Campaign '04

Kerry space policy in the works?

On the kerryspace mailing list today there was a message that suggests that the Kerry campaign is drafting a position paper on space issues. Some highlights:

  • The effort is being led by Lori Garver, a former NASA associate administrator for policy and plans and former executive director of the NSS.
  • The policy seems to focus on terrestrial applications of space technology and services, including some things previously reported (performing materials research and other science on ISS), as well as helium-3 from the Moon. (Please, for credibility’s sake someone tell him to take the helium-3 part out until, say, there are fusion reactors on Earth that can use it…)
  • The policy would call for funding NASA at its current levels or higher.
  • The policy would put a greater emphasis on commercial involvement, including prizes (which, as previously reported, would be consistent with his overall science and technology policy.)

23 comments to Kerry space policy in the works?

  • Helium-3 has more potential than fusion alone. Hyperpolarized helium-3 gas can enhance the results of MRIs by allowing detailed imaging of the ventilation dynamics of the lungs (which in turn is believed to have benefit for diagnosing and treating asthma). Studies are on-going so its likely there are at least a few doctors who would relish the return of more He-3 from the Moon.

  • Anonymous

    The most important aspect is a reaction to the Vision for Space Exploration. Does he support it or not? If not, what is his post-Shuttle policy?

    Research and development of better Earth-space transport or in-situ resource utilization are good policies.

  • It seems to me there is more than one way to structure an agreeable if not persuasive Democratic space policy, consistent with the exploration initiative, differing in implementation to the Bush administration, and without needing to blind everyone with detail.

  • Anonymous

    helium-3 for medical use? that’s going to be so expensive that Kerry better have a good health care proposal or else no one will be able to afford it!

  • Chris Webster

    Seriously, can’t we manufacture He-3 here on Earth? No matter how pricey the process, it’s gotta be cheaper than getting the stuff from the moon.. sheesh.

    Do you support the VSE, Kerry? Say YES.

  • Andrew Gray

    I have seen some numbers which were intended to show that MRI alone could provide a market for limited private He3 return; I don’t recall giving it much credence at the time, however. Usenet economics…

  • Mark Zinthefer

    Call me narrow minded but anything other than “men to Mars on the cheap” is going to fall on deaf ears to me.

  • Jim Rohrich

    The effort is being led by Lori Garver? Great, Kerry has selected a Clinton stooge to formulate a space policy paper. I wonder if “faster, better, cheaper” will be part of it. Or another paper SSTO project. Better yet, as part of a new American space project (whatever that may be), she’ll recommend we bring the Russians on board. Then we can be told how that will save us money while the ex-commies rip us off. Or may be Kerry (or Garver) can resurrect Mr. Goldin and throw him into the mix. Then Mr. Goldin could find a mission for Triana.

    Bush/Cheney 2004

  • Call me narrow minded…

    OK, you’re narrow minded.

    Jim, do you really think that Lori was the criminal mastermind behind the space policy of the 1990s?

  • Dogsbd

    An about face by Kerry on NASA spending now would fool how many people?

    Few, I hope.

  • Well, it seems that John Glenn took the main angle I had in mind:

    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=14701

    Starting from that point, the Democrats can put forward a compelling space/science/engineering adgenda that serves a fundamental domestic purpose, while highlighting Bush’s anti-science bias.

  • Perry A. Noriega

    Talking it over with my friend Chris’ mom Jackie, who is as left as I get with my personal relationships, she thinks a Kerry victory is essential to correct the miscreant Bush victory and his equally miscreant war in Iraq. Space figures not at all in her view of what this nation needs to do, although she thinks a casino in orbit would be the only really valuable thing to be done in space anytime soon. She bases this on the entertainment and vicarious thrill gambling and risk entail, and unfortunately, nothing else really matters.

    She thinks Kerry can pose an alternative to VSE-STS-ISS that takes care of the Earth, and does something for the economy that gives people jobs and helps the hungry and homeless. That is what is really important as far as she is concerned-not space anything. And maybe companies like Scaled Composites can get ordinary people into space, as a remote possibility, even though corporate America is badly tainted in her eyes, and aerospace tech America is guilty by association as well.

