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Bush Reveals New Space Policy 510

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the go-there-get-stuff-come-back dept.
Josh Fink writes "Space.com is reporting that President Bush has unveiled his new space policy. From the article: 'U.S. assets must be unhindered in carrying out their space duties,' the Bush space policy says, stressing that 'freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power.'... As a civil space guideline, the policy calls upon NASA to 'execute a sustained and affordable human and robotic program of space exploration and develop, acquire, and use civil space systems to advance fundamental scientific knowledge of our Earth system, solar system, and universe.' While this policy does seem to push for more civil involvement in space for exploration and research, the article does go on to say, 'The policy calls upon the Secretary of Defense to "develop capabilities, plans, and options to ensure freedom of action in space, and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries."' So it will push into the intelligence community, and will supercede a similar policy from 1996. You can read the entire policy."
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Bush Reveals New Space Policy

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  • Nuclear Propulsion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday October 09, 2006 @10:33AM (#16363903) Homepage Journal
    There's one part of the policy I found particularly interesting:
    The United States will oppose the development of new legal regimes or other restrictions that seek to prohibit or limit U.S. access to or use of space. Proposed arms control agreements or restrictions must not impair the rights of the United States to conduct research, development, testing, and operations or other activities in space for U.S. national interests.

    Can you say, "Nuclear Space Drive"? :D

    Bush's policy effectively states that the usage of nuclear power as engines of exploration is considered to take priority over any over-reaching treaties that ban nuclear power for the purposes of weaponry. Which means that the United States would consider a treaty like the 1963 Test Ban Treaty [wikipedia.org] (the one that effectively killed the Orion [wikipedia.org]) to not apply to space propulsion. Which, IMHO, can only be a good thing in the modern day world.

    Any concerns over the environmental effects of launch are much more effectively handled by environmental groups rather than treaties designed with weapons in mind rather than actual fall-out issues. If they have a realistic concern, then the public will have an opportunity to evaluate that concern, and either take action or reject it. (The latter happening with the Cassini-Huygens [wikipedia.org] environmental protest.)
    • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday October 09, 2006 @10:48AM (#16364095) Homepage Journal
      Oh, yeah, Bush throwing away the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty like he did the Geneva Conventions "can only be a good thing in the modern day world".

      On a day when everyone's freaking out because Bush let the N Koreans go nuclear, you think more nukes, in space, "can only be a good thing"?

      Run by Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon? The Rumsfeld who's lobbying to throw away the "antiquated" US government structure [washingtonpost.com] that makes the president less than an emperor.

      Can you say "Global Thermonuclear War"? Can you say anything other than "oooh, nuclear space drive", or look away from your monitor at the real world?
      • Space-based MIRVs.

        It's like Missle Command. With a self-denying alcoholic on the rampage.
        • The uber-narcissistic Bush administration is terrified of one of the most exciting potential benefits of space research, its potential of making human beings realize just how alike we are and how precious the Earth is for our species survival, and so they hope to militarize space research and exploration to prevent its powerful, unifying effect on humanity. This kind of thinking has the potential to hurt the US tremendously because the rest of the world will cooperate on space research despite us, setting
          • a disease:

            See Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) :
            How to Recognize a Narcissist

            at this URL

            http://www.halcyon.com/jmashmun/npd/index.html [halcyon.com]

            We all have to deal with difficult people. Some days we can be pretty difficult ourselves. Recognizing the difference between normal difficulties and personality disorders can be crucial to decisions about entering new relationships and continuing existing relationships.

            The material on Narcissistic Personality Disorder that is published for lay readers is not very info
      • by MECC (8478) *
        Nuke them from orbit. Its the only way to be sure.

      • by EatHam (597465)
        Of course. That makes a lot of sense given that we are likely to go from nothing to a fully functioning nuclear armed star ship while Bush is still in office.
      • by zxnos (813588)
        On a day when everyone's freaking out because Bush let the N Koreans go nuclear

        what? bush let that happen? what about the international community? the u.n.? last time bush did anything without their explicit permission he got ragged on for that. what should he have done? i would like to know since you appear to be so much smarter than the rest of the world. then i can vote for you as president and you can do your magic.

