Campaign '12

Romney campaign issues space policy white paper

So much for a quiet weekend. On Saturday the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney released a space policy white paper. The eight-page document (available on Scribd; it’s listed as a “private document” but you can freely view it at the link or embedded on Romney’s site) is a mix of the campaign’s own views on space policy and criticism of the Obama Administration’s approach to space. That’s best illustrated by two paragraphs in the paper’s introduction, a page bearing Mitt Romney’s signature and today’s date:

Unfortunately, President Obama has failed to deliver a coherent policy for human space exploration and space security. As a result, he has created uncertainty and confusion within U.S. industry and the international community. The President’s disjointed collection of scientific projects lack guiding principles, plausible objectives, or a roadmap for long-run success. They also have left American astronauts to hitch rides into space on Russian spacecraft. America’s capabilities are eroding, and with each passing year will become more difficult to rebuild.

I will reverse this course and set a clear roadmap for space exploration. NASA will retain the intellectual capital to conduct research and to develop new generations of spacecraft for government missions that are not commercially viable, but it will promptly transition out of routine space operations in low Earth orbit as private sector capabilities mature. In improving the competitiveness of U.S. industry, government can play important supporting roles as a steady patron of R&D, an enlightened regulator, and a first buyer or anchor tenant for space goods and services. We will have a space program worthy of a great nation — one that strengthens our national security, builds peaceful engagements with other space-faring nations, and promotes the creation of a growing private sector for space commerce that will make America even stronger in the 21st century.

in the paper, Romney outlines four priorities he would have for space policy if elected, many of which are similar to comments his campaign provided to ScienceDebate earlier this month. One would be to give NASA “clearer priorities”, reiterating previous comments in his ScienceDebate answer that NASA does not require more money. Romney would also place an emphasis on international partnerships by being “clear about the nation’s space objectives and will invite friends and allies to cooperate with America in achieving mutually beneficial goals.” He includes an emphasis on national security space, calling for a “robust” program including “ehe development of capabilities that defend and increase the resilience of space assets,” again paralleling his ScienceDebate comments. A final priority will be to revitalize the space industry; he “will work to ease trade limitations, as appropriate, on foreign sales of U.S. space goods and will work to expand access to new markets.”

The document also includes a specific discussion of commercial space activities. In it, the Romney campaign says NASA will lead the way in human space exploration, but “will look whenever possible to the private sector to provide repeatable space-based services” like cargo and crew transportation to low Earth orbit. The private sector will concentrate on “commercially viable activities — from satellite launches to space tourism to new businesses and industries that U.S. entrepreneurs will no doubt create if provided a friendly environment for doing so.”

The white paper reiterates a proposal that Romney first discussed in Florida in January, that he would bring together experts from various disciplines to develop new goals for NASA. “He will bring together all the stakeholders — from NASA, from the Air Force, from our leading universities, and from commercial enterprises — to set goals, identify missions, and define a pathway forward that is guided, coherent, and worthy of our great nation.’

The document features as much attention to the perceived failings of the Obama Administration’s space policy as its own plans, however. “Over the past four years, the Obama Administration, through poor policy and outright negligence, has badly weakened one of the hallmarks of American leadership and ingenuity — our nation’s space program,” it states. Among its other claims: “For the first time since the dawn of the Space Age, the United States has no clear plan for putting its own astronauts into space.” (Presumably it considers neither Orion and SLS, nor commercial crew efforts, as “clear”; neither are discussed in the document.) The White House is also blamed for cost and schedule problems with national security space programs and for “poor management of programs, its indifference to the industrial base, and the lack of investment in leading edge technological improvements” that have eroded the capabilities of the aerospace industry in the US.

Along with the release of the white paper, the campaign issued statements of support from Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), Rep. Sandy Adams (R-FL), former astronaut Gene Cernan, and Scott Pace, chairman of the Romney Space Policy Advisory Group.

23 comments to Romney campaign issues space policy white paper

  • Coastal Ron

    Wow, a lot to chew on. And in typical Mitt Romney fashion, a lot that he doesn’t say.

    Unfortunately, President Obama has failed to deliver a coherent policy for human space exploration and space security.

    Yes, the goal of visiting an asteroid by 2025, and Mars by 2035 is not specific enough – at least for a politician.

    As to “space security”, yet more unanswered questions from the candidate.

    They [Bush?] also have left American astronauts to hitch rides into space on Russian spacecraft.

