliferation can create obstacles for a smooth sail in the near future. The July 20, 2009 Joint Statement was rather ambiguous regarding the nature of non-proliferation sought from India by the US in relation to its nuclear weapons capability. It was also vague regarding the commitment that the US was willing to give to ensure that India’s neighbours, especially Pakistan, over which it has a disproportionate level of influence, will not be used as a ground for terror training aimed at India.

When it comes to hardcore state relations, it will be perhaps prudent on India’s part to clearly state its intentions from an enhanced defence cooperation with the US given the fact that China, and not the US, shares a physical border with India. China has the potential to do mischief in volatile areas like North-East India and Kashmir. So is the case with Pakistan. Also, following as it does so close on the heels of the G-20 summit where India appeared to be leaning more towards China and Russia, this kind of overt posturing with the US by India sends out mixed and ambiguous signals to countries like Brazil, China and Russia with whom India has a lot at stake given the nature of their economies and development commonalities with India.

At the realm of technology, while the Joint Statement clearly reiterated both the US and India’s commitment to high technology cooperation in the field of space launch vehicles, FutureGen project, Integrated Ocean Development, nano-technology, civil nuclear technology etc., one fails to decipher what these mean in terms of India’s mass population and poverty ratios. How are nano-technology transfers or civil nuclear technology going to provide energy to India’s energy starved millions? High-sounding policy statements need to be more specific on commitments to their own population.

The section on “Energy Security, Environment and Climate Change” did refer to renewable energies like solar (perhaps the most viable in terms of energy to the rural masses in India) but it appeared as an afterthought. The Renewable Energy Partnership between India and the US, as currently being defined by the Obama Administration and UPA Government, should not just deal with tactical issues of today, but include long-term advanced energy concepts such as Space-Based Solar Power which will broadly push for strategic, rather than just tactical, cooperation across a host of major dialogues. Given the analyses of government projections of both countries, India is projected to have 4.4x the absolute renewable energy market from now till 2030. Hence, the section on renewables should have formed a vital component of the Joint Statement in view of its significance to both countries, especially India.

India also needs to pressurise the US for greater participation in the future civil space regime. Aerospace contains some of India’s greatest talent, and it needs to be brought to bear on the energy sector.

And consider:

Even if the particular technology does not pan out, it will

—create a flurry of activity and discussion around advanced energy, space, and long-term thinking;

—create a bilateral network that will be very useful in the future;

—will put further pressure on the US to reconsider its International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) policies;

—elevate both nations’ thinking to grander ideas;

—inspire a lot of youth;

—further mature ground solar energy by bringing in additional talent from the Aerospace Sector;

—create informed opinion on how to meet India’s energy needs for its own population.

Hence, while it is a welcome sign that the Obama Administration and UPA Government (in its second term) have committed to continue enhanced strategic partnership, it is vital that India raises the stakes in some of the issues of vital interest to its own stability and prosperity.

Dr Namrata Goswami is a Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for Dialogue, La Trobe University, Melbourne, and Associate Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.

Short Sighted DOE

DOE smacks down Space Solar to Fund Hot Parking Lots

The ARPA-E initiative is a project of the Department of Energy, its purpose is to fund “high-risk, high-payoff transformational R&D … that can enhance the economic and energy security of the United States through reductions of imports of energy from foreign sources, etc.” (more here)

Funded with money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, one would think that ARPA-E, being a semantic cousin of the Pentagon’s well-known DARPA division, famous for its assisted walking suits, robotic espionage dragonflys and, of course, the internet, would have a slew of strange projects on their roster. However, one scientist, whose rejected space based solar program requested a modest $2 million dollars for further testing, feels the DOE’s selection process was a bit lopsided.

Senior Breakthrough Fellow and Professor Emeritus of Physics at NYU, Martin Hoffert, has long made the case for space-based solar power as an alternative to earth-moored models. Up beyond the filters of pollution and the limits of daylight, the sun’s energy is nearly constant and undiffused. Using solar panels affixed to a satellite or, say, the International Space Station, the idea would be to beam the energy back to terrestrial sources in the form of microwaves or some other heretofore undiscovered method.