        • by Amazing Quantum Man (458715) on Monday October 09, 2006 @11:48AM (#16364961) Homepage
          I dislike Bush as much as the next guy, and believe he should be impeached (not for the Iraq war, but for violations of his oath to uphold and defend the Constitution), but in this case, zxnos is right.

          With NK, Bush did everything that his opponents claim he should have done in Iraq. He didn't invade, he tried to let sanctions work, he worked with other countries. In particular the US has no direct influence over NK, they're a client of China. Bush tried to get China to deal with it.

          What would you guys have had him do? Invade?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Mister Whirly (964219)
            Well, for a start he could have NOT tied up a large chunk of our military in a country with NO NUCLEAR THREAT AT ALL. Or he could have offered them other economic incentives to back off on the nuclear power, instead of threating them. For as rich of a country the US is, we give out very little monetary humanitarian aid to other countries. This is part of the reason other countries of the world don't have the same rosy outlook of the US as Bush/Rummy do...

            Hell even in his own country 2/3 of the people think
          • by cowscows (103644) on Monday October 09, 2006 @02:36PM (#16367537) Journal
            He tried to get China to deal with it because he was too incompetent to do it himself. NK wanted direct talks with the US. They didn't want to go through China. NK is worried about the US undermining their government, they're not concerned about China.

            The Bush administration's big idea on NK was to cut off any sort of aid and diplomacy, and try and get everyone else to do the same. The misguided hope is that that would cause the government to collapse. The problem is that during the Clinton administration, the US as well as China and especially South Korea had been involved in detailed, complex, and relatively cordial negotiations.

            The way diplomacy generally works is that the leaders make big proclamations and empty threats and whatnot, and then other people work hard behind the scenes to establish a compromise where things get settled peacefully, and neither side ends up looking like they lost. After Clinton left office, North Korea kept playing that game, because that's how politics work. Bush, however, was disinterested in playing that game (for a number of reasons). And so while the rhetoric was increasing as it always was, there was no effort put forth by the US to actually solve any of the issues. Both sides painted themselves into a corner, and this time no escape plan was hammered out.

            The only difference is that NK's corner had a little ledge they could climb out on, it just involved actually testing a nuke. The US is still stuck in its corner, and even if there was a way out, it's doubtful that Bush would take it, it's just not the way his mind works. His administration views any sort of compromise as defeat, no matter who the opponent, or how high the stakes.
    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday October 09, 2006 @10:50AM (#16364139) Homepage Journal
      "Any concerns over the environmental effects of launch are much more effectively handled by environmental groups rather than treaties"
      No not really.
      The environmental groups protest everything with involving the "n word".
      It is almost to the point that they are the boy that cried wolf.
      I fear that if a project has any real danger involved that they will be ignored as they have been for all the launches where they where just being silly.
      I would rather have the treaties. I actually do trust the experts more than people the environmental groups.
      • The point is that the treaties were not written by 'experts' in the sense you mean. They were written to stop nuclear proliferation -- a 'good thing' of course -- but had the unintentional result of stopping research on nuclear propulsion systems. Despite the hysterical comments from the ignorant, the original poster's point was that the treaties were not written with nuclear propulsion in mind, and should not be applied to stop such research. This is not about weapons -- Bush isn't (at least here) abrog
      • he's ignoring them (Score:3, Insightful)

        by oohshiny (998054)
        I would rather have the treaties. I actually do trust the experts more than people the environmental groups.

        We have treaties. They say that Bush shouldn't do what he is doing. They have one problem: they are international, and, of course, Bush feels under no obligation to observe international treaties since, after all, those people didn't elect him and he can drum up enough xenophobia to support breaking the treaties. So, treaties don't control Bush or what the US is doing.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 09, 2006 @11:08AM (#16364397)
      "Can you say, "Nuclear Space Drive"? :D"

      Sure I can, but I'm not sure the President can manage it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by elrous0 (869638) *
        I'd be willing to bet $10 he couldn't pronounce it, $1,000 he couldn't describe it, and $1,000,000 that nothing will ever come of it anyway.