    Is he blaming Bush or Obama? Obama has been the one to push the Commercial Crew program, despite Republican resistance in the House (Democrat too, but Mitt is a Republican). We’ll see if this comes up one of the debates, since it’s a clear win for Obama (i.e. public/private partnerships, pushing harder than Bush 43, etc.).

    I will reverse this course and set a clear roadmap for space exploration.

    Without any additional money going to NASA – that spells the end of the SLS for sure. A full-up exploration program utilizing the SLS would require somewhere around $25B/year just for the hardware – and more if you want to operate that hardware for more than a few months (the ISS costs $3B/year to sustain). This must be the part that Michael Griffin contributed… ;-)

    NASA will retain the intellectual capital to conduct research and to develop new generations of spacecraft for government missions that are not commercially viable, but it will promptly transition out of routine space operations in low Earth orbit as private sector capabilities mature.

    In essence, whatever Obama is doing I’m going to do too. Good one Mitt.

    We will have a space program worthy of a great nation…

    … on a shoestring. You lunartics better not get your hopes up.

    …engagements with other space-faring nations…

    … like the ISS that Obama saved…

    …and promotes the creation of a growing private sector for space commerce that will make America even stronger in the 21st century.

    Like the Commercial Cargo & Crew program that Obama has been fighting Congress to fund.

    Is Romney even aware of what we do in space? I’m not too sure.

  • vulture4

    The only definite promise is that Romney will cut the NASA budget.

  • josh

    hilarious. romney’s positions on space are just as confused as on any other given topic. should be fun to hear what windy has to say about this, now that it’s clear that romney would continue commercial crew (*would*, he won’t get elected ofc).

  • adastramike

    “Yes, the goal of visiting an asteroid by 2025, and Mars by 2035 is not specific enough – at least for a politician”

    2025 is almost 12 years from now. Where was the plan to achieve that goal in Obama’s space proposal from 2010? He didn’t want Heavy Lift development until 2015 or so (and if he had gotten his way, do you honestly think such an HLV would have been ready for an asteroid mission?). He wanted to cancel Orion, for all practical purposes the only beyond LEO spacecraft currently in development. So stop that, wait 5 years again, then restart under some other Presidency and expect to still go to an asteroid? Yes, NASA IS simulating asteroid missions using Orion, as it should be doing if we honestly expect them to send humans to an asteroid. But they are simulating it with ORION, not some TBD spacecraft several years from now. Despite the Augustine commission issuing “options”, I believe that Lori Garver is the main one behind this current NASA focus…She just wants a commercial space transportation “industry” so she personally can buy a trip to space. After all she tried and failed before. I’m fine with people wanting to go to space, but not at the expense of a truly inspirational HSF program — which right now only gov’ts can fund. Virgin Galactic can offer trips to space, or XCOR in a few years. And that’s cool…maybe an opportunity for more of us to visit space…

    But…the supposed asteroid mission, in my view, is just a diversion — another “promise” to keep NASA thinking it has a beyond LEO program. How does Obama intend to ensure that his asteroid mission will survive 3 more administrations to completion? As I said, no plan. Some might argue that’s NASA’s job to come up with a plan… Is that happening? If so it hasn’t been communicated to the public very well.

    Whether or not SLS is the right way to go, we need some type of HLV, whether gov’t owned/operated, or commercially owned/operated, to conduct an asteroid mission. We need something like Orion for propulsion, advanced life support, and re-entry. We also need a long-duration habitation module — as far as I know Orion was being designed only for 3 week maximum stays (really just transportation to/from the Moon). How or if it’s being modified for a several months long asteroid mission I don’t know. Even with Obama’s acquiescence to Congress, we still don’t have all the pieces for an asteroid mission.

