Ted Cruz to Conduct Hearing on Outer Space Treaty

Reopening the American Frontier:

Exploring How the Outer Space Treaty Will Impact American Commerce and Settlement in Space

Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
2:30 p.m.
Live webcast: www.commerce.senate.gov.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, will convene a hearing titled “Reopening the American Frontier: Exploring How the Outer Space Treaty Will Impact American Commerce and Settlement in Space” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

This hearing will examine U.S. government obligations under the Outer Space Treaty on its 50th anniversary, specifically compliance with Article VI of the Treaty that requires governments to authorize and continually supervise the activities of non-government entities. This hearing will also explore the Treaty’s potential impacts on expansion of our nation’s commerce and settlement in space.

Witness Panel 1:

  • Mr. James E. Dunstan, Founder, Mobius Legal Group, PLLC
  • Ms. Laura Montgomery, Attorney and Proprietor, Ground Based Space Matters, LLC
  •  Mr. Matthew Schaefer, Co-Director of Space, Cyber and Telecommunications Law Program University of Nebraska College of Law

Witness Panel 2:

  • Mr. Mike Gold, Vice President, Washington Operations, Space Systems Loral
  • Mr. Peter Marquez, Vice President of Global Engagement, Planetary Resources
  • Colonel Pamela Melroy, Colonel, U.S. Air Force, Retired and Former Astronaut
  • Mr. Bob Richards, Founder and CEO, Moon Express

Hearing Details:

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
2:30 p.m.
Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

  • duheagle

    Good to see a high-level official take a serous interest in this matter. The time seems ripe for revisiting the OST with a view to unambiguously enabling commerce on the High Frontier. With 105 nations having formally adopted the OST, it will take a minimum of 53 of OST’s adherents to implement any modification.

    The U.S. and China, both of which have quite realistic prospects of soon conducting profit-making operations in space, appear to be the obvious ‘Aye’ votes for OST amendment. Russia too. It lacks any realistic near-term prospect of making significant money in space, but will certainly want to preserve the possibility and also to not officially acknowledge the penurious state of its finances and the tatterdemalion state into which its once mighty space industry has fallen.

    Among other nations with actual space programs of consequence, India, Japan and Canada look to be cinch bets as well. Taiwan will come along so as not to give up any ground – perhaps literally – to the PRC. Singapore too, first, because it is ethnically Chinese and, second, because it is a small country and many other small countries are likely to jump on this as well.

    Luxembourg, to cite one such small country, can certainly be counted upon to come aboard and might well prove able to bring the entire ESA membership along with it. That’s especially true given that a Moon Village is the favored hobbyhorse of ESA’s current head.

    There are a lot of small island nations that are OST signatories as well. One of them, New Zealand, is about to become a center of active space economic activity. That allows many other small island nations to entertain the possibility of hosting spaceports in the not-too-distant future. With the U.S., Canada and New Zealand on board, the rest of the Anglosphere will surely be too.

    In the Middle East, the UAE seems an all but certain prospect and might bring all the large Middle Eastern countries along including, quite probably, Iran. Iran, after all, seems dedicated, of late, to not only restoring a caliphate but resurrecting the ertswhile Persian Empire. Hard to see it passing on an opportunity to potentially extend both into space, especially if the Sunnis are lining up in favor of OST amendment.

    One could go on like this at some length. In the end, I think finding 53 or more votes for amendment of OST may not prove overly difficult.

  • Carlton Stephenson

    Who would not like to be the first trillionaire as Cruz puts it? In general, it seems people are taking space more and more seriously, which is all to the good. And it may have something to do with the ongoing free fall of launch prices. Entrepreneurial opportunities are opening up where previously there were none, while for security minded nations, active participation becomes an imperative.

  • Kapitalist

    US and China are the only truly space faring nations. They should make up their own treaty and enforce it against any potential third newcomer. No need to “negotiate” about this with countries without ambitions and abilities in space. Russia is on the way out fast now with its failing 1960s rockets and nothing new in the pipeline. At least it’s good that Ted Cruz is leading this, he seems to be consistently pro-liberty. US companies will dominate space totally in a few years, if they don’t already with SpaceX alone scheduled to launch more than 1/3 of everything that’s going to space form now on. They should be the ones deciding what a “treaty” should look like.