    My friend Doug’s older brother Rob, an Air Force retiree, thinks national security, missile defense, surveillance, and national pride from showing our strength thru force projection and taking space for America is the only worthy thing to be done in space anytime soon, if ever. When weíve secured space for US dominance, then we can explore, let entrepreneurs take us wherever they can, and worry about getting to Mars. But not before then.

    My friend Laurie’s daughter Rachelle thinks Mars is the best thing the US Space Program can do, and getting to Mars as soon as possible, looking for life, and making a colony there are the only things worth doing in space, from the perspective of a 9 year old girl. She doesnít care about politics, she just wants to explore and have a chance to go to space in her lifetime. Iíve told her about all thatís happened in space history from the 1880ís till now, and she is very angry that adults have bungled the chance to get into space to stay.

    She thinks adults have wasted the chance to go from the earth to the Moon, as she understands we used to do, and we should and could have been on Mars long before now, by her reckoning of what Iíve told her about our mixed history of success and failure in the Space Age.

    John Kerry needs to address these conflicting goals, ideologies, and the ongoing capitalization problem space is plagued with, if he intends to do something substantive with space policy and programs. And he needs to address these three varying constituents concerns for space. I hope Lori Garver, who is as good a backer of doing something in space as the Democratic-Left branch of the space community has produced, can help deliver a product for space policy for John Kerry that answer Rob, Jackie, and Rachelle to their satisfaction. If possible.

    By the way, none of them has ever heard of the National Space Society, the Mars Society, the Space Frontier Foundation, Rosaviaksomos, RSC Energia, SpaceDev, Elon Musk, Shenzhou, Smart-1, or anything else real and factual about space.
    I hope this illustrates the gulf between the space community proper, and the general populace as a whole. The Space Community has it’s job cut out for it to win converts amongst the younger generation who care about space, and keep them from repeating the same mistakes of infighting, destinational conflicts, insufficient funding and lack of financing that have kept space a dormant frontier for three decades.

    Solving the high cost to orbit, keeping science, environmental monitoring or national defense from being the only reasons to do space, and giving the big Aerospace companies more money to build gold plated hardware that does not deliver as promised, have let these three people down. Selling space to the common man and woman, boy and girl once again stand out paramount in this scribes mind, based on my speaking to these three people in the last 24 hours. And keeping conflict, dissention, and different dreams for space from real progress in space needs doing, now. Comments, anyone ?

  • John Kerry needs to address these conflicting goals, ideologies…

    There’s no reason to think that he, or anyone, is capable of doing that.

  • Jim Rohrich

    Rand,

    OK – got caught up in the moment. She’s not the criminal mastermind, but she was on the team.

  • Yes, she was on the team, but that doesn’t mean that she agreed with all the policies. I wonder if she’s angling to replace O’Keefe if Kerry wins?

  • Anonymous

    “I wonder if she’s angling to replace O’Keefe if Kerry wins?”

    She would be a good choice for space enthusiasts, because she has a long dedication to exploring space. She served as the Executive Director of the National Space Society for many years. She’s also a genuinely nice person. The best guess is that her primary interest is in helping the Democratic campaign in the best way she knows how, rather than specifically “angling” for anything.

    However, although she served as an AA at NASA, she does not have experience managing a large organization. O’Keefe at least had experience as Secretary of the Navy. Generally, presidents tend to look for people who have managed large organizations to run their large organizations.

    An additional factor to consider is that people who draft position papers for campaigns and even those who manage transition groups for incoming candidates rarely end up running organizations. This is not really a reflection on them as much as it is a result of political, bureaucratic and management calculations.

  • I didn’t say it was likely to happen. I was just wondering if she was hoping for it.

  • Perry A. Noriega

    Friday, July 30, 2004, 06:07 UT

    If Kerry, Bush, Sean O’Keefe, Lori Garver, the Aldridge Commission, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, the US Commission on Aerospace, the Case for Mars, the High Frontier, Arthur C. Clarke, Gerard K. O’Neill, Robert Zubrin, John Carter McKnight, Rick Tumlinson, Harrison H. Schmitt, the NSS, Space Frontier Foundation, Mars Society, the Coalition for Space Exploration, NASA management, ESA, CSA, Rosaviakosmos, RK Energia, the space community as a whole, and the people of the spacefaring nations cannot find ways to address the capitalization, convergence, advertising, marketing, promotion, sales, and general meme of a spacefaring civilization in a variety of locales via existing mechanisms, then I suggest the Network Enterprise.