        -Eric

    • What part of "new legal regimes" and "proposed arms control agreements" don't you understand?
  • by xENoLocO (773565) * on Monday October 09, 2006 @10:33AM (#16363907) Homepage
    ...that Bush is, in fact, a space cadet.

    (Oh come on you knew it was coming)
  • by Neuropol (665537) * on Monday October 09, 2006 @10:35AM (#16363923) Homepage
    Because not two months ago, he wanted to shut down the ISS missions because they were estimated to cost $200M.

    Isn't that like one tenth of what we blow on a war ... weekly?

    Mod this to oblivion, regardless of what positive action he takes, I still don't like him.
    • Because not two months ago, he wanted to shut down the ISS missions because they were estimated to cost $200M.

      You might be surprised, but a lot of space advocates would agree with this. The ISS, for all it's design and hardware, is a useless space station that can only be serviced properly by the Space Shuttle. Had compromises not been made earlier, the station would be worth holding on to. But as it is right now, the station sits in an orbit that's incredibly hard to reach, cannot be used as a lunar launching point, and isn't even all that spectacular for scientific endeavours.

      A much more useful future would be to take that $200M per mission, and spend it on lots and lots of inexpensive, inflatible space stations [bigelowaerospace.com]. These stations could provide all the facilities of the ISS, but at a lower cost of launch and operation. If a particular station outlives its usefulness, a new one could be launched rather than trying to maintain aging hardware.

      The ability to spread our resources across multiple stations would also mean that we could put Space Stations where-ever they're useful. Need one to support moon missions? Done. Need a different orbit to support Mars missions? Done. Need a temporary construction yard for a spaceship? Done.

      Those options simply don't exist with the current station. So believe it or not, there may be some method to Bush's seeming madness about space.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by QuickFox (311231)
        there may be some method to Bush's seeming madness

        Come on, try to be be realistic.
      • by joeljkp (254783)
        Of course, you can't just say "Oh, well let's just send up some inflatable space stations and call it a day!" These things are an interesting idea, but they haven't been flown, tested, validated, etc. It was only this year that Bigelow sent up its first test modules, while the ISS was conceived in the late 80s-early 90s, in the age of Mir. The ISS attempted to improve and extend upon traditional space station ideas, not create a revolutionary breakthrough in station technology or design.

        So in conclusion, in
        • It was only this year that Bigelow sent up its first test modules, while the ISS was conceived in the late 80s-early 90s, in the age of Mir.

          You have exactly 22 days to pay for your stuff to fly before the "real thing" goes up. Get moving! ;)

          One of the great things about the private sector is that it tends to move a lot faster than the government. Which means that a space station gets completed in-line with the actual development time rather than in government politicking time. So NASA should be able to purc

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jartan (219704)

      Because not two months ago, he wanted to shut down the ISS missions because they were estimated to cost $200M.

      Anyone truely interested in the exploration of space should be desperate to see NASA shut down. I don't like him either but it's hardly a useful dig to complain about closing down the orbiting money toilet known as ISS. The fact is every penny Nasa gets should be spent on research and engineering to replace the shuttle with something far cheaper to launch.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sloppy (14984)

      You have to keep in mind that a president is not just a civilian leader; he's a military one too. It is a military commander-in-chief's duty to do certain things, and funding ISS is not one of them. Securing the ability to do other things and deny them to adversaries, is. A military commander-in-chief should try to make sure he'll have satellite surveillance, GPS guidance, and other applications when he needs it.

      Does ISS have military applications? Maybe so, but the letter "I" in the acronym makes me d

  • Space Race 2.0 (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lave (958216) * on Monday October 09, 2006 @10:35AM (#16363925)
    So they need to "ensure freedom of action in space, and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries" days after the US admits that china "beamed a ground-based laser at U.S. spy satellites over its territory." (from: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2006-10-05-satel lite-laser_x.htm?POE=TECISVA [usatoday.com].)

    So it seems the Space Arms Race is begining afresh. We just have to hope that the technology it produces outweighs the destruction.

    • by dsanfte (443781)
      Let it happen already. I am sick of this lazy little waiting game.