  • Aerospike

    If those who are dominating any activity at a given time “should be the ones deciding” what a treaty (or other set of rules) should look like, SpaceX would not exist today, Boeing et al would have prevented it from happening.

    Capitalism cannot survive without rules that enable an (almost) level playing field for everybody. Otherwise those who rise to power (in an economic sense here) dictate all the rules, secure their markets, block out competition and innovation crawls to a standstill.

    I would be very worried about any treaty that is decided by those who dominate the field where it applies.

  • Kapitalist

    There’s no reason to assume that politicians would do anything good. That’s where you are wrong. You thoughtlessly make the assumption that politicians do good things, and then your conclusion is identical to that assumption, without applying any kind of logic or empiric information.That’s how a religious belief is defined.

  • Aerospike

    You accuse me of making wrong assumptions, that I never made.
    Neither did I make any statement about politicians doing right or wrong things, nor did I endorse the current outer space treaty.

    I simply pointed out a flaw that I perceived in your way of thinking.
    You are welcome to show me why you are right and I am wrong.

  • Kapitalist

    You make up claims about how bad it would be for free human beings, who are together enterprising their visions, to govern space flight. You claim that capitalism “needs rulers” in order to be able to exist. That’s pure etatistic brainwash rhetorics you are parroting.

    In any case, it will be the doers who decide how space will be governed. The politicians will be satisfied with looting some random guy and murdering some other random guy, down here on Earth where they are easy to catch. As usual.

  • duheagle

    The U.S. and China are going to be the major definers of whatever amendments to OST get made. But it disadvantages neither to make things palatable, even inviting, to other nations. There is certainly no percentage in gratuitously pissing other countries off for no gain. Many more nations are likely to gain space assets in coming decades. The U.S. could do itself a lot of good by redefining the “Rules of Acquisition” for space in a free market/property rights direction. Attempting some unstable co-dominium with China is exactly the wrong way to go.

  • Kapitalist

    I think the right thing to do is to go with the doers. ESA, JAXA, the dying Russian space program and the tiny Indian attempts. They are not relevant. How do you imagine that “negotiating” with their uneducated inexperienced politicians with nothing to back them up in reality, possibly could help formulate a good treaty? How? Why? Where did you get that sick idea from?

    Pissing inferior countries off has ALWAYS been a winning strategy! Read up on Roman history. Obey or die. It’s that simple. Which side do you want to be on?

  • redneck

    Until they become non-inferior and kick your ass. Creating countries with a grudge is to be avoided if possible, see WW2.

  • Kapitalist

    And you think you can avoid that “by being nice”!!!?
    We must kick their ass while we can. And we must kick’em GOOD!

  • Tom Billings

    “Kapitalist” missed an essential point here. He’s assuming that spaceflight will be enabled by hierarchy. Somebody’s hierarchy, and it should be our political hierarchy. And :

    “We must kick their ass while we can. And we must kick’em GOOD!”

    Apparently, to establish that the political hierarchy *we* belong to is on top of all others, with them underneath us and their wealth in Space controlled by us? No!

    The problem with this line of thinking is that it is talking about human hierarchies. The first thing we need in Space is productivity that will fund each next incremental step forward. Hierarchies do not produce. Hierarchies control.

    Networks of intercommunicating people produce wealth. When hierarchies are allowed to crush networks we get such wonders of productivity as the old soviet saying “They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work”. It gives us such wonders as today’s Venezuela!

    The key usefulness of amending the OST is to allow industrial society’s worldwide networks, at all levels of action, to extend throughout the Solar System. This will allow the high productivity of such networks to enable each incremental “next step”, as soon as possible after someone sees the opportunity to take that next step in building the network. To worry about “who’s on top?” right now is to simply adopt the old imperial mindset that
    crushes networks in favor of the control by hierarchy.

    In fact, the worst difficulties with this are more likely to come from other countries than the US. The countries where you have to have a political patron to start a high-tech business have not yet escaped the old imperial/agrarian culture attitudes as well as the US has done, in spite of academicians trying to drag US Civil Society under control of government hierarchies.

