View Full Version : International Space Agency
2004-Feb-21, 11:24 AM
Should the manned and unmanned exploration of space be competitive between the countries on this planet?
Talking points (Examples)
Who really owns the Universe?
An international space agency could share costs and technology development.
If there is an international space agency (ISA), who is in charge?
When we discover a new planet, whose is it?
If Hubble had been under an ISA would we still be at risk in losing it?
Years ago this all did not matter, but now it is growing in importance. Take some time and share your views and ideas.
2004-Feb-21, 03:03 PM
My view is that while an ISA would be a great benefit to humankind in general, the implications in creating one would make it a very unpopular issue with politicians, and probably prevent such a thing from happening.
Were one to be created, there would be miles of legislation that would have to be enacted by each government involved in it. There would be many many summits on the matter, on everything from where to locate the headquarters, to how much of each country's GDP to allocate to it, to mission goals.
For each thing the ISA does, there would be miles of red tape to go through. If you think NASA has a hard time funding many of it's programs, imagine how much trouble it would be to get a majority of contributors to invest in a program.
I think it would lead to incessant bickering on who gets to take the glory for what, what kind of missions get to take place, etc. While it would be nice to have a unified effort to reach the stars, it's a very impractical idea with the current global government structure. Perhaps once we achieve one-world government, then we would achieve one world space outreach
2004-Feb-21, 03:10 PM
:( Well, part of what you say is very realistic, but if we wait for a one world goverment we can probably forget it. Part of the ISA creation would be to set up a system that avoids many of the "realistic" pitfalls you list.
Thanks for the input.
P.S. Part of what I am talking about has been accomplished in the International Space Station accords, so we have taken a first step! :)
2004-Feb-21, 08:07 PM
Yes, but the ISS is a bit different than combining all the world's space agencies into one. With the recently space-going nations, such as Nigeria(recently launched first satellite), and hopefuls like Brazil(still attempting to successfully launch a rocket), an ISA would not only contain veteran space agencies, but agencies from countries with no robust space policy, such as Nigeria and Brazil. Given this, there would be a wild discord in proficiency of the agencies, and to throw them all together would equate to mass chaos when it comes down to mission planning, staging, and execution. Nevermind mission development and the technological side of things. If you think the UN is ineffecient, try thinking of what the ISA would be like.
Now, I'm not trying to be totally negative here. I think that what you propose has merit. I just don't think that you've fleshed out this idea. Perhaps, you should think of an ISA being brought about in incremental stages.
For example, I believe that with the continuing cooperation of the US and Russian space agencies, that we would be able to continue to work together to plan, develop, and execute new technologies, programs, and missions which can be of great benefit to humankind. I think that the sharing of certain technology by the US, Russian, and Chinese space agencies with less space-savvy nations can bring those nations into space capability sooner than currently on track for. If we can continue to cooperate on such things as the ISS, and shared missions, then in the future we can merge more and more missions until we have a unified world space program.
The benefits of doing it this way is akin to throwing a frog in cold water and then heating it up. If you throw it in already hot water, it'll jump out, much the same way an ISA would fall apart if you attempted to implement it from scratch. However, if we can continue with a gradual merging of space capability and vision by all of our national space agencies, then we would achieve a unified front almost without realizing it.
2004-Feb-21, 10:37 PM
If ,say, there was an ISA, which I am sure will not happen any time soon - not in my lifetime, there would be countless drawbacks to oppose any benefits it could bring.
True it would bring nations together for a greater purpose, but think of the complications. As was mentioned by devilmech, redtap would roll for who knows how far. Imagine travel to any stations created by the ISA. Customs, anti-terrorism checks, restrictions; because every member in the ISA has a say, and brings their own concerns to the table.
And what of those financial issues. If every country in the association were to chip in, then individual costs on projects/missions would go down. But the projects themselves would not be as relatively simple as a two-week shuttle mission, which already costs who-knows-how-many millions. There would be need for more advanced research and maybe even zero-grav manufacturing. Which, in the long run, would stress the governments' budgets more than they would feel comfortable with.
And lets look at the simplest issue. What makes anyone think that an ISA is even possible to form. Humans are not really capable of succeding in such enterprizes and actually succeding. If an ISA were to exist it would be but a veil of friendliness, cooperation and harmony, covering up the true greed, self-interest and profit, which each country's lead politicians are certain to long for.
Yeah...I didn't want to sound negative either, but that's just the way I see things happen.
2004-Feb-21, 11:13 PM
:huh: Good points, but it seems that you are measuring success or failure based upon our experience. What if the strongest competitor turns out to be another country, say China or a joint venture of England, Germany and Japan?
