NASA 3rd space exploration conference blog: final “space politics” session

by | Feb 28, 2008 | Seradata News | 0 comments

Day 3

Leslie Gilbert
Works for congressman

Talking about work as historian looking at 18th century US scientific thought
Many politicians would like a shorter gap between shuttle and orion
Something unnerving US will be responsible on others for access to space
NASA’s budget request does not have what is needed to accelerate timetable
Not clear if future administrations will provide those funds
I feel fairly good about holding the line but don’t feel confident about increasing it
Has been an attempt to increase it by a billion but not successful
Industry needs to lobby

P. Carliner
Govt relations firm – Carliner Strategies and is part of a Google lunar x prize team
Worked on US senate appropriations committee

Space politics in a transition
In two years end of shuttle
Significant workforce issues
Emergence of china and India as major competitors in space
Seen commercialisation of space with x prize and spacex and cots
At the same time in the mix of a extraordinary presidential election and part of congress is also being re-elected
Need to spend more time talking to us people and not to ourselves
None of us has had a discussion with the public
Relied for to long on a handful members of congress
Space programme is vulnerable
We have three presidential nominee candidates
Clinton layed out extensive policy supporting vision
Mccain also expressed support for space programme
Obama has made remarks and called for delay to constellation
When that was announced the aerospace industry was silent
No companies took out adverts or op-eds questioning this
Obama’s staffers can think we were right nobody cares about space
Anti-space people will win by default if more is not done
Beyond aerospace states awareness of space is poor and that is bad for aerospace
Coalition is there but more needs to be done
Constellation is about US leadership in economy, science, and need to maintain that leadership
Like Antarctica analog, US has a major presence, we have largest footprint and is responsible for majority of transportation/logistics to there
US presence sets tone for work being done there, such as climate work
US decision to go to the Moon, saw many countries decide to go to the Moon as well
You never see ads about space and that is unfortunate, they are always about commercial aircraft and defence
We need to take full page adverts out and tv adverts and op-eds
Debate needs to be now, policy formulation is now
If you wait till January that is too late
Coalition and Chambers of Commerce needs to get together
Authorisation act passage is very important
Last time US senate had space policy debate was about 15 years ago
Need full fledged debate
This programme is vital to the US
It is our destiny to lead into space
China’s space spend is not reliant on 1-2% increases per year

R. Dickman
Politicians support comes with public support

Gilbert: all politics local and support is linked to supply base
Carliner: VP has not been head of the space programme for two administrations while we used to have VP as head of space programme and head of space council

Gilbert: Congressman like space programme but they vote for their disctricts, not cutting fire and police services
Carliner: I agree. China is going to the Moon, I am surprised that has not spurred politicians to want to go the Moon faster. India won’t be far behind. Need to sell benefits of US space programme. What has sustained NASA is shuttle and videos of EVAs, Hubble telescope and Mars rovers and look at hits on NASA website when rovers arrived. Images from Hubble not far behind. Aeronautics is untold story about NASA.

Q STEM subjects, how important?
Carliner: Mercury, Gemini, Apollo created a generation of engineers that benefited US
Have not done good enough job of linking programmes to engineers and scientists.
Gilbert: I agree. Last year work on bill related to STEM education almost overlooked NASA

Dickman: Congress’ sense of HSF gap is growing. Is there an answer to close gap?
Gilbert: I’m not optimistic. People don’t believe China will take the lead
Carliner: I do not believe Congress will ever require additional shuttle flights. During this gap need to focus on transition issues that keeps science and engineering base
We have had gaps in past, 3 year Columbia gap, gap in the 1970s

Dickman: commercial solution? What is sense on hill of commercial solution?
Gilbert: members very interested in cots programme. Would like to see private enterprise tackle these issues
Carliner: it’s going to take much more coordination to sustain commercilisation, inter-agency and involve the Whitehouse

Gilbert: strong interest for authorisation bill, one to two years, to continue to support NASA
Carliner: Expects a CR that will extend well into CY2009

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