Hoffert even has the PR effort down pat, as he explains in a segment for Clean Skies TV: “We’ve spent a fortune on the International Space Station, and people are still saying, ‘What have we got from it?’ Well, we could probably beam power from the International Space Station to various locations along its ground track, including some in developing countries that have no prospect of getting energy.”

Now that certainly sounds “transformational”; and for $2 million dollars it’s a no-brainer, right? But out of the 3500 applications the ARPA-E program received, only 40 – 60 (roughly 1.1%) will receive funding of between $3 to $5 million dollars. While Hoffert’s program got the snub, in the approved pile is a project that aims to capture the heat trapped in asphalt parking lots and other paved surfaces via a series of tubes filled withwater.

On his Dot Earth blog, NY Times science reporter, Andy Revkin, asks the $2 million dollar question: “Which project strikes you as more ‘transformational’?”

Solaren gets the nod from PG&E, Hoffert gets the snub…

Not only is Hoffert’s query more transformational, it is also supported by big industry. When news broke this April that California’s biggest energy utility, PG&E, had signed on with Solaren, a manufacturer of solar cells, to potentially capture and beam back to earth 200 megawatts of electricity from solar power stations orbiting the earth, can you guess who wasn’t too surprised to hear the news?

PG&E have contributed no money to the project as of yet, but have promised to buy the energy back from Solaren at an undisclosed, but roughly equivalent rate to the current market prices of other renewables.

“Solaren would generate the power using solar panels in Earth orbit and convert it to radio-frequencytransmissions that would be beamed down to a receiving station in Fresno, PG&E said. From there, the energy would be converted into electricity and fed into PG&E’s power grid.” (via MSNBC)

The Solaren plan puts together some more of the specifics about how they plan to get the satellites into space via private deployment vehicles, which makes sense given that most of its employees are former aerospace engineers, but it makes no mention of using methods other than those that Hoffert and his son, through their company, Versatility Energy, have long pioneered to beam the wattage back to terra firma.

So it would seem that with a major utility taking the time to put its public stamp of commitment upon a technology, that the development of the above-mentioned “undiscovered methods” would merit at least a couple million dollars study in the meantime, particularly if the results might further the adoption of a potentially limitless resource. Then again, maybe ARPA-E’s focus is on something a bit more pedestrian.

Space Solar Blurbs

From: http://amy.at.cechire.com/?p=202

SPACE SOLAR POWER SATELLITES

Space Solar Power from satellites could generate power from Sun. The basic idea of solar power satellites (SPS) has been around since 1968, but Solar Power Satellites. Space and Aeronautics, House Committee on Science regarding solar power satellites. Solar Satellites Will Power Earth, Scientists Say “Space solar power is something that should be explored seriously. Solar power satellites have promised to provide cheap, clean power for decades, but we have made very little progress on the concept in over 30 years. ” Space solar power can solve these problems,” Nansen said. Scientists say satellites powered by solar power will become a major energy source. Solar Power Satellites (SPS) are fairly large structures in space that convert solar energy, captured as solar irradiation, into an energy form that can be t.

The Space Elevator and Solar Power Satellites (SPS) May 22nd, 2007 I am in favor of space solar thermal power reactors. On “The Vital Need for America to Develop Space Solar Power” John Mankins before House Science Committee Hearings on Solar Power Satellites “. Space Solar Power- An Earth to Orbit Transportation Challenge. Obama-Biden Transition Project: Space Solar Power (SSP)- A Solution for Energy space-based solar power. More about solar power in space:Orbiting Space Power Systems Would Convert. Turning NEOs into solar satellites and space colonies would be a good way to. 3.8.2.2 Space Utility Market Areas 3.8.2.2.1 GEO Solar Power Satellites 3.8.2.2.1.1 Introduction Large power satellites in GEO were extensively studied in the late 1970s by various.

PowerSat Corporation estimates they can make 2500 megawatts of space based solar power. Space-based solar power is the 24/7/365 collection of solar power by satellites announced a plan to build the first-ever space-based solar power satellites. that could usher in an era of abundant solar energy from satellites above.