    Yes, homo sapiens is still a species of large, obstreperously violent primates. That does not mean that hierarchy is the first concern when you are focused on productivity, because we have also been capable of intercommunicating for millennia in networks. The industrial revolution, more than anything else, has been about the individuals making up these networks gaining the freedoms of action needed to build and maintain these networks.

    Let us not lose sight of that. This is *not* the last rodeo that will forever determine how things are done in Space. “It is not the end, …it is not even the beginning of the end, …it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”.

  • Kapitalist

    We must kick their asses red and blue. And blue and red again. And again. Making the legs attached to the buttocks move, even if they are disconnected from the brain of their personal ape master. When the ox gets tired, we must pull the ox.

    You wanna sit around waiting and hoping that the arapes come up with something good? That they will start to try to “intercommunicate” with you. Is that your plan? Well, that has been tried and it has failed. Please go to Libya and try it until they teach you by murdering you! But you haven’t learned. All arapes insist on remaining in their stone age, totally intolerant to any kind of learning or development. How come you refuse to learn? Do you follow the map of your wishful thinking instead of the map of the reality?

    Oh, you’re trying to be clever by talking about the end of the beginning of the end of the beginning of the end. Well, that kind of illustrates where your mind is stuck. I hope it can be trained to do better.

    Imperialism, capitalism, industrialism and colonialism are the key concepts for anyone who wants to go forward. Those are the only things that have made the world great. That’s the fact of human history if you deny it or not. That’s how our collective emerges out of our individualism. There are those who are inferior. There’s a process of selection in the evolution of societies. We have to recognize this obvious fact of life and act accordingly.

    “Hierarchies control”… BRAINS control, hopefully. Life is a hierarchy.

  • redneck

    You don’t have to focus on nice to realize that being a horses’ ass has consequences in real life.

  • Kapitalist

    Only if we actively give it the consequences it deserves. Whip the arapes!

  • redneck

    If you are more concerned with enemies than improving your station in life, your life will be defined by your enemies. Your attitude is one of those that made the Vietnam war such a disaster. A few minor changes years earlier would have gotten better results with no war at all. Overwhelming force can only get one so far, and that doesn’t even consider the maintenance costs of overwhelming force.

    You don’t have to fight all the time if your enemies know that starting trouble is not a survival characteristic.

  • Kapitalist

    The arapes don’t know of or want peace. They’ve been at war with each other ever since the pedophilc analphabetic warlord “prophet”. So called religious discussions in islam are only about which family should have all the power against all other families. They’ve been warring about these imaginary issues since 1,400 years. They are cattle herding bedouines, they refuse to evolve beyond their stone age. Even the medieval Vatican was very much more advanced and open in its philosophy.

    Everywhere there lives arapes, there is violence. Reality deniers lie about this life-and-death matter.

  • windbourne

    In fact, that is the big issue with Antarctica. Basically, it is divided up to those that were there first.

  • windbourne

    And WW1

  • Tom Billings

    Kapitalist, your arrogant ignorance would be appalling if it were not preceded by previous similar statements. You very apparently wish violence to be used to shove others under you in society, without regard to their freedoms, which freedoms will make them more productive.

    Here is the core of your ignorance:

    “Life is a hierarchy.”

    It implies that life is made up only of acts that adapt us to accepting one hierarchy or another. It ignores the productivity of networks that outdo hierarchical society 20 to 1. It is echoed by those excusing the crimes of the PLA’s enablers, and those desiring the re-establishment of “The Rodina”, and by criminal governments throughout history. It is a common mistake of those clinging to one part or another of agrarian cultures, excusing “progressives” around the world for coercing others.

    Your so-called “key” concepts mostly are widely misunderstood portions of agrarian cultures, because of those teaching distortions of history. Properly understood, however, they are part of an integrated view of the beginnings of industrial society around the world.

    “Imperialism”, named after the Roman Imperium, is best described as “a hob-nailed boot on the neck, crushing every farmer’s face into the dirt for a thousand years”. It sends a central Capital’s armies to loot and tax a peripheral area for the benefit of elites in the Capital.

    “Colonialism”, was named from the Imperial “colonia” established by Emperors in conquered lands using retired soldiers, to make sure that there was someone in place to provide initial reaction to any revolt against the tax collectors, until units from the central army arrived to crush the attempts at freedom. Once colonia are established, they are allowed to develop trade and commerce, though those are under the control of the Capital’s elites. They become interior provinces as new conquests of other lands continue the process.

