Res Communis Blog RSS

Category Archives: Guest blogger

Official Space Research Institutes

Parviz Tarikhi (http://parviztarikhi.wordpress.com) is a space science and technology researcher and specialist majoring in radar remote sensing since 1994. He holds a PhD degree in physics. He has been involved with the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS) since 2000, including as Second Vice-Chair and Rapporteur in 2004-06 of the committee bureau. From 2001 to 2007 he chaired the Action Team number 1 of UNISPACE-III with the mission ‘to develop a comprehensive worldwide environmental monitoring strategy’. From 2004 to 2007 he led the Office for Specialized International Cooperation of the Iranian Space Agency. He is also a freelance journalist and technical writer who has made in the meantime years of research and study on the developments and status of space science and technology with a particular focus on Iran. Write to him through e-mail at the address parviz_tarikhi@hotmail.com.

On December 10, 2003 the Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IR Iran) approved a law on the establishment of a new regime for country’s outer space issues which received the final approval of the Guardian Council of the Constitution of IR Iran on 18 June 2005. The state officially took the first step in implementing the new law on February 1, 2004 by assigning the first President of a new establishment named the Iran Space Agency (ISA).  Affiliated to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), ISA was organized in the form of an autonomous organization mandated to follow and implement the strategies authorized by the Space Supreme Council (SSC).[1] Following the dissolution of SSC in August 2007 and to continue further development and implementation of the statutes and bylaws of ISA, the Council of Ministers of IR Iran approved amendments to the existing law on June 15, 2008 that led to final approval of the Guardian Council on July 2, 2008.These actions were believed to be a long and practical step forward not only towards concentrating Iran’s efforts in advancing relevant science and technology for effective use of outer space for peaceful purposes but also to enhance the country’s cooperation at the international level for such the important purposes. According to the new approval the president of the Agency being the Deputy Minister of CIT was assumed to be the highest authority responsible for implementing the affairs, protecting the rights, interests and assets of the Agency.[2]

The new statute that was initiated based on the proposal of the MICT and in line with the Article 44 of the Constitution of IR Iran aimed to render the non-sovereignty tasks to the private sector and centralize the sovereignty tasks that were being carried out in different specific organizations earlier.[3] Based on the statute, implementing legal tasks, study, research, engineering and operating in the field of space service technologies, remote sensing and strengthening the communications and space technology networks in and out of the country as well as the sovereignty tasks of the former Iranian Remote Sensing Center (IRSC) and MCIT was put on ISA. In addition to above-said functions, other tasks of ISA included formulating country’s space sector programs, study for policy making in designing, manufacturing, launching and using of the research and national satellites and the control centers, planning to conduct and develop of the peaceful uses of outer space and space technology, strengthening the national, regional and international communication networks by the state, cooperative and private sectors.[4] Almost all of the mentioned activities required research and knowledge that was expected to be secured and provided by the research entities affiliated to the space agency. That is why ISA has been considering establishing the space research institutes or annexing the existing institutes to the agency with high priority.

In this connection following the approval of the second statute of ISA in July 2008, the agency has hosted the Space Research Institute (SRI) since then.

Space Research Institute (SRI)

SRI was established on October 21, 2007 based on the authorization of the Council for Higher Education Development to comply the research requirements of the country in space technologies. Its objectives includes, (i) conducting mission-oriented activities in the development of space research and accessing to the modern space science and technology to turn into a pioneering space research institute in the country; (ii) providing the appropriate ground for the advancement of relevant research activities; and (iii) commercializing the outcomes of the space research.[5] The missions provisioned for SRI is as follows:

• studying and identifying the research requirements to launch and transfer of space technologies;

• performing basic, applied and developmental research projects for realizing the objectives of the institute; • providing required facilities and possibilities for the relevant research activities;

• conducting research cooperation with universities, research institutes, governmental and non-governmental scientific and industrial active centers in and out of the country in order to improve the quality of research activities in space science and technology in line with the general national policies taking into account the related regulations;

• marketing the scientific and research outcomes of the institute based on the related rules and regulations;

• publishing journals, scientific books and tutorial pamphlets as well as producing software and computer programs in line with the objectives of the institute based on the related rules and regulations;

• organizing scientific symposia and presenting the outcomes of its research through the workshops based on the related rules and regulations.

Situated in Tehran, the Directorate of SRI is comprised of the Board of Trustees, Director of the institute and a Research Council. SRI is reportedly one of the active centers for designing, manufacturing and test of satellite projects in the country. The institute is currently involved in few remote sensing and telecommunications satellite projects as follows:

-Zohreh Satellite Project; which is a project for manufacturing a satellite to meet country’s telecommunication and Internet needs of the 1970s and was expected to be the first satellite developed in the country.[6]

-Mesbah-2 Satellite Project; which is defined in continuation of the Mesbah Project [7] and with the aim to design, manufacture and test of satellites inland.[8]

-Pars-2 Satellite Project; which is a project to design, manufacture and launch an advanced medium resolution and stereo-imaging multi-spectral remote sensing satellite to comply the increasing needs of the great community of remote sensing users in and out of the country.[9]

Currently exceeding to 200 the employees of SRI are mainly the staff of the Zohreh and Mesbah satellite projects which were formerly active for many years in MCIT and the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST) affiliated to the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology respectively.