The “SolarDisc” concept is a single, large-scale GEO-based, RF-transmitting space solar power systems. other satellites with solar arrays that have been damaged by space debris, and Solar power satellites were considered by O’Neill because energy. Advanced Electric Propulsion For Space Solar Power Satellites. July 16, 2007 If solar power satellites (SPS) were available in. Energy: Satellites that beam solar power to earth have often appeared in science Space solar power is an idea far ahead of its time, but the necessary technology. The solar power satellite would harness energy directly from the sun and broadcast it back to a PG&E signs up for 200 MW of baseload space solar power. To join in a discussion about Solar Power Satellites visit the Solar Power Satellite Place. to make the case for space solar satellites close, property rights will help with development. space, solar collectors mounted on orbiting satellites could generate power 24 hours per day. Clean solar energy will be transmitted from these orbiting satellites to. Solar Power Satellite art set Sun-Powered Laser Beaming from Space for Electricity on Earth. Space Future is for everyone who’d like to visit space.

Space Based Solar Power (SBSP) is an idea first voiced by scientist Dr. National Space Society Calls for NASA Power Plant: Ben Bova, president of the National Space Society, says the time is right for NASA to build and launch a 1 b. In that sense, space-based solar power could be a “. Is beaming energy from space bound solar satellites the answer to our energy crisis? satellites that will operate as space solar energy collectors and transmitters.

In 1968, Peter Glaser proposed developing Space Solar Power (SSP) Space Systems Engineering: Design the SSP satellites and ground facilities.

Concepts for solar power satellites were being discussed in the 1960s and they If solar power satellites are such a great thing, why haven’t more people been. Will space solar power ever be practical? Space solar power (SSP) is an innovative, reliable, technologically advanced way ( more about powersats or solar power satellites) PowerSat News. SPACE Canada Solar Power Alternative for Clean Energy is a not-for-profit promotion of space-based solar power via geo-synchronous satellites as an. Image from NASA How pie-in-the-sky is Ben Bova’s space satellite scheme?

16 August 2009

Honda Showcases Space Solar Power

See the Movie Transportation 2088: http://dreams.honda.com/#/video_mo
Features the thoughts of Orson Scott Card, and Ben Bova and Darel Preble discuss Space Solar Power Satellites.

12 August 2009

NASA Can't Keep up with Killer Asteroids

Excerpted From: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32387796/ns/technology_and_science-space/

MSN Tracking Image
NASA cannot keep up with killer asteroids
Congress assigned mission four years ago, but never gave NASA money
By Seth Borenstein
The Associated Press
updated 4:40 p.m. ET Aug. 12, 2009

WASHINGTON - NASA is charged with spotting most of the asteroids that pose a threat to Earth but doesn't have the money to complete the job, a federal report says.

That's because even though Congress assigned the space agency that mission four years ago, it never gave NASA the money to build the necessary telescopes, according to the report released Wednesday by the National Academy of Sciences.

Specifically, the mission calls for NASA, by the year 2020, to locate 90 percent of the potentially deadly rocks hurtling through space. The agency says it's been able to complete about one-third of its assignment with the current telescope system.

NASA estimates that there are about 20,000 asteroids and comets in our solar system that are potential threats. They are larger than 460 feet in diameter — slightly smaller than the Superdome in New Orleans. So far, scientists know where about 6,000 of these objects are.

Rocks between 460 feet and 3,280 feet in diameter can devastate an entire region, said Lindley Johnson, NASA's manager of the near-Earth objects program. Objects bigger than that are even more threatening, of course.

Just last month astronomers were surprised when an object of unknown size and origin bashed into Jupiter and created an Earth-sized bruise that is still spreading. Jupiter does get slammed more often than Earth because of its immense gravity, enormous size and location.

Disaster movies like "Armageddon" and near misses in previous years may have scared people and alerted them to the threat. But when it comes to monitoring, the academy concluded "there has been relatively little effort by the U.S. government."

And the United States is practically the only government doing anything at all, the report found.

"It shows we have a problem we're not addressing," said Louis Friedman, executive director of the Planetary Society, an advocacy group.