    “Industrialism”, or ‘industrial society’, is the antithesis of agrarian culture’s empires, that developed alongside the many imitators of Rome once worldwide shipping networks became sufficiently developed from 1750 onward, because no one empire could control them. It is a worldwide set of networks from the physical networks of ports and shipping, to the political networks enabling more open trade, to the market networks allowing exchange of value, to intellectual networks providing innovations, to the spiritual networks providing techniques for resting and clarifying the mind to make the intellect work better. As long as there is no single hierarchy of control they produce more and better wealth than any of the old imperiums ever dreamed possible. When political hierarchy crushes networks, we get Venezuela.

    “Capitalism” is the epithet thrown at industrial society by its enemies, mostly by those who hate its market freedoms more than the freedoms of action on the other needed levels of action in any industrial society.

    Applying industrial freedoms of action throughout the Solar System is the only way it will actually be settled, because no other form of human organization will be productive enough to let it pay back its settlers for their investment of their lives. Trying to gabble that we must be atop some Solar System hierarchy in order for it to become settled ignores the fact that hierarchy produces nothing! It merely controls distribution, scraping off the cream for elites. Space is not politically profitable. So forget joining the elites at the top of some hierarchy, and join the network that will settle the Solar System in the coming Century.

  • Tom Billings

    Please find someplace else to rant about things that have no effective interest to those wishing to discuss the article being commented on. You are utterly off topic.

  • duheagle

    The U.S. has only a handful of real enemies at present. The consequential list is Russia, China, Iran and the DPRK. The inconsequential list is Cuba and Venezuela. Other nations, even if they are not our great admirers, find dealing with us more satisfactory than dealing with any of our enemies.

    The U.S. gains nothing by adopting policies calculated to give gratuitous offense for no gain. That has been characteristic of Russian foreign policy and, to a lesser extent, that of China, Iran and the DPRK. A default posture of truculence has not worked out well for any of them. It would work no better for us should we be stupid enough to take it up.

    These nations do such things because they are all would-be imperia and their thinking is the age-old idea that the greatness of a nation is measured solely in how much territory it can take from others and how many unwilling subjects it can coerce. Your comment betrays an irrational attachment to exactly this sort of thinking.

    The average lifespans of imperia have been declining for a long time. Rome reached its zenith five centuries after its founding, then took another five to decline and fall. As with most things, the rises and falls of imperia happen a lot faster these days. The last great empire on Earth, the Soviet Union, didn’t even live to be 75. Imperium is a dead-end model of social organization.

    Trying to bogart the rest of the Universe for the Red, White and Blue would be stupid in addition to being unnecessary. It would greatly expand the list of nations ill-disposed toward us and gain us nothing by way of offset.

    The future of space is not going to be socialist and it will not much longer depend to any great extent upon what governments, even ours, do there. The U.S., owing to its near-unique national character, will dominate future space activity in the same ways we have dominated science, industry and wealth-creation here on Earth. We have no need to strut around with our jaws foremost like Mussolini.

    As to the prospects of other space-faring entities, neither the ESA nor the Japanese are likely to plow any really new ground, but both will have increasing presences in space, largely by following our lead.

    You are correct that the Russian space presence will fade as Russia itself fades. I don’t foresee anyone but the fading Russians themselves being very upset when they, and their erstwhile nation, slouches into oblivion. They’ve been extraordinarily bad neighbors for a thousand years. No one is going to miss them when they’re gone.

    The current Chinese regime will continue its current space program for awhile yet, but that country faces serious problems in the next two or three decades, many based on demographics and all pretty much unavoidable. Space effort may be curtailed in order to deal with same. The Chinese regime is, in any case, not a stable one and may well not survive the coming troubles. Once past their troubles and under a new regime, the Chinese have a great potential future in space.

    So do the Indians. They are behind the Chinese at present, but not by all that much. And their space efforts seem to be proceeding forward at least as fast as those of the Chinese. India may well surpass China in space and in other realms of endeavor over the next three decades or so as it does not face the same demographic challenges and has a more stable government.

  • duheagle

    Remind me never to go drinking with you on Saturday night.