      A lack of open hostilities is not peace. And anyway, what will we get? A few damaged satellites? Oh, the humanity, the destruction...
    • by Morgaine (4316) on Monday October 09, 2006 @11:17AM (#16364515)
      "ensure freedom of action in space, and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries"
       

      ... means "ensure only we have freedom of action in space"

      ... which means "no freedom of action in space".

      That's pretty much what we'd expect from that source, but it doesn't make it any better.

      Surely there should be some sort of Logic Advisor sitting next to the President's speech writers. I don't imagine that he wants to look evil and dishonest in front of a world audience well versed in elementary logic.

      • by Shihar (153932) on Monday October 09, 2006 @12:42PM (#16365673)
        Try using the whole quote.

        "develop capabilities, plans, and options to ensure freedom of action in space, and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries"

        This is what the government SHOULD be doing. Defense agencies should always be "developing capabilities, plans, and options" for every single possible threat. That doesn't mean we need to build a space cruiser, but that does mean that having a plan to build one is not a bad idea. Hell, having a plan to invade Canada on hand is a good idea. Expecting and being prepared for the unexpected is what intelligence and defense agencies are there for.

        I very much want my government to have a plan to deny space to whomever might need space denied to them. Sure, there are no enemies right now that demand such a wasteful and expensive capability, but it does not take a lot of imagination to envision a future where it might be prudent. Russia is one government change away from getting a hardline nationalist who feels nostalgic about the Cold War. China is one tiny democratic island (Taiwan) away from all out war with the US. North Korea... well fuck... who knows what they are thinking, but having something that can knock down their ICBMs on the drawing board is not a bad idea.

        Look, I would agree that this is an overreaction if it said, "Make me some god damn space battle cruisers! Muhahahahaha!" But it doesn't. It directs that the government should plan to conduct military operations in space because it isn't an insane fear that some day in an unforeseen future those plans might be needed.
        • by lawpoop (604919) on Monday October 09, 2006 @09:13PM (#16373009) Homepage Journal
          This needs to be examined in the larger context.

          Of course the military has a plan for invading Canada. You are right -- they have a plan for everything, just like every other military in the world. But Bush isn't giving instructions to the military via public speeches. He isn't reassuring the people of the US.

          Bush' speech is addressed to the world. When he gets up and gives a speech to the press, his audience is the world's governments. When he explicitly says that the US is going to develop military capability to deny other countries' freedom in space, that is a defacto threat. "Don't get any ideas, or will blow your shit out of the sky".

          The world governments are all well aware that the US has a military plan for every eventuality. They don't need to be reminded of it. When Bush comes out and explicitly says it in a speech about what the US is going to do in space, he is making a threat.

          Don't be naive. Bush is declaring that the US controls space.
      • by Shadowlore (10860) on Monday October 09, 2006 @12:51PM (#16365793) Journal

        "ensure freedom of action in space, and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries" ... means "ensure only we have freedom of action in space" ... which means "no freedom of action in space".

        That's pretty much what we'd expect from that source, but it doesn't make it any better.

        Surely there should be some sort of Logic Advisor sitting next to the President's speech writers. I don't imagine that he wants to look evil and dishonest in front of a world audience well versed in elementary logic.


        Seems you could use the Advisor. Jet fighters and anti-aircraft missiles, guns and artillery are all means to deny an adversary freedom of movement in the air. Yet would you claim you do not have freedom of movement in the Terrestrial Atmosphere because of them and their potential use against you?

        You have conflated the ability to take out enemy targets with the complete elimination of the ability for the targets to peacefully exist otherwise. You have conflated a temporary action with a full-time one. You have thus committed a logical fallacy - in the process of trying to impugne another's ability in logic. You have further assumed that the President wrote that document. A fallacious assumption I am certain.

        Logic is not a form of universal truth, it is a means of confirming that a given conclusion is an accurate conclusion based on the premises presented, and nothing more. The premises can be false, but the conclusion could still be logical.