    In my personal view, the Moon should never have been abandoned as NASA’s next destination. NASA supposedly has several “destinations” planned, according to Bolden. What’s new? Not Mars — been a goal for a long time. OK, an asteroid, instead of the Moon. Lagrange points? What benefit is there sending people to an empty point in space? To learn deep space operations? Well we could have accomplished that with the Moon. To learn how to live orbiting an empty point? Not unless you plan some type of gateway to the rest of the solar system. And only Mars orbit by the mid-2030s? Send 4 people to Mars, and JUST orbit? A once in a lifetime opportunity and we don’t even land? Not even for a month? And where’s the commitment for a sustainable human Mars program? Obama and Bolden seem to think we need more pure “firsts”… Be the first to visit an asteroid…then end it. Be the first to visit Mars (er…just orbit) and likely just end it. They talk of flexible path, how about a sustainable vision for beyond LEO, not simply “commercial” space. Boeing, Lockheed, and others are commercial. The only difference is some rockets and crew/cargo spacecraft to LEO (done 40 years ago) will be commercially owned/operated. Really, the current path is just more diversion to fund someone’s personal goal of creating their path to space…

  • Mark R. Whittington

    The policy paper is a little vague, especially on how the Romney commercial space policy and the Romney space exploration policy will be different from the current one. But it does contain two undeniable truths. Obama has made a mess of things and Romney will do better (if only due to the fact that he can’t do worse.)

  • Gary Warburton

    Stuck in the 1970`s. He doesn`t really understand what`s going on in space these days. People want more space for less money. People want that spark that comes from ingenuity, innovations that come from new ideas that only diversity in individuals can spawn. What people want is reusable launch vehicles that cost less not meanigless glorious platitudes, useless declarations of destinations and vehicles that cost billions. Space will never happen at the rate we want if we continue waste money at the rate we have in the past.

  • DCSCA

    The white paper reiterates a proposal that Romney first discussed in Florida in January, that he would bring together experts from various disciplines to develop new goals for NASA.

    In other words, SOS: “Let’s form a committee.” Which is the last thing NSASA needs again. Might as well call Judy and Mickey to rent a barn and put on a show. This guy’s campaign is approaching entry interface and given his angles of attack– expect it to flare, flame, dinintegrate and disappear sometime in the first week of November, 2012.

    @josh wrote @ September 22nd, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Ain’t it the truth?!!

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mark R. Whittington wrote @ September 23rd, 2012 at 12:01 am
    Obama has made a mess of things and Romney will do better (if only due to the fact that he can’t do worse.)”

    Neither of those things are accurate statements of the current condition.

    To people like you history and the trend of events is a snapshot taken at any one time and then in a mindless sort of fashion you run around saying “this is (either good or bad depending on the political bent you have)”.

    “Change is messy” particularly when the forces of the status quo are deteremined to keep the status quo going no matter if it is working or not.

    So to historical idiots the “change” going on in say Eqypt is “bad”, a “dismal failure” to quote some of the neocon idiots. It is no more good or bad, dismal or spectacular then say the United States in the 1780 or 1862 time period or the 1960′s or well now.

    Had you been around Sept 22 1862 I can just see you saying “well nothing Lincoln said mattered”…all you would smell are the rotting corpses in Maryland and the stench of battle and look at it as if the entire world is falling apart.

    Put history and our future is more then just single snapshots…it is a movie and so far Obama’s space policy is achieving its goals far better then anything Bush43 did. Bush43 and Mike Griffin spent 15 billion dollars on a new vehicle concept and all they got was a lousy 3/4 billion suborbital test of nothing…it was nothing; it was leading to nothing; it was simply a joke.

    Dont look now Mark but the Dragon is about to attempt its second flight to ISS…and on far less money total then Cx spent in a year.

    People like you have a myopic view of history seen through the lenses of you’re politics. You are like the keen minds of the old south (or the political idiots running it now. YOu cannot see past you’re political fears or coloring.

    Like Obama’s space policy or not (and I do) it is doing far more then Bush’s Cx program ever did…it is not only flying but it is changing how space acquisition is done.

    yes Lincoln could have pushed for the 13th amendment 150 years ago yesterday instead of issuing an executive order that was more rhetoric then (at least then) actuality…but it told the holders of the status quo; the historical wheel is turning either get on board or get ground up.

    That is happening now. And you are losing. RGO

  • josh

    “Orion, for all practical purposes the only beyond LEO spacecraft currently in development.”

    stopped reading right there. dragon has beyond leo capability. orion is an obscenely overpriced, underperforming apollo rehash.
    obama set things right and cleared up the mess he inherited from bush/griffin.

  • Coastal Ron

    adastramike wrote @ September 22nd, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    How does Obama intend to ensure that his asteroid mission will survive 3 more administrations to completion?

    Ask Bush 43 how he planned to ensure that Constellation would survive his administration. How’d that work out for him?

