Re: SPACE: Cassini Mission Consequences

Michael Lorrey (
Wed, 24 Sep 1997 20:55:40 -0400

Richard Plourde wrote:
> At 10:12 AM 9/23/97 -0500, Paul Hager wrote:
> >> True, but government should not get totally out of the picture
> until the
> >> technological and infrastructure base is sufficient to be
> economical,
> >> with growth, not just self sufficiency.
> >
> >This may be -- let's say I'm somewhat agnostic on the subject of
> whether
> >or not a government needs to "prime the pump". But, assuming
> that such
> >may be necessary, I would want government involvement to be
> minimal,
> >indirect, and of limited duration.
> As I understand it, a U.S. Federal law makes it illegal for a
> private corporation to compete with NASA. Unfortunately, I
> haven't been able to search down the references -- so my
> understanding might merely represent folklore.
> Request: anyone who *does* know the legality of U.S.-based
> private launches, please illuminate. I note that, if significant
> legal barriers exist, they would represent quite the opposite of
> "pump priming."

Old laws. It is now legal and government is helping several companies
like Orbital Sciences and Lockheed to develop launch systems that they
will own and operate. NASA is paying for the R&D expense. There are also
a number of companies without NASA backing that are actively developing
launch systems, namely Pioneer Rocketplane, Kistler Aerospace, and
others, while Motorola, Teledesic, and Hughes are all actively competing
in communications markets and/or development. There are companies that
are sending missions to the moon, and one sending a probe to a near
earth asteroid.

The only real difficulties are in the paperwork you need. It takes at
least 8 different permits from 6 different federal agencies to launch a
rocket into anything greater than a very short ballistic hop, and
Congress has passed a law that no foreign launch service can sell launch
services to an American company for less than 95% of the lowest cost US
launch system.

What is needed further from NASA is manned exploration to do in depth
surveying of asteroids, moons, and worlds for human colonization. While
the fantasy of independent nations on moons and asteroids going it alone
from the start is pretty, no revolution is going to happen until
authoritarian earth nations start exiling people, paying their way, and
then taxing the hell out of their productivity.

			Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------	Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
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