        In the argument you failed to logically analyzed we have the following:

        Argument 1:
        Premise 1: Freedom of action in space is important
        Premise 2: Freedom of action in space is important to the US and it's interests
        Conclusion 1: The US should have freedom of action in space

        Argument 2:
        Premise 1: The US (and US interests') should have freedom of action in space
        Premise 2: Other entities may strive to prevent or hinder US (and US interests') action in space
        Premise 3: Threats to US freedom action in space will involve non-US utilization of action in space
        Conclusion: The US needs to be able to deny such action in space in order to protect it's freedom of action in space

        The above arugments, premises, and conclusions do not logically lead to the "There will be no freedom of action in space". Your argument that they do is unsupported and erroneous, not to mention fallacious. To demonstrate further, change the word space to the word sea, or to air, or to land.

        Furthermore, you assertion that the speech writers need a logic advisor is also erroneous. This wasn't a speech, it was/is a document not designed to be read aloud by the President. Surely you should have a reality advisor as well as a logic advisor sitting next to you. I don't imagine you want to look dumb in front of the world of well-versed, informed, and logical slashdot readers. ;^)

    • by BeeBeard (999187) on Monday October 09, 2006 @11:23AM (#16364603)
      Since WW II, the U.S. has loomed as the most militarily and economically powerful nation in the world. Now China is making a bid to become a hegemony of its own. This is a Good Thing [tm].

      Superior might through superior technology has always been the mantra of developed nations. Consequently, the U.S. experienced huge gains over the last few decades due to (perceived) competition with the Russians. Like it or not, most of the best technologies we have were originally purposed for military applications, financed through the Pentagon system, and then gradually re-purposed for civilian use (the Internet being a great example of this). This has always been the silver lining.

      It would be melodramatic to claim that the U.S. is on the brink of another Cold War, this time with the Chinese. However, "friendly" competition with China will help the space program, it will help Silicon Valley--it will help the United States in any area in which there is a perceived technological deficiency.

      We stand to gain so much if we're not all blown to bits first.
  • ... space ain't
  • Is this possible? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by grims (602269)
    Ive had this question in my mind since a loong time, but is it possible legally for any one country to claim things in space as part of their country?

    For example can the US claim the Moon or Mars (in future) just because they landed their countrymen on the body, and planted some flags?
    Are there any legal guidelines for this?
    • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday October 09, 2006 @10:56AM (#16364231) Homepage Journal
      What you want is the 1967 Outer Space Treaty [wikipedia.org]. It's an agreement between the major super-powers that no Earthly country will own celestial bodies, and that these places exist for the exploration of all mankind.

      I expect that this treaty would be modified once space colonies become common (a country, corporation, or individual would obviously "own" the property on which its Space Habitats reside, as it "owns" those habitats), but that's a matter that will be worked out when that bridge is crossed.

      FWIW, historical property laws do offer some guidance. The original property laws provided complete ownership for everything below a property, and all the sky above a property. These laws have been modified as new technologies like airplanes and spacecraft made the skies above open space, and subways, power, and gas made the areas below into necessary points of infrastructure.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        What you want is the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. It's an agreement between the major super-powers that no Earthly country will own celestial bodies, and that these places exist for the exploration of all mankind.

        Such a treaty will be a dead letter the moment there is something worth owning in space that someone also has the ability to "own" in the meaningful sense of being able to physically possess, exploit to their advantage and, possibly, defend against anyone else's interference. We'll work out some tre
    • by Jartan (219704) on Monday October 09, 2006 @10:59AM (#16364279)
      Where do people get the idea that something like international laws actually exist? If a country decides to do something they'll just rewrite their own laws to allow it. If someone decides to ignore the UN or what not then it's not "illegal".

      The only real question is whether or not they can actually back up such a claim in a way that will make other countries go along with it.
    • Ive had this question in my mind since a loong time, but is it possible legally for any one country to claim things in space as part of their country?