    The only way to do that is to have a compelling enough plan that allows it to survive the inevitable cost & schedule issues. The ISS was able to do that, but Constellation was easily cancelled by Congress (Presidents can’t cancel programs of that size).

    Whether or not SLS is the right way to go, we need some type of HLV

    Why? We just built a 450mt space station in LEO using Delta IV Heavy-class launchers, so we don’t lack the ability to build large structures in space.

    And there are no funded designs, factories for SLS-sized payloads, or funding streams for NASA to launch 2-3 SLS-sized missions every year for decades into the future. Who is the customer (or customers) that is supposed to be paying for any of that? The SLS lacks a defined need – people only THINK they need an HLV the size of the SLS.

    In my personal view, the Moon should never have been abandoned as NASA’s next destination.

    The Moon was a previous destination – we’ve been there. Going back to the Moon lacks a compelling “business case” for the American public. Remember, in the 40 years since we last visited the Moon, the public has not been clamoring for a return – only a subset of space enthusiasts.

    If a destination seems to excite the public more than any other, it appears to be Mars, not the Moon. Being able to go to Mars successfully also means we open up a major part of the solar system, whereas hanging around the Moon doesn’t accomplish that.

    The Moon will be revisited. Sooner or later it will become so easy to get to the Moon that American entrepreneurs will be able to afford to build robotic visitors, and not long after than someone will build a crew vehicle. It’s just not on the critical path for moving on Mars.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Gary Warburton wrote @ September 23rd, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Stuck in the 1970`s. He doesn`t really understand what`s going on in space these days. People want more space for less money. People want that spark that comes from ingenuity, innovations that come from new ideas that only diversity in individuals can spawn.”

    well said…have you seen the Grasshopper video? RGO

  • @ adastramike

    “He didn’t want Heavy Lift development until 2015 or so (and if he had gotten his way, do you honestly think such an HLV would have been ready for an asteroid mission?).”

    You assume that an HLV is necessary to that end. Not everyone does. (two words for you as well…orbital assembly.)

    “And only Mars orbit by the mid-2030s? Send 4 people to Mars, and JUST orbit? A once in a lifetime opportunity and we don’t even land? Not even for a month? ”

    Funny, no one whined like that about Apollo 8…

    And remember the 7 Minutes of Terror? Curiosity should, if nothing else, have shown you just how hard those ‘last hundred miles’ to Mars(and back, in the case of manned), really are:

    http://www.universetoday.com/7024/the-mars-landing-approach-getting-large-payloads-to-the-surface-of-the-red-planet/

    http://www.thespaceshow.com/detail.asp?q=1256

    http://www.thespaceshow.com/detail.asp?q=1843

    From orbit, you still have near-real time control of surface assets, including rendezvousing with a sample return lander (also removing crew back-contamination issues, they need not open the sample container)…and two easily landed on moons to keep you busy, in the meantime.

    Not having to have a lander ready for the very first mission also helps keep peak program costs down. This is not Apollo. Such things matter, this time.

    “But…the supposed asteroid mission, in my view, is just a diversion — ”

    So, asteroids have no exploratory (some are already seriously thinking commercial) value in their own right? Take off the blinders, there really *is* more to the solar system than Mars.

    “another “promise” to keep NASA thinking it has a beyond LEO program. How does Obama intend to ensure that his asteroid mission will survive 3 more administrations to completion? ”

    News flash: NO President can ever insure such things. If it takes longer than 8 years (and you even get all 8), you’d better hope that someone who agrees with you, follows you…and also gets a supportive Congress. That’s not just a ‘space’ issue, it has always been that way.

  • Stan

    Could’ve sworn we had enough national security agencies.

  • Gary Warburton

    Yes, RGO and I`d like see more; all taking different approaches.

  • alex wilson

    Ronmey’s space position white paper: Repeat some meaningless platitudes, make vague promises to deliver something, and blame Obama for everything that’s (supposedly) wrong right now.
    Brilliant work, Mitt!

  • GeeSpace

    One of the problems with the Romney campaign is that it lacks specific objectives or goals. It.s proposed space goals is a real example of this.

    Romney will give NASA a mission or goal??. Well, President Obama for better or worse) gave a mission to NASA 2 years ago.

  • libs0n

    “He didn’t want Heavy Lift development until 2015 or so (and if he had gotten his way, do you honestly think such an HLV would have been ready for an asteroid mission?)”