NASA calculated that to spot the asteroids as required by law would mean spending about $800 million between now and 2020, either with a new ground-based telescope or a space observation system, Johnson said. If NASA got only $300 million it could find most asteroids bigger than 1,000 feet across, he said.

But so far NASA has gotten neither sum.

It may never get the money, said John Logsdon, a space policy professor at George Washington University.

"The program is a little bit of a lame duck," Logsdon said. There is not a big enough group pushing for the money, he said.

At the moment, NASA has identified about five near-Earth objects that pose better than a 1-in-a-million risk of hitting Earth and being big enough to cause serious damage, Johnson said. That number changes from time to time, as new asteroids are added and old ones are removed as information is gathered on their orbits.

The space rocks astronomers are keeping a closest eye on are a 430-foot diameter object that has a 1-in-3,000 chance of hitting Earth in 2048 and a much-talked about asteroid, Apophis, which is twice that size and has a one-in-43,000 chance of hitting in 2036, 2037 or 2069.

Last month, NASA started a new Web site for the public to learn about threatening near-Earth objects.


The new politics of planetary defense

From: http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1418/1

The new politics of planetary defense

Comments (5)

Under the Bush Administration, a threat analysis matrix was used that divided possible conflicts according to probability and effects. Low-level global terrorism, for example, was regarded as highly likely to occur often but its effects were not seen as been in the same class with, say, a nuclear blast in downtown New York. This was the basis on which some of the early thinking that was done to study what might happen if an asteroid posed a risk to hit the Earth.

The threat of a catastrophic celestial hit against planet Earth carries little political weight, due to a lack of media interest and the fact that the problem does not fit into any of the normal government structures.

As a planning tool this matrix had its uses, but it lacked the ability to give political weight to the various threats. From the point of view of the US president and his administration, a low-level hostage seizure may or may not be a major event, depending on who the hostage is and how media-savvy the terrorists involved are. In contrast, the threat of a catastrophic celestial hit against planet Earth carries far less political weight, due to a lack of media interest and the fact that the problem does not fit into any of the normal government structures.

While the US Air Force has taken some preliminary steps towards developing a set of ideas for dealing with this threat, there is no urgency coming from senior leaders in the executive branch. This is not surprising, as their time is limited and they have no real motivation to spend their resources dealing with a threat that may not materialize within the next thirty or forty years.

According to the new Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Mich√®le Flournoy, the new focus will be in the “global commons”—the oceans, cyberspace, and space—as well as a new class of “hybrid” threats that Defense Secretary Robert Gates identified last year. Unlike the matrix used previously, which had room for unlikely but possibly catastrophic events such as an asteroid strike, the new administration’s view seems to be focused on nearer-term problems. There is nothing wrong with setting priorities, but to exclude what could be the single most catastrophic event in human history from any senior level US government consideration is probably not a good idea.

What seems to be missing in the global commons concept is the idea that the Earth is, in practical terms, the ultimate place that all of humanity shares. What Flournoy wants is to focus on “sustaining a healthy international system, the maintenance of which is not only central to our national interests but is also a global public good—something everyone can consume without diminishing its availability to others” Certainly being able to go about one’s business without getting smacked by a civilization-ending asteroid should count as a global good.

While the US is obviously going to have to take the lead in any effort to detect and possibly deflect any celestial object that might do our planet harm, it will have to consult with others, both to keep other nations informed and to help make the choices needed to deal with the threat. Yet in the end, it is likely that the decision, if there is one, will rest with the President of the United States. He or she is the only world leader today with the wherewithal to deal with such a threat.

If the US is have any claim to global leadership in the 21st century it will have to unambiguously take the lead in planetary defense.

This is why any planning effort that leans to heavily on international institutions may endanger the whole planet. The process inside an organization like the UN would simply get bogged down in procedural and political questions. US leaders may find that the system would be paralyzed while, for example, nations argued over deflection or destructions methods or who would control and pay for them. Precious time would be lost while nations would consider their own best interests in supporting one approach or another.

If the US is have any claim to global leadership in the 21st century it will have to unambiguously take the lead in planetary defense. It should do so in an open way and be ready to listen to everyone’s concerns and ideas. But if the Earth is to be effectively protected, the ultimate decisions will have to be American. In this case “global governance” could end up setting the stage for a disaster.