    This bypasses conventional means, answers the market for, and creates a demand for a spacefaring civilization. If youíre curious, go to John Carter McKnightís website, and read his editorials concerning The Spacefaring Web. This will convince you, if nothing else does. And you can and should help to sell space to the common man and woman too. Maybe you already do. I know I will not just roll over and play dead for anyone, anymore than Annie Oakley would have. And I refuse to believe it can’t be done; I just believe it can’t be done exclusively within the traditional rubrics we have used to sell space since the Space Age began. We need new means for a new age.

    If John Kerry and George W. Bush cannot between the two of them hammer out the traditional authoritarian bureaucratic hierarchical, traditional government-industrial-academic solutions to get us into the Inner Solar System in a major way, then some other means, and other people can, should, and will.

    I fully acknowledge no one has succeeded in doing this yet. But we are at the very beginning of thinking of trying to sell the idea, the meme, of a spacefaring civilization to an atomized culture. And many of us have not yet moved beyond Industrial era means to do so. Others of us have started trying, experimenting, and using the hacker ethic of continual tinkering till we get it right. But I am certainly going to keep on trying, writing, editorializing, speaking, crafting my messages, defining my entrepreneurial space company, and developing means to move beyond the debt ridden, narrow minded, divisive, aging demographic, atomized culture, everyone for themselves, Democratic-Republican-Libertarian morass that has done nothing for space development and settlement, but has engendered enmity and made enemies where none should have been made in the first place.

    It is still an interesting, engaging, challenging, and all consuming passion, and gives me a reason to live. Thank God for the gift of space, despite all the problems.

    By the way, Iíll work with you anytime to do what really works to get the common man and woman into space in a participatory way, in every destination, for as many reasons as there are people who want to go into space as possible. Letís just hope people outside the space community do the same, and soon.

  • Anonymous

    “If Kerry, Bush, Sean O’Keefe…”

    You write really long sentences. You should stop that if you expect people to read them.

  • Ken Murphy

    Mr. Noriega, here in Dallas we’re doing exactly the sorts of things you’re talking about. The last three weekends the North Texas Chapter of the NSS has hosted displays at local venues and spoken to some 700 persons, adult and children.

    We were at a sci-fi expo, as well as a couple of local museums, so we saw different demographics each time. We’re on great terms with the museums, we’ve got an upcoming sci-fi event that’s interested in some Sci-Fact content, as well as a local shopping mall that’s trying to up its thematic content to draw more visitors to spend their money.

    You’re right, few folks have ever heard of us, but they’re all interested in space to some degree depending on the demographics (and there are some surprises in those demographics). We’ve also got World Space Week coming up, as well as Columbia Day and Yuri’s Night early next year, so the opportunities to place our name (big banner) before the public are many.

    The message is simple: Save the Earth…Develop Space. People are at least receptive to the idea, but they have no idea of what’s in space other than pretty Hubble pictures of far, far away. I’ve invested in a set of fake Moon rocks, and have received a few “Rocks are so cool” comments. When you give someone a piece of Ni-Fe meteorite to hold they get a much better sense of the resources of space. Everyone knows that you need metals for our modern world. Why not get them from space and stop tearing up our own planet? Overly simple messages, but effective. We also show them cool stuff like a space blanket they can try out, a piece of aerogel to look at, and a much-broken piece of shuttle tile material to examine.

    Another plus is free goodies. We make photocopies of coloring pages to give to the kids, and local museums (and even NASA) are willing to supply organizations with materials to distribute to the public. People have short memories; flyers, postcards and brochures allow them to take the message home.

    What’s required is the organization of young people to the cause. The Boomers are too burned out, it’s too late for the marginalised Gen Xers, but the Gen Yers are starting to get out of school and into the workforce. They’re the ones that are going to have the vim and vigor to do the outreach.

    The bulk of the existing space collective are just, sorry to say it, too old to really connect with the young uns. Look in the front of Ad Astra and you’ll see what I mean (the very few exceptions like George Whitesides and Elaine Walker excepted). Besides, people are organizing themselves differently these days, and the old forms of organization don’t work so well anymore.