      This is kind of a silly question, but a revealing one. Citizens of a nation are subject to the laws of that nation pretty unambiguously. No matter what you want to do, your actions can be held against a codified standard of conduct and found to be legal or illegal. But this is precisely because an individual citizen is without question subject to the rules
      • Nations, however, are not analogous to citizens. There is no international gov't that all nations are subject to. There's no universal, international authority. The U.N. lacks both the philosophical, legal, and military credibility to serve that role and there are no other close competitors. So, without a meta-national institution to make laws to govern nations, there's really no such thing as international law that all nations are subject to.

        This is completely wrong. There are international treaties, wh

    • They can claim all they want, but it's useless if they don't have the means to defend their territory. So the US can own the Moon, Mars, etc if it feels like making the claim (and defending it)
    • by gsn (989808)
      Enough posters have pointed out that the 1967 Outer Space Treaty prevents countries from claiming things in space as part of their country.

      SHOULD any country be allowed to claim things in space as part of their country??
      Plenty of people have said the treaty will be scrapped when we start to see more colonies and space statations.
      Should these by aligned with a country at all? What if a private company developed the entire colony/space station - do they claim it and get to enforce their own laws on it?

      My opin
    • by mspohr (589790)
      There was an interesting story on NPR yesterday about a sweet couple in Great Britain who were selling one acre plots of land on the moon for 20 pounds. They apparently have so far pulled in about 8 million doing this. They claim it is legal since the international space treaty prohibits countries from claiming space objects as their territory but doesn't prohibit individuals from claiming space objects. (They also have land for sale on Mars.)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Totally off topic, but is that STUPID IBM AD breaking slashdot for anyone else? It's taking me to a new window where only the ad exists.
  • jesus. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Broken scope (973885) on Monday October 09, 2006 @10:47AM (#16364079) Homepage
    Wow, we can't discuss the article and what good could come of it, we ahve to immediatly start politician bashing. Hey lets just stop submiting articles to /. instead why don't we just put a article on the front page that says "George W. Bush. DISCUSS!"

    We would get rid of all these useless interesting topics about technology and we could all just bitch with reckless abandon about our favorite politician.

    I mean FUCKING HELL. If any other president had said this most of you asshats would be having fucking orgasam on the spot.
    • Re:jesus. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Overzeetop (214511) on Monday October 09, 2006 @11:14AM (#16364471) Journal
      It is because of the way he said it, for one thing.

      FTFS: develop capabilities, plans, and options to ensure freedom of action in space, and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries.

      He was doing pretty well up to that point, assuming that you ignore the fact that he's spent all of our money performing escalatio on the Iraqi insurgency.

      What I read was "I want to jumpstart the manned space program, even though we don't have any money to do so, because it's such a feelgood topic to bring up right before the election. Also, I'd like to make sure we spend a good bit of money on space weaponry, because we just might have to saddle up to dispense some justice should someone we don't like start muscling in on this whole 'outer space' thing we've got going."

      Its disingenuous to propose a large increase in manned space (high $$$, high popularity, low science) when the budget deficit is so large. It also runs counter to most of the non-military goals of space exploration to talk about engaging in warfare in orbit. Those of us who have memories longer than a year or two remember his goal to get to Mars, but have yet to see the $2T line item in the budget for such an undertaking. Hey George, Show Me The Money.

      • Q: You know what's REALLY easy to do?
        A: Take things out of context so as to change the meaning.

        If you read the complete document, you will fins that the section you quoted reads:

        The United States considers space capabilities -- including the ground and space segments and supporting links -- vital to its national interests. Consistent with this policy, the Unites States will: preserve its rights, capabilities, and freedom of action in space; dissuade or deter others from either impeding those rights or devel

        • You're missing the point (though you will certainly accuse me of the same). The context makes no particular difference in my mind - the intent has not changed. GWB would like to militarize space, rather than dealing with the issues on the ground. It's not the natural saber rattling that bothers me so much as the direct intent to move this conflict between "us" and "them" to orbit.
    • You are so right. The reason we pick on Bush is because we don't like the way he talks. Some of us don't even like the way he looks. It's not his policies at all, which have been perfect, and reasonable, and have provided for the safety, prosperity, and continued freedom of the citizens of the United States, and the stability of the world in general.

