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supra- or non-national

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:45 am
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Post supra- or non-national   Posted on: Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:45 am
An article under www.marssociety.de is talking about the fate of Columbus under the aspect of the present political Situation between the US and Russia.

It is mentioned that NASA is responsible of carrying european astronauts to the ISS but at present is faced to the risk of not having vehicles to do that because of not having an own vehicle between 2010 and 1015 nor being supplied Soyuzes after 2011 since these take three years to be produced and can't be ordered at present because a bill must be prolonged by the Congress who wouldn't do that now.

This shows up in my eyes that the problem is a lack of independency of NASA, ESA and others of vehicles operated by national political agencies.

Such an independeny could be got if there would be an supra- or non-national institution supplying flights or if it would be done privately. The institution could be a civilian one like the german air control and mustn't be controlled by ministers etc.

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Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:50 am
I think that an overall agency made up from a number of other agencies providing a transport system would be a bad idea. You might get to a point of individual agencies ditching their indiginous craft in favour of such a vehicle and lead to "all eggs in the same basket". For example if such an entity existed now the US might well decide not to produce a craft to get to the ISS and use one made by this new agency instead. At first glance you might think that would be a good idea and NASA should concentrate on the Moon and Mars but there would have been little reason for them to fund the COTS program and generate new vehicles.

ESA needs to build its own craft and not rely on anyone else, this is the only way it can ensure it will have rides for its astronauts.

Making another overall space agency is only swapping the dependancy not stopping it. A craft produced by such an agency would probably be built in parts across a number of countries and each one could stop production of the vehicles and ground everyone. Much better to have a diversity of craft operated by different agencies.

The US problems have their roots in not building a new craft earlier, the abandonment of the crew return vehicle (X-38) the US originally were going to build for the ISS was folly and could probably have resulted in a craft able to plug the looming gap in US access.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:37 am
Hello, Andy,

a supranational agency similar to NASA, ESA etc. is just what I do NOT want but to avoid.

I was thinking merely of something that is private but partially publicly owned - as opposed to public. Lufthansa might be an example - it is and was a company on stocks which means that it is and was private. But thegovernment owns more than 50% of the stocks. Something similar is valid for german airports.

This way a significant portion of politics can be kept outside.

A supranational entity like this might avoid NASA's present problems because they wouldn't buy Soyuzes from Russia but order that entity to provide any vehicle. Then they allways could argue to the Congress that they don't have control of the choice. They wouldn't do business with Russia but with a community.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:01 am
Which governments/agencies would be the public owners? I think you would still end up with the same problems. For NASA to be involved in anything like this would be a nightmare in regulations to sort out and I dont think they would want any craft they contributed to built outside the US. Other agencies/governments would think along similar lines.

It might work as a private venture but something like this would enevitably have government involvement and is likely to be doomed. Also private industry would have done it already if it was feasible. Private Industry as a whole is not interested in making transport systems they are interested in making money.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 11, 2008 12:27 pm
Hello, Andy,

the public owners would be several governments - including the american one. There also woukd be private ones like companies or people like you and me.

The entity woukl be formed to make sure that each nation permanently has access to space - as well as privates.

Each owner would get a portion of those profits that are not kept within the entity - this would be interesting for the governments because they would hold the majority of the stocks and thus get an interesting contribution to their budgets.

This way each government holding stocks is involved in buying vehicles and also is interested to sell vehicles - but space agencies are outside and only buy from the entity. The Congress might decide that NASA mustn't buy from other governments directly but only from companies that are privately owned.

The present situation then would be changed so that the same institution that doesn't want NASA to have no own access to space would have to provide a vehicle itself until Ares and Orion are ready. The Russians would have a reason to behave different in Georgia.

And all the countries together would decide which governmental vehicles the entity is allowed to buy. They wouldn't do this politically but via the usual councils that control companies and by law exist at Scaled Composites, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, EADS, Lufthansa as well.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:44 pm
American governments don't do public/private partnerships at all well.

Europeans have a better record, but then with so much legislation *everything* is a public partnership to some degree :).

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