Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ferris Valyn on Obama's Space Policy

RLV News notes that Ferris Valyn has posted on some problems with Obama's space policy position on Daily Kos, a site that's generally in favor of Democratic candidates (as is Ferris). Ferris is in favor of some of the positions in the document, but he's opposed to what I think he considers the central points, such as support of Ares I/Orion without the Lunar mission, and no mention of COTS or commercial space. Here's what Ferris says about prizes in his comments:

My main complaint is in whats missing - there is absolutely no discussion about the potential for the commerical sector in space. This is where the real excitement within the space community exists - the development of real markets for putting people into space, and having routine access. To be fair, Senator Clinton has not mentioned commerical space either, but as the candidate of change, I would hope that Senator Obama would see this. With the developments coming from the NewSpace industry, we sit on the edge of major developments and changes, much like we saw with the internet in the 90s, and much like people expect with things like stem cell research.

Also missing is the issue of whether prizes will be utlized. The X Prize proved very successful in changing the nature of how we interact with space, and proving that "hobbyists" could become involved. And the Centennial Challenges program has also been shortchanged again this year, and thus I remain concerned.

Clearly all of the Presidential candidates from both parties (as well as most Congressional representatives) have a long way to go in their consideration of commercial space and space prizes.