    That’s because:

    1. Monies spent on an HLV prior to 2015 could instead be spent on mission development. It is not like you just build a HLV and bam! you can go to an asteroid and mars, there are many other things that need to be done that are also necessary and require budget and time to develop.

    2. Not all HLV concepts are the same. Some cost less and take less time to bring online. If you wait a bit and then start developing a better HLV concept that costs less and takes less time to develop, you’ve freed up budget money for those other important things to do, and you still get your HLV in the end.

    Let me give you an example of another HLV concept. The Atlas 5 Phase 2 is for all intents and purposes a superior version of the Shuttle C. It can put as much into orbit but also into beyond LEO orbits which the Shuttle C needs a further stage to do, development can be started at any time and the option to build it doesn’t go away, it shares costs with the Air Force launch usage, and it comes from an experienced launch vehicle program group that can develop it on time and on budget.

    What’s more, is that the Atlas 5 Phase 2 was identified by the Augustine commission that informed Obama’s space plans as the most affordable HLV concept, not the Shuttle Derived HLVs. Cost effectiveness matters, because it impacts what you can get out of your limited budget. If Obama picked an HLV in 2011, then it wouldn’t even have been the SDHLV because the SDHLV was the worse of the two concepts.

    But as I explain in the next point, there is no rush to build such a HLV because the missions for it won’t be ready for it if you do. The decision point in 2015 was better matched for when the resultant HLV would be actually used. And if you wait a few years, then you also give time for an even more affordable HLV option to make itself apparent. I’m sure that if a competition for an HLV were held in 2015, or even today, then SpaceX would give ULA a run for its money with a HLV concept of their own.

    3. The missions for an HLV are in the 2020s, not in the immediate future. Even starting a SDHLV in 2011 didn’t gain you any time until then. It is not until the 2020s before SLS launches its first crewed mission, a few years after that before any actual payload missions take place. Starting a SDHLV in 2011 instead of another HLV in 2015 didn’t buy you any improvement in time, in fact it lengthened that wait because a bad SDHLV concept was forced on us and now we have to live with it and the mediocre plans to utilize it because it gobbled up all the money.

    4. A giant HLV might not be the best way to go, and not rushing to lock in such an HLV program gives you time to consider your options. It’s 2012 now, not 2010, and what seems to you the better path for NASA space exploration:

    a)Spending another decade and tens of billions of dollars to get the SLS and just the SLS.
    b)Base an exploration architecture around the Falcon Heavy because nothing NASA builds is ever going to be more affordable than that, and start building missions now. Note with this option you don’t have to spend a dime on launchers until you have things to launch, it can all go to mission development.

    Without even knowing about it beforehand, just by waiting to make a better decision, in 2015 you would have had a launch or two of the Falcon Heavy under the belt, and could consider that maybe spending so much on launch development isn’t the best idea when we have a perfectly good rocket, the most affordable ever made, and we can just use it to do space exploration and base an exploration program on that.

    ***

    In summary, there are reasons why rushing to build a HLV, and a SDHLV at that, was a much worse decision than waiting a few years to select an HLV and doing other necessary things in the interim.

    Taking that wrong path makes the resulting exploration program expensive and mediocre as we have to live with the impact the wrong choices have on the outcome.

  • Curtis Quick

    libs0n wrote @ September 23rd, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    very well stated.

    If NASA never built another launch vehicle, they could be the first to get people to the Moon, Mars, Asteroids, etc, wherever. NASA should spend billions on missions of exploration, not on launch vehicle development and operation. There will be plenty of affordable BEO launch options in the years to come, but those options will not result in any NASA missions of exploration if NASA wastes all its tax payer dollars on launch system development. SLS is the worst thing that can happen to a space program because it means the end of it. Not only will SLS fail, but it could very well take down NASA and the US manned space program with it.

  • Dark Blue Nine

    Several observations:

    1) If political campaigns release bad news on Fridays so that the press doesn’t cover it (e.g., Romney’s tax returns), then what does the Saturday release of the Romney campaign’s space policy white paper say about that document?

    2) The Obama Administration removes lunar return as a human space flight priority — “been there, done that” — at Obama’s KSC speech in April 2010. The Romney campaign removes lunar return as a human space flight priority — “‘colony on the moon…’You’re fired,’” — during the Florida primaries in January 2012.