Following the annexation of ISA to Iran’s Presidency Institution that was put in force by the approval of the Iranian Administrational Supreme Council on 29 September 2010, two other research institutes, the Aerospace Research Institute (ARI) and Engineering Research Institute (ERI) joined the space agency.

Aerospace Research Institute (ARI)

Founded in 2000 under the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology the Aerospace Research Institute (ARI) is an academic organization with the aims as follows:

• Recognition and introduction of aerospace technologies, and cooperation with the related organizations and entities for acquisition of the latest aerospace technologies;

• Development and expansion of research in aerospace field attempting to meet the country’s research demands;

• Research cooperation with research and educational organizations of the country with the aim of improving the quality of related research activities.

The Institute has created the necessary environment for research and has provided increasing research facilities for researchers. These facilities consists of parallel processing laboratory, electronic laboratory, virtual reality laboratory, Information Technology Center, Institute’s construction and assembly plants, and a library.[10] ARI has been actively involved in the aerospace research at the national level as well as in establishing links and working relationships with relevant industries. The principal objective of ARI is the identification and introduction of state-of-the-art aerospace and related technologies, and collaboration with organizations in conducting innovative research. ARI is involved in research and analysis of booster rockets, re-entry vehicles, rocket engines and payloads, as well as in other aerospace-related topics like life in space. ARI is organized in different departments including Aeronautical Sciences and Technology, Space Science and Technology, Aerospace Law, Standards and Management, Aerospace Physiology Research Group and a Strategic Aerospace Studies and Future Planning Think Tank. ARI is mainly focused on the aerodynamic design and analysis of launch vehicles. It is capable of estimating aerodynamic coefficients and determination of flow patterns around launch vehicles with various levels of accuracy that are required in different phases of a design process. Planning and conducting wind tunnel tests for validation of analytical and numerical results is also among the institute’s capabilities. It also deals with sounding sub-orbital rockets and their payloads. ARI has carried out several study programs in the field of sounding rocket’s capabilities and applications, their payloads and experiments. As a part of its Department of Aerospace Law, Standards and Management ARI conducts studies on orbital debris. A variety of subjects such as categorization, characteristics, tracking, and laws on orbital debris are worked out there. Mathematical simulation and collision probability functions and hazard analysis are all the prospective subjects that are studied by this department.

In 2008, ARI employed some 65 researchers, 33 organizational members, and 13 PhD students under the scholarship of the institute studying inland and abroad. The institute conducts and carries out several research projects in collaboration with the industry. The aerospace industries of Iran are important contractor of ARI for which the institute has carried out a number of space related projects. One of those projects is the space lab project and life in space which involved the design and prototyping of the Kavoshgar rocket payload. Another project was the evaluation of the standards employed in the design, manufacturing and testing of aerospace systems, funded by the Aerospace Industries Organization. Some other space related projects are: studies on propulsion fundamentals and performance of microsatellites propulsion systems; satellite dynamics software; studies on the cooperation of private companies in space activities such as space commercialization and space tourism; effects of microgravity on bone health of astronauts; analysis and investigation of satellite navigation systems and devising strategies for the development in this area, and publication of a series of books on subjects such as space debris and, medicine and space physiology.[11]

Since its establishment, ARI has been publishing a variety of documents in the form of papers, reports, books and bulletins in line with its research and knowledge promotion tasks. Publishing around 182 papers that reflect the results of the research achievements of the institute, 541 reports on the research plans and activities, exceeding to 25 specialized aerospace books and journals as well as about 100 issues of the aerospace bulletins are worth to be noticed. In addition ARI publishes the quarterly Journal of Space Science and Technology (JSST) in Persian language that is the institute’s specialized aerospace publication.

Moreover, ARI hosts a committee called the Permanent Committee on Space Radiations (PCSR) that is established to justify the country’s major policies on the space radiations in relation with aerospace research activities. Its aim is familiarization, providing the fields of cooperation and interaction between space researchers to raise the knowledge about the destructive space radiations, and policy making for scientific and strategic goals. Three working groups are active under PCSR which are involved with the identification, measurement, detection, estimation of the effects and protecting before the space radiations. PCSR is comprised of 14 scientific, research and industrial organizations which representatives meet monthly. [10]

Engineering Research Institute (ERI)

Agricultural Engineering Research Institute (AERI) that changed its name to the Engineering Research Institute (ERI) after joining to the Iranian Space Agency in September 2010 was established in 1983 under the Ministry of Jihad of Agriculture. The Objectives of the Institute were conducting research on different aspects of agricultural engineering. ERI has been conducting its activities in three groups of control, material and chemical engineering at its headquarters which is situated 16 km west of Tehran. In 1985 the first provincial branch of ERI, Isfahan Engineering Research Institute (IERI), was established in Isfahan. The next provincial branch, Fars Engineering Research Institute