Saturday, November 01, 2008

Diamandis Endorsement

Ex-astronauts and endorsements - Space Politics - This post covers different space leader endorsements and campaigning for the 2 Presidential candidates. Peter Diamandis of the X PRIZE Foundation is endorsing Obama. The text of the endorsement doesn't mention prizes (Obama's newer space policy document favors space prizes and student competitions), but it does prominently mention the ITAR weapons export control regime that seems to have dealt a blow to U.S. commercial space just about every week for years, judging from Space News stories.

Here's the ITAR excerpt from the endorsement, which seems to make the case that ITAR as currently applied to commercial space is actually damaging our national security:

As a leader in the commercial space industry, I am seriously concerned that the United States has been losing its leadership in this strategic industry. Our antiquated State Department export policies and the lack of ambitious and inspiring programs are causing a steady erosion in our share of the commercial launch industry. The rest of the world is catching up fast, and their space capabilities may one day challenge our national security.

Just do a Google search for ITAR-free, which doesn't mean "free us from ITAR", it's a marketing slogan used by non-U.S. space vendors to advertise that their products don't contain any U.S. parts whatsoever, meaning that they are free from ITAR restrictions.