      Our bitching about Bush is, in fact, based on the dislike of him doing a better job than Clinton or Nixon. As President, Bush has shown exceptional judgment and
    • by QuickFox (311231)
      why don't we just put a article on the front page that says "George W. Bush. DISCUSS!"

      Impossible. That would be pure flamebait.
  • Great. So now even the exploration of space has been redefined as a national security issue. Cue fat budgets for space lasers, Son of Star Wars and other such nonsense, in case Al-Qaeda acquire a space shuttle from North Korea. (Or something.)

    • by ScentCone (795499)
      So now even the exploration of space has been redefined as a national security issue.

      What do you mean "redefined?" It always has been. Did you think that Kennedy's boosting of the program was all about the pure science for the sake of science? That was politics and defense first, scientific frosting on the cake second.

      "Exploration" of space may not be a security thing, but use of space sure as hell will continue to be, just as it has been for decades.
    • by Jartan (219704)

      Great. So now even the exploration of space has been redefined as a national security issue. Cue fat budgets for space lasers, Son of Star Wars and other such nonsense, in case Al-Qaeda acquire a space shuttle from North Korea. (Or something.)

      It's probably always been a "security" issue in the eyes of many govt offices. We went to the moon in 1969 and yet here we are in 2006 and we're using ancient technology like the space shuttle.

      I wouldn't be suprised if the military hasn't been pulling the wool (wool b

  • Trust Bush (Score:5, Funny)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday October 09, 2006 @10:51AM (#16364147) Homepage Journal
    I'm glad Bush proved he can be trusted with our space program. He perfected the Space Shuttle (by grounding it for years, now headed for termination). He put an American on Mars, just like his father promised when in political trouble a decade and a half ago. He's making sure other countries don't take American nuclear expansion as a signal to proliferate their own nukes, like in N Korea, Iran, India.

    Yes, by all means trust this sober, reasonable man of science with an expensive program to put nukes in space. After he rebuilt New Orleans around the Space Shuttle fueltank factory, everyone there will gladly tell us that he can do anything he sets his mind to.
    • He didn't ground it, NASA did. He just killed it and seems to be sticking to his guns on that one. For that I will cheer on his "vision" for space exploration.

      It finally means we are not bound to a billion dollar baby, something that has been sucking the life out of NASA since the 80s. Maybe if launches didn't cost so much we might actually put more up there???

      I know you were being sarcastic but the point remains, no one would kill it before and there were just as many reasons to do so before. Now at le
  • An excerpt from http://bostonreview.net/BR28.5/chomsky.html [bostonreview.net]

    The Space Command released plans to go beyond U.S. "control" of space for military purposes to "ownership," which is to be permanent, in accord with the Security Strategy. Ownership of space is "key to our nation's military effectiveness," permitting "instant engagement anywhere in the world. . . . A viable prompt global strike capability, whether nuclear or non-nuclear, will allow the United States to rapidly strike high-payoff, difficult-to-defe

  • by Mayhem178 (920970) on Monday October 09, 2006 @10:53AM (#16364181)
    Here's my plan. Let's leave the planet in two groups, split by who can get along with each other. One of us will go and form the 12 Colonies and be prosperous. The other will disappear into legend and create the 13th Colony. Sound good to everyone? I think I'll go with the 12 Colonies group.

    And by the way, I've got this great idea for a cybernetic AI construct to make our lives in the Colonies easier.....
  • by dubiousdave (618128) * <dubiousdave@gmail.com> on Monday October 09, 2006 @10:55AM (#16364211) Journal
    "The policy calls upon the Secretary of Defense to..."


    Great. I think I can imagine Rummy's plans to improve space exploration. He'll take NASA's crew recommendations and cut them in half, send only enough fuel to get there, but not back, and ditch all the unnecessaries like food and water. It will be a leaner, more mobile space force.

  • "develop capabilities, plans, and options to ensure freedom of action in space" means defense.
    "and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries" means attack capability.

    I personally don't like the "attack" part as it leads to a space arms race and the militarisation of space.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by xoolon (943215)
      All fits in with the Project for the New American Century [wikipedia.org] (PNAC [newamericancentury.org]), set up and backed by most of the US administration's neo-conservatives.