    The Obama Administration makes commercial cargo and crew transport a cornerstone of its space policy in the President’s FY 2011 Budget Request for NASA in February 2010. The Romney campaign makes commercial cargo and crew transport a cornerstone of its space policy in a white paper in September 2012.

    The Obama Administration keeps NASA’s budgets flat. The Romney Administration promises no new money for NASA.

    What’s the difference? If there is none, why bother releasing a white paper?

    Don’t the staffers reviewing this document for the Romney campaign know that they’re suppossed to differentiate their candidate from his opponent, not endorse the opponent’s policies and viewpoints?

    I wouldn’t let these folks run a campaign for high school class president.

    3) It really took three former White House staffers, a former NASA Administrator, two former astronauts, a CEO, and a university professor to write a document that, at best, says nothing specific about what a Romney Administration would do in the space sector and, at worst, endorses the Obama Administration’s positions? Really?

    These guys have been working on this paper for how many months? Really?

    God help us if Romney wins and puts these guys in charge. We’ll do nothing in space for the next 4-8 years.

    Cripes…

  • @libson
    You are smack on target. A well said and extremely cogent explanation of what a bum deal SLS is.

  • common sense

    @ Dark Blue Nine wrote @ September 24th, 2012 at 12:34 am

    “God help us if Romney wins and puts these guys in charge. We’ll do nothing in space for the next 4-8 years.”

    What does it say about everything else he wants to do for the US? Considering how simple space actually is!

    But I am afraid that were we to elect Romney then God might just find something else to do for the next 4 years…

  • Googaw

    Romney’s invocation of space security as an open political issue is extremely intriguing and should be generative of some very interesting, if controversial, ideas. One of them is the White Fleet idea I have discussed on the “Ryan & NASA’s mission” thread.

    Here’s another: EML2 would make a dandy parking spot for spare military satellites. Should an enemy damage or destroy communications, intelligence, and/or navigation satellites in their earth orbit(s) — a threat DoD increasingly worries about — we’d need to replace them quickly with spares.

    One possibility is to keep Atlases or similar with such spares on board, or nearly so, ready to launch on demand — an expensive proposition and vulnerable to sabotage.

    Another option: store spare satellites behind the moon, in tight EML2 halo orbits, where they would be protected from EMP or other energy weapons directed from earth or low earth orbits.

    No astronauts needed, of course, nor need for any permanent infrastructure, although I don’t doubt the cult crazies can twist it into another nutty excuse to build their gigashrines. But it is an interesting and potentially very important use of our heavenly halos for profane purposes.

    The stored satellites would be attached or docked when needed to upper stages which would be used when a spare is needed it to move it out of EML2 and to its operational earth orbit. These stages would have to store extra propellant on board over long periods. So either ample storable propellants would have to be included on these stages, or we’d have some research to do — figuring out long-term storage of cryogenic SEP propellants, or even more interesting figuring out a storable (non-cryogenic) propellant for SEP.

  • Googaw

    We’d also want some capability to at least detect any unauthorized spacecraft en route to EML2, or to other high strategic orbits such as GEO, which might be potentially hostile and possibly with capability to damage or destroy satellites or spares in those orbits. Ideally such mines should be intercepted and destroyed before they arrive in the strategic orbit.

    Detection is mostly a straightforward extension of our current space awareness capabiltities. It might also be possible to use x-ray spectroscopy, seismography, and/or other methods with non-cooperatively docked instruments to robotically inspect any suspicious spacecraft in or en route to most high earth orbits.

    We might also have launch pad inspection regimes and ban the launching of payloads that have an ability to enter a restricted orbit and that have not undergone an inspection for hostile weaponry. Spacecraft headed to high earth orbits in violation of these regimes might be disabled or destroyed.

    We’d be reforming EML2 (and perhaps even, much more controversially, GEO) into treaty territories accessible only to ourselves and select allies, making it (or them) off-limits to all powers that did not agree to abide by such inspection regimes.

    Note that ITU is a civilian precedent for treaties allocating space regions and related resources among various parties. A wide variety of strategic orbits might be subject to similar reforms. But these inspection and spare regimes would have on-site teeth: they’d be security treaties, superceding any obsolete treaties that might be deemed to contradict them. And the treaty powers contributing the military teeth would also have far more control over these treaty territories, and other powers far less. The treaties could also lay down constitution-like rules for their civilian use, such as property rights, consistent with the inspection regimes. Orbital anarchy would be ended and our communications, intelligence, and navigation assets made secure.

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