News, very quietly

The president just released a new national space policy. This was all done pianissimo; apparently it hasn’t been posted on the White House’s website, or even on NASA’s, but only on the Office of Science & Technology Policy. The policy itself is highlighting things like the right of safe passage of US spacecraft, that nothing should be allowed to interfere with such, and that “freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power.”

Incidentally, there have been vague rumors recently that China has been field-testing some new anti-satellite weaponry by pointing it at US satellites. I will just guess that this is no coincidence, and that you’re seeing some geopolitics in action here.

Also: The directive for civil space exploration says that NASA’s mandate is to “advance fundamental scientific knowledge of our Earth system, solar system, and universe.” The part about Earth was removed in an earlier version, and apparently got reinstated. (This has to do with whether NASA should research climate — n.b. the GISS-E group that does the current gold standard climate modelling is partially based out of NASA)

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Published in: on October 9, 2006 at 13:10  Comments (2)  
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  1. I’m sitting here reading the space policy right now. There’s nothing really surprising in it (so far), but I love how in the beginning it affirms the peaceful use of space, and in the middle it directs the Secretary of Defense to develop capabilities to deny freedom of action in space to adversaries.
    And I love this bit: “Consistent with this principle, ‘peaceful purposes’ allow US defense and intelligence-related activities in pursuit of national interests.”
    I expect space to be militarized, but I could live without the doublespeak.

  2. I’m sitting here reading the space policy right now. There’s nothing really surprising in it (so far), but I love how in the beginning it affirms the peaceful use of space, and in the middle it directs the Secretary of Defense to develop capabilities to deny freedom of action in space to adversaries.
    And I love this bit: “Consistent with this principle, ‘peaceful purposes’ allow US defense and intelligence-related activities in pursuit of national interests.”
    I expect space to be militarized, but I could live without the doublespeak.


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