      "The PNAC also proposes to control the new 'international commons' of space and 'cyberspace' and pave the way for the creation of a new military service -- U.S. Space Forces -- with the mission of space control."

  • Oh brother (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jav1231 (539129)
    Bush could advocate an end to the DMCA, banning DRM, and making OSS manditory in all government entities and people on slashdot would STILL bitch. The only debate this article should be sparking on slashdot is between the "let's do all we can to explore space" crowd and the "we should be spending this money on my favorite agenda" crowd. Shit, people, get a hobby.
  • by airuck (300354) on Monday October 09, 2006 @11:01AM (#16364315)
    What a surprise. A recent leak [defensenews.com] about US satellites being blinded by Chinese lasers and now a more military flavor to the US space program.
  • Bush probably has an ulterior motive. He'll put all the terrorists and Democrats into space on a colony ship destined for deep space. Perhaps he'll name the ship "Botany Bay."

    This is a war on Terra.
  • by hey! (33014) on Monday October 09, 2006 @11:08AM (#16364391) Homepage Journal
    Mostly this sounds like a routine release of non-substantive policy boilerplate, except for this:


    The policy calls upon the Secretary of Defense to "develop capabilities, plans, and options to ensure freedom of action in space, and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries."


    Maybe reaction to last month's laser incident with China?

    Access to space is like access to international waters -- if anything there is greater need to secure space from territorial claims than international waters. By claiming sovereigny over space above the 100km mark, a nation in effect denies access to space to every other country, since every satellite not in geosynchronous orbit above yourland mass would violate your "territorial space".

    What China did was in one sense just an aggressive extension of the usual spy/counter spy stuff; you fly close to my territorial waters with listening equipment, I try to jam the equipment. However it was extremely risky in my opinion. First, if the satellite had been damaged it would be tantamount to an act of war, like sinking a ship in international waters. Secondly, it invites US interference with Chinese space vehicles. If China wants to become a world superpower, it will need spy satellites. If you're playing standoff with another country, with both coutries with their fingers on the nuclear trigger, misunderstandings can get costly. You want to see what the other guy is doing and you want the other guy to see what you are doing.

    Reading carefully, this parapgraph suggests that the US is planning to engage in a kind of "tit for tat" crippling of Chinese satellites. This is a bad thing for strategic stability.
  • "The policy calls upon the Secretary of Defense to 'develop capabilities, plans, and options to ensure freedom of action in space, and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries.'"

    "As you know, you go to space with the ship you have. Its not the ship you might want or wish to have at a later time."

  • The militarization of space or son of starwars. A new armsrace and massive budgets to the military industrial complex.

    "Approval by the President or his designee shall be required to launch and use United States Government and non-government spacecraft utilizing nuclear power sources with a potential for criticality or above a minimum threshold of radioactivity"

    was freedom of action in space
  • Naturally you won't be able to bring lip gloss, toothpaste, or any other gel or liquid into outer space. Or shoes.
  • Arms race in space (Score:3, Interesting)

    by golodh (893453) on Monday October 09, 2006 @12:17PM (#16365327)
    Well ... I guess it's official now: we have an arms race in space with the US in the lead.

    Previously there have been some trial balloons by the Airforce (see http://www.guardian.co.uk/space/article/0,14493,13 45460,00.html [guardian.co.uk] and http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/technology /higher_ground_040222.html [space.com]) who really wanted to add "space warfare" to their portfolio, and now it's been enshrined in national policy.

    Ensuring US superiority in space ... that's what the new policy boils down to.

    I just wonder what the Russians, the Chinese, the Indians the Brazilians, the Japanese, and the Europeans are going to think of it. Will they agree to US space superiority or might they perhaps start space weaponisation programs of their own?

    And what about the cost? Could it be that in the long run it will cost the US less to secure its national interests by aiming for parity and a reasonable deterrent instead of starting yet another arms race in search of superiority? I wonder.

    I'll say one thing for the current administration ... if there is even a remote chance of turning a conflict on interest into a real conflict they can be relied on to identify it and steer that way.

"It's like deja vu all over again." -- Yogi Berra

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