04 August 2009

JPL/B612 Paper on Apophis Keyholes

From:

New paper on Apophis Keyholes from JPL:
http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/neo/PDC_proceedings_062009.doc
http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/neo/pdc_paper.html

Lunar Crater Stats Indicate Hidden Population of Asteroids

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/23878/

Monday, August 03, 2009

Lunar Crater Stats Indicate Hidden Population of Asteroids

The asymmetric distribution of craters on the Moon may have been caused by an undiscovered population of near Earth asteroids

Many moons are locked in synchronous rotation with their mother planets. Examples include the Galilean moons of Jupiter, Neptune?s moon Triton and our own Moon.

In the 1980s and 1990s astronomers noticed that the distribution of craters on these objects was asymmetric: They were more heavily cratered on their leading hemispheres which makes sense since it seems obvious that these areas should be struck more often.

It wasn?t until 2003, however, that the same asymmetric crater distribution was measured on our Moon. Now Takashi Ito at the National Astronomical Observatory in Japan and Renu Malhotra at the University of Arizona have asked an interesting question. of the data. Can the asymmetric distribution of craters on the Moon be explained by the known distribution of near Earth asteroids that are thought to have caused them? Their answer is a cautious ?no?.

To properly explain the crater distribution, Ito and Malhotra say some other factor must have been involved. One possibility is that we simply haven?t seen all the craters yet: The ongoing lunar mapping missions may help on that score.

Another idea is that the Earth?s tidal forces tear Earth-crossing asteroids apart, creating a higher number of impacts than might otherwise be expected.

But the most exciting and potentially worrying possibility is that there exists a previously unseen population of near Earth asteroids that orbit the Sun at approximately the same distance as the Earth. These have gone unnoticed because they are smaller or darker than other asteroids, say Ito and Malhotra.

More complete observational surveys of the near-Earth asteroids can test our prediction, they say.

And let's not waste too much time about it. By some reckonings, asteroid impacts represent the greatest threat to humankind that we are able to calculate.

Ref: http://arxiv.org/abs/0907.3010: Asymmetric Impacts of Near-Earth Asteroids on The Moon

03 August 2009

Elements of a 21st Centry Space Policy

Recommend you read Peter Garretson's the entire Space Review article at: http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1433/1
But here are some highlights relevant to this Blog:

4) Establish a lead agency, and supported/supporting relationships for the now fully established asteroid/comet hazard. Since the 2006 policy, the importance of this issue simply cannot be ignored. The will of the Congress is explicit, having tasked both the OSTP and the NRC, and there are long-standing and unacted-upon recommendations from as early as 1990, recently re-affirmed by 2007 AIAA, 2008 USAF, and 2009 IAA conferences and reports.

The optimal arrangement would be to give the operational mission of warning and mitigation to a combatant command—USSTRATCOM today, and hopefully a reconstituted USSPACECOM in the future—exercised through the space security responsible agency—USAF today, and perhaps a USAF Space Corps or separate Space Force or Space Security Department in the future. NASA, NSF, NRO, MDA, and DTRA would all have formal supporting roles. For the consequence management, Department of Homeland Security should have primary responsibility.

5) Establish a lead agency—preferably ARPA-E—with a clear mandate and initial funding for space-based solar power, for a developmental program to achieve long-term economic viability. While the concept is not yet at a point where a mega-program is required, SBSP is at least as promising and scalable as fusion, and deserves a commensurate developmental program. There would be strong benefits to an international effort to experiment and demonstrate component technologies, analogous to ITER. Both Japan and ESA have developmental efforts, and the US should play a leadership role in the greenest of all renewable energy technologies, that is also potentially the largest and most lucrative global utility and launch market.

Space Solar Power has not done well historically under NASA, as it has viewed it as a distraction from human and robotic exploration, and does not consider energy or commercialization in its mandate. NASA would do better as a supporting supplier of technology to a DOE office with a specific mandate, such as ARPA-E, which has a mandate to foster research and development of transformational energy-related technologies, and holds the purse strings.