We have helped create a stronger Far East and Europe. They stand to give us good, honest and strong competition. A well structured ISA could help avoid this don't you think? :mellow:
Thanks for the comments.
2004-Feb-21, 11:49 PM
I've always proscribed to the 'survival of the fittest' view when it comes to such matters. If China outdoes America in the space race, then hey, they deserved it.
In fact, I think the competition is the only thing that is keeping the space program progressing at the rate it is. Remember that in the 60's, it was America's competition with the USSR that led to man walking on the moon. If we were to create a unified agency, there would still be competition, only it wouldn't be to see how much we could achieve, it would be to see whose country has the bigger space-penis :P
2004-Feb-24, 01:13 PM
:blink: There is no argument about the value of solid competition, but I think what we are contemplating is a lot different with different demands and challenges. We need both shared resources and shared technology. Maybe that is why we really won't go much beyond our solar system in manned explorations until we as earthlings mature a bit more.
A case in point is nuclear energy, we still are not mature enough to junk the bomb bit and get on with harnessing literally the energy of the universe. Contractors for nuclear energy plants are so eager to grab the money that they bung up the job and set the whole concept back to the dark ages. We ain't gonna go anywhere in deep space without some application of nuclear energy (ion engine, fusion power, etc). We need a generation of Adm. Rickovers to kick start us on the right path.
Probably the best thing about the exploration of space is that to make it we are going to have to evolve into more responsible creatures. IF we can't then we will go the way of the dinosaurs.
Cheers and thanks for the comments.
2004-Feb-25, 09:15 PM
You people are on the right track. An ISA would be the start of something grand. Combining all the worlds resources into one united agency would not only cut "OUR" cost, but everyone elses. It would bring in new minds, with new ideas, backed up by the experiences of those that have gone before. Alas, until the distrust of the our governments is erased, the prejudice of our religions annulled, and a general "we are all on one planet, lets cooperate and get this thing going" attitude is adopted, nothing will be done. UNLESS, young persons, such as yourselves, strive to make these changes; through your thoughts, actions and the teaching of your children. YOU are the ones to make this happen, it won't be in my life time, probably not even your own, however you can start the ball rolling and build a legacy for the future of man kind.
( Forgive me Frasier and Admins, censor me if you will, please do not close the topic.)
2004-Feb-26, 01:15 AM
Hi! As a new comer to this astronomical thing I dont have much experience to put much in. However, having said that, I am 83 and seen much over these past years. You all have hit the nail on the head. You've all got good valid points and I agree, if we, as humans, don't get our brains in gear and solve the biggotry, the intolerance and religious jealousies a proposal such as this ISA would never get off the ground. Not in my short lifetime (to come), but not in yours, your childrens or their children
God only knows what will happen by then, (pessimist) or what great wonders will come (Optomist).
But, please, continue your discussion. Who knows what will come of this germ of an idea.
2004-Feb-26, 10:21 PM
:D Two very important points were made in the last two posts. First, it is going to take commitment from our young people to even get this thing going, and secondly they have got to believe it is doable and worth it.
Would you believe this same discussion could be going on somewhere else out there? I happen to believe it. We are truly not alone. Those who manage to do first what we are talking about will be the ones that discover the rest of us. I am just betting on it being us to make those discoveries.
I will close this post with this thought. Just starting the process of getting there is incredilby exciting. Each generation will make a contribution and experience amazing challenges and discoveries. By the way, Marco Polo, Columbus, Vasco de Gama, Lewis and Clark, all these great explorers have said the same thing. Now it is our turn.
Note to edited copy: Fixed typos and my manners. Thanks to all for their input.
2004-Feb-27, 08:26 AM
A single space agency, most have already said not in my life time and I must agree. The only thing I can see unifying the space agencys is, (call the holywood producers) a space based global threat. Anything will do Bug eyed aliens in silver suits or big jagged rocks with frosty tails. Humanity has always required disaster or Gods with big sticks to work together, until then its always been and will remain me first. Your right we are going to have to grow up and realise theres worse things than big sticks. Prehaps we need a few more close calls.
2004-Feb-27, 01:14 PM
:( ...or political leaders who want to use space exploration as an election gimmick!
Yeah, they could not stand it that E.T. was nice! By the way to you and to all responding here, if you would like to be first to speak with E.T. Visit email@example.com and sign up you bored CPU to spend some time looking for E.T. There are over 4 million of us right now helping with the search.
Thanks for the comments.
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