    And, no, I won’t post your bail.

  • duheagle

    I am reminded of the caption on an old Gahan Wilson Cartoon. It depicts three guys in Graustarkian uniforms drinking at a bar and one man says:

    “So, how do like being a fascist, Larry?”

  • Kapitalist

    The arapes are violent. There can be no peace as long as there are arapes. This is a fact. Your wishful thinking about the unreal doesn’t help. If you don’t make war, you will be murdered. If you prefer death instead of freedom, who are you unable to spell it out clearly?

    Capitalism means freedom for each individual. The right to live without being subjected by the violence of others.

    Imperialism is the organized protection of freedom against the haters, like today the arapes and the socialists who totally destroy all societies they take over.

    Industrialism is necessary for human survival. Just look at what you have and consider what of it would have existed if specialists hadn’t manufactured it for you. Industry is the natural extension of an agrarian society. The arapes never left their stone age nomadic “culture”, treating women like cattle. And they don’t indicate any intention to ever evolve from it. That’s why all the places where there are arapes also are the worst places in the world.

    Churchill was a drunk buffoon who failed in everything he did, especially his arm chair military decisions were always defeated humiliatingly. In politics failure is not a handicap. Failures make you harmless and thus your rivals promote you as a placeholder to formal positions. That’s why every politician is worse than his predecessor. His only effort was as a celebrity symbol that in the propaganda motivated the English to try harder to win. You could’ve replaced him with anyone, including the actor who read “his” speeches in radio when the fat guy was sleeping drunk as a lord.

  • Kapitalist

    The US has a military much more powerful than the rest of the world taken together. And, naturally, most of the others will choose bow to US power in order to survive on the obviously winning side. If the US, like the Romans, fights each war ruthlessly until end victory, war and oppression would be rare in the world. The one legitimate role of a government is to eradicate violent threats.

    China is far ahead of India in space. The Chinese now have the world’s largest launcher, human space flight, a sample return form the Moon later this year. In three decades that might very well change. It’s three decades since Russia launched its last successful interplanetary probe. Who would’ve thought that at the time.

  • Kapitalist

    If you drink in arape country, you will be stoned to death. Why do you want society to be like that?

  • Kapitalist

    Self defense isn’t fascism. Why do you socialists try to claim that, it can’t convince anyone sane. Secretary of Defense general Mattis put it very well when he said that we can never make peace with anyone. We can only try to convince them to make peace with us. Ignoring the existence of the enemy that is murdering us is suicide.

  • Douglas Messier

    Kapitalist: Destroying the Arab world is not a proper point of discussion relating to the Outer Space Treaty. Please find somewhere else to discuss your holy war.

    If you reply to to this comment trying to justify your comments, I will delete it.

  • Tom Billings

    “The US has a military much more powerful than the rest of the world taken together.”

    Only if you neglect the damage of the last 10 years. The US Army, out of its 58 Brigades, has only 3 Brigades that could be put on a plane or ship tomorrow. The rest require months to years to bring them up to combat readiness. The US Air Force has only 53% of its aircraft combat capable. The Marines have all of 56% of theirs.

    The US Navy has utterly insufficient shipping available to transport troops overseas in any large numbers. Until these deficits are addressed, the US military will remain hobbled. They can address one major conflict at a time with air power and sea power. They can barely participate in land warfare on any large scale, by the design of those in charge of US budgets over the last 10 years.

    It will take at least 3 years to restore the US Army, and 5 years to restore the USAF, and 8-12 years to restore the US Navy to full combat capability.

  • roflplatypus

    A friend of mine is a Catholic monarchist, and I’m starting to see his point of view. He says “what’s easier to have, one smart person or a billion smart people?”

  • Kapitalist

    If needed they’d hustle something up. If it took three years after Pearl Harbor to do anything about it, the world war would’ve been over already. The military has been whining about more resources for a decade now, and that didn’t help. Now at least the president has the will to fix it.

    But the US armed forces really have to make do with more than half of all the military resources in the world! I mean, really! What would you do if the enemy had more resources than you? Are you worse than other soldiers one-on-one? Maybe that attitude explains why the US has had its behind kicked by the primitives in the Middle East. You don’t need more money, you just need to get some courage and apply it.