    There is hope – the NASA Academy, SEDS, ISU and UND-Space alumni, the Space Generation, and others are starting to come into their own. The contribution they can make is enormous, if given support by the powers that be.

    The task is enormous, though. It is going to take people getting up from their keyboards and actually going out into public spaces to spread the word of space as a vital component of our (U.S., but equally everyone) future prosperity and national commercial competitiveness. Folks are woefully underinformed by the general media and it takes the efforts of those within the space community to actually go out and make it a personal connection for people.

    And they have to join the clubs, since the first question always asked by those that govern us is “How many people do you represent?” rather than “Why is your message important to our nation’s future?”.

  • Jim Rohrich

    “I wonder if she’s angling to replace O’Keefe if Kerry wins?”

    Interesting idea. Does anything of note stand out while she ran NSS or worked for NASA? I seem to remember she was in the running for a seat on Soyuz to the ISS.

    Rand,

    Since she’s left NASA, I see nothing, publically, that suggests Garver didn’t agree with Goldin’s vision for NASA. Also post NASA, have there been any bold (or minor) announcements about space from her?. Any key appointments to any of the various commissions that are studying/recommending America’s future role in space?

    It’s funny how she’s helping a Democrat formulate a position on space. Democratic party leaders have not been big supporters of civilian or military space projects in general over the past 20 – 30 years. And Democratic Presidents have shown no support. What did Carter and Clinton do in space while they were Presidents?

  • Anonymous

    “I see nothing, publically, that suggests Garver didn’t agree with Goldin’s vision for NASA.”

    Is this a good or bad thing?

    “It’s funny how she’s helping a Democrat formulate a position on space.”

    Why? She used to work for John Glenn, a Democrat, when he was running for President. Her political history is not a secret.

    However, she did appear on the Lehrer NewsHour back when Bush made his speech and she endorsed the new vision for space exploration. You can find that transcript on the Internet.

    “What did Carter and Clinton do in space while they were Presidents?”

    Carter helped save the space shuttle program when it was behind schedule and over-budget (Sidenote: it was not hugely over-budget at the time).

    Clinton approved introducing the Russians to the space station program. This came at a time when the station was at great risk–not only from Clinton himself, but also from Congress. Clinton also significantly slashed NASA’s budget. And he kept Dan Goldin as administrator. Goldin failed to reform the human spaceflight program. However, he made significant reforms to the earth observation and planetary exploration programs.

  • Jim Rohrich

    Rand,
    Comments below.

    “Is this a good or bad thing?”

    Bad thing. Did “faster-better-cheaper” work? It certainly didn’t work for the Space Shuttle or it’s replacement. And it had a mixed track record with robotic exploration (this is a minor issue – failures teach us a lot).

    “Why? She used to work for John Glenn, a Democrat, when he was running for President. Her political history is not a secret.

    However, she did appear on the Lehrer NewsHour back when Bush made his speech and she endorsed the new vision for space exploration. You can find that transcript on the Internet.”

    Did Senator Glenn call for a new vision of space exploration for the U.S. in 1984? At any time over the last 20 years? Has Senator Kerry called for it now?

    “Carter helped save the space shuttle program when it was behind schedule and over-budget (Sidenote: it was not hugely over-budget at the time).

    Clinton approved introducing the Russians to the space station program. This came at a time when the station was at great risk–not only from Clinton himself, but also from Congress. Clinton also significantly slashed NASA’s budget. And he kept Dan Goldin as administrator. Goldin failed to reform the human spaceflight program. However, he made significant reforms to the earth observation and planetary exploration programs.”

    Wasn’t one of the ideas behind the shuttle project to boost SkyLab into a higher orbit? I thought one of the tenets behind building the shuttle was to have someplace to go (the space station). We had one. And SkyLab ended up in pieces in Australia and at the bottom of the south Pacific. I don’t think manned access to space was a priority for President Carter.

    And bringing the Russians on board the ISS accomplished what? Keeping Russian scientists from selling missile technology to third world yahoos? Helping Russian bigwigs build dachas outside Moscow? I agree that getting the Russians on board probably saved ISS, but at that cost, we should of cancelled the program.

    Just an opinion.