6) Restore developmental funding and mandate for long-term developmental and revolutionary technology development, specifically: reconstitute the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC); restart NASA’s efforts in advanced propulsion and Breakthrough Propulsion Physics (BPP); give far greater emphasis to Space Resource Utilization development; and affirm DARPA, DoD labs, and DOE’s mandate to contribute in these areas. It would be exciting if this Democratic administration displayed the vision of previous Democratic administrations in developing truly strategic long-term propulsion, such as the NERVA nuclear rocket program.

Here is the entire article:

Elements of a 21st century space policy

Comments (16)

While policy is a necessary enabling framework to communicate restrictions and freedom of action to internal audiences, it is also a powerful externalcommunication to our friends and allies. Whether rightly or wrongly, as a result of what the world perceived the larger unstated intentions of our last President, or the greater context of the perceived unilateralism of the period, the tone of the 2006 space policy was taken and received in such a way that it cost America in influence and freedom of action, and put us on the defensive.

The first criteria of any new space policy is that it must be read by our allies and partners as measured, consultative, and inclusive, and provides no wedge for our adversaries to diminish the moral bonds with those partners and the uncommitted.

Most fundamentally, a 21st century space policy must address the structural issues in our national space enterprise which impede forward motion and have prevented satisfying cumulative capital gains in our space program.

Every phrase should be guided by the advice of Parag Khanna: “First, channel your inner JFK. You are president, not emperor. You are commander in chief and also diplomat in chief. Your grand strategy is a global strategy, yet you must never use the phrase ‘American national interest.’ (It is assumed.) Instead talk about ‘global interests’ and how closely aligned American policies are with those interests. No more ‘us’ versus ‘them,’ only ‘we.’ That means no more talk of advancing ‘American values’ either. What is worth having is universal first and American second.”

Second, since the last policy came out in 2006, we have learned a lot more about what kind of enabling policy framework it will take to be a true second generation industrial space power and spacefaring civilization. There are a host of new issues and paradigms that are not addressed in past space policy directives, and it is the expectation of the space community that the new administration will address these.

Most fundamentally, a 21st century space policy must address the structural issues in our national space enterprise which impede forward motion and have prevented satisfying cumulative capital gains in our space program. Paradigmatically, the new space policy and accompanying vision must redress the unbalanced emphasis in our civil space program from a narrow focus on science and exploration toward an appreciation and enablement of development, exploitation, and expansion of humanity’s sphere of economic activity.

Right now, there is no comfortable place for space applications that are not discovery science, exploration, military, or established services. For the most part, it leaves out—or at least leaves nebulous, unconsolidated, and without a critical mass—programs and development efforts for infrastructure, industrialization, space resources (survey and process maturation), non-traditional and persistent security situational awareness, and global utilities—all of which, to a far greater extent than a discovery and exploration program, will determine the elements of future United States comprehensive national power. Without providing a consistent advocate, a central funding stream, and a central planning process, the support base will remain scattered and progress will be unsatisfying.

The policy should provide the broad brushstrokes that should be followed up with some very specific actions during the first term of this administration, to include:

1) Publish an inclusive “Vision for Space Development” (VSD) to accompany any vision for space exploration. This vision must be focused on opening space as a medium for the full spectrum of human activity and commercial enterprise, and those actions which government can take to promote and enable it, through surveys, infrastructure development, pre-competitive technology, and encouraging incentive structures (prizes, anchor-customer contracts, and property/exclusivity rights), regulatory regimes (port authorities, spacecraft licensing, public-private partnerships) and supporting services (open interface standards, RDT&E facilities, rescue, etc.).

If NASA is not to be focused or provide leadership in this area, an alternate center or centers of excellence, funding, and support should be established to nurture those components of academia, state space agencies, national labs, industry, and international partnership that are currently stymied by a NASA unwilling to lead in areas peripheral to discovery robotic science or human exploration. One option would be to dismember NASA, putting the more commercial friendly space-sections (Ames, Glenn) under the Department of Commerce Office of Space Commercialization (DOC/OSC) or Corps of Engineers, aviation-related research under FAA, and leaving NASA to focus on its historical interests, or further breaking it up, moving space services and robotic exploration to NOAA or NSF, and returning national launch and human exploration to the DoD, or entirely to the commercial sector.

