Andrew Hoppin announced yesterday that there will a space policy panel at Netroots Nation (formerly Yearly Kos), this July in Austin, Texas. It’s a fairly high-power panel, featuring Lori Garver, former FAA associate administrator for commercial space transportation Patti Grace Smith, and NSS executive director George Whitesides, among others. The panel he writes, is “an opportunity to bring critical space policy issues to light within a potent progressive political constituency—the Netroots—that hasn’t historically paid much attention to space. It is also an opportunity for the Netroots to weigh in on what a new progressive space policy agenda could be under a progressive Administration in 2009.” The formal description of the panel:
NASA is in crisis–overburdened, under-funded, and inefficient. Yet the progressive legacy of space, which dates back to JFK, is being quietly reborn: NASA can reinvent itself as a critical resource in climate change mitigation; the UN and some in the U.S. military are collaborating to prevent space weapons from becoming an arms race with China; progressive “NewSpace” entrepreneurs are creating new domestic high-tech jobs. Before 2009, a new progressive space policy needs to be devised and advocated beyond the traditional space constituencies, to upgrade Bush’s failing space exploration vision. Who better to initiate this work than the Netroots?
I’m not sure I understand the point about the UN and US military collaborating to prevent an arms race in space with China; the US government has insisted that there is no arms race in space, and had thus blocked proposals at the UN and elsewhere for treaties that would explicitly ban space weapons. Also, while they mention the role NewSpace can play, it’s unfortunate Netroots Nation conflicts with NewSpace 2008, the annual Space Frontier Foundation conference.