The most important and transformational program at NASA is not Constellation, but rather COTS and its innovative partnership and prize programs, which are focused on a meaningful and more important sustainable expansion of a viable American capabilities. The test is not whether NASA can do it, but whether NASA has opened and transferred it for auto-catalytic development with US industry.

While the concept is not yet at a point where a mega-program is required, space-based solar power is at least as promising and scalable as fusion, and deserves a commensurate developmental program.

Rejection of sovereign claims must not extend to a domain hostile to private property that has served humanity so well, and surrender to communalism that might cost us our long-term survival—we do not want humanity’s future in space to look like Antarctica, barren and devoid of the splendor and diversity of human activity except for science. Therefore caution should be exercised when considering steps such as becoming a signatory to the Law of the Sea and Moon Treaty which foreclose the opportunities to future generations of property rights and set up wealth and technology transfer mechanisms which subdue incentives for private exploration and risk.

2) Establish a separate funding line for space infrastructure and development projects to compete and flourish. This could be in NASA or elsewhere (Department of Commerce, Corps of Engineers), but without it significant progress will not be possible.

3) Direct the creation of an interagency and international vision for persistent, space-derived non-traditional security (space and Earth environmental) awareness. From climate and disaster warning, to space debris and solar weather, to global crop, fishery, and health monitoring, there are a host of things we would like to know about our Earth and space environment on a persistent basis. We need both a unifying paradigmatic structure for this, as well as a guiding interagency vision.

One obvious component of this, which leads directly to the next point, is the adoption of the broader and more inclusive European conception of Space Situational Awareness.

4) Establish a lead agency, and supported/supporting relationships for the now fully established asteroid/comet hazard. Since the 2006 policy, the importance of this issue simply cannot be ignored. The will of the Congress is explicit, having tasked both the OSTP and the NRC, and there are long-standing and unacted-upon recommendations from as early as 1990, recently re-affirmed by 2007 AIAA, 2008 USAF, and 2009 IAA conferences and reports.

The optimal arrangement would be to give the operational mission of warning and mitigation to a combatant command—USSTRATCOM today, and hopefully a reconstituted USSPACECOM in the future—exercised through the space security responsible agency—USAF today, and perhaps a USAF Space Corps or separate Space Force or Space Security Department in the future. NASA, NSF, NRO, MDA, and DTRA would all have formal supporting roles. For the consequence management, Department of Homeland Security should have primary responsibility.

5) Establish a lead agency—preferably ARPA-E—with a clear mandate and initial funding for space-based solar power, for a developmental program to achieve long-term economic viability. While the concept is not yet at a point where a mega-program is required, SBSP is at least as promising and scalable as fusion, and deserves a commensurate developmental program. There would be strong benefits to an international effort to experiment and demonstrate component technologies, analogous to ITER. Both Japan and ESA have developmental efforts, and the US should play a leadership role in the greenest of all renewable energy technologies, that is also potentially the largest and most lucrative global utility and launch market.

Space Solar Power has not done well historically under NASA, as it has viewed it as a distraction from human and robotic exploration, and does not consider energy or commercialization in its mandate. NASA would do better as a supporting supplier of technology to a DOE office with a specific mandate, such as ARPA-E, which has a mandate to foster research and development of transformational energy-related technologies, and holds the purse strings.

6) Restore developmental funding and mandate for long-term developmental and revolutionary technology development, specifically: reconstitute the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC); restart NASA’s efforts in advanced propulsion and Breakthrough Propulsion Physics (BPP); give far greater emphasis to Space Resource Utilization development; and affirm DARPA, DoD labs, and DOE’s mandate to contribute in these areas. It would be exciting if this Democratic administration displayed the vision of previous Democratic administrations in developing truly strategic long-term propulsion, such as the NERVA nuclear rocket program.

7) Provide the Security Space enterprise with the tools it needs articulate its needs, problems and potential contributions and compete on a level playing field for resources. Those tools include sufficient internal controls on budget and personnel development and promotion, and a truly independent voice before the programmers, authorizers and allocators.

Space tourism and the surrounding space entrepreneurial community is creating new jobs and industrial knowledge that are moving us toward routine, reusable, aircraft-like, and low-cost access to space.

“Security Space” faces a number of structural problems. Although space is fast-becoming a co-equal domain for military competition, with vastly different characteristics than land, sea, or air, it remains subordinate across the various branches as a support function. Its principal provider, the USAF, is not its principal customer, and will always have core considerations (air superiority) that trump those of space. Budget, personnel, and requirements are fragmented between the military and intelligence communities. Optimal development of security space professionals is likely to be quite different than recent development tracks that stressed operationalization, and tours in missiles to balance the requirements shape the size and seniority of the force to more general requirements. Operationally, space falls under USSTRATCOM, which many consider an over-tasked combatant command (COCOM). As a result, military space lacks truly independent control of its personnel, promotions, ability to develop a competing doctrine, and ability to argue directly for resources. The situation has led various thinkers to suggest a fenced budget, a distinct personnel system, separation of space professionals from ICBM tours, consolidation of AFSPC and NRO, the creation of a Space Corps within the USAF, a separate COCOM for space, and even a separate space force.

8) Recognize space tourism as the strategic industry that it is, and prioritize an enabling policy and regulatory regime to sustain and develop US leadership. Space tourism and the surrounding space entrepreneurial community is creating new jobs and industrial knowledge that are moving us toward routine, reusable, aircraft-like, and low-cost access to space. As with other infant strategic industries, government has a role to play in conducting targeted and responsive pre-competitive research (as was the focus of NACA before becoming NASA), establishing prizes and anchor contracts, as was done in aviation.

9) Give a mandate and encouragement to state space agencies (Space Florida, California Space Authority) to take a leadership role in space infrastructure development, and develop a supporting policy to allow typical infrastructure funding (bonds) to apply to space infrastructure, and conceive of a matching funds program not dissimilar to our Federal Highway Trust Fund.

10) Engage the international community on the future of safe space operations, including the need for active space debris remediation, space traffic management, and the creation of an International Civil Space Organization (not unlike the International Civil Aviation Organization) for coordination, standard-setting, and regulation.

11) Finally, the new space policy must unshackle American industry and academia to participate, contribute, and compete fully and much more freely in the global marketplace and global partnerships, and stem the tide of erosion and export of our industrial base into “ITAR-free” zones and products. It must make a clear and bold break from this unique, self-imposed disadvantage, which particularly hits hard the small entrepreneurs who are the core of our innovation machine, and lack the resources to pay the enormous ITAR reverse-tariff in dollars, manpower, or time. It must also provide the top-level direction and resources to reduce the administrative processing time for visas that impede our strategic partnerships.

A space policy for the 21st century must not be about grudgingly protecting our limited advantage today, but rather aggressively go after the substantial gains of emerging new industries and endeavors that will be America and the world’s spacefaring future.

Fundamentally, the policy must recognize that the winds are changing, and demand a new conception and strategy for international security. We cannot prevent the expansion of actors into space nor the expansion of knowledge about ourselves through satellite-based observation. We can either fight the wave of this new transparency or surf it, recognizing the benefits to global stability and security it provides. In such a climate, we may have more to gain from sharing our imagery and space situational awareness, and encouraging the same from others than hoarding it. If we “crowd source” this vast open-source intelligence analysis problem to the billions of eyes and thousands of “little brother(s)” out there watching Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth, we might be impressed with the positive effect that such transparency might provide.

A space policy for the 21st century must not be about grudgingly protecting our limited advantage today, but rather aggressively go after the substantial gains of emerging new industries and endeavors that will be America and the world’s spacefaring future; not just giving lip service to space as the final frontier, but developing it. A space policy that finally looked beyond just discovery science and exploration and gave sufficient emphasis to nurturing the sprouts of the industry and infrastructure that put us on the path toward true spacefaring, survival, security, space development, and frontier opening, however less glamorous than a big rocket program, would be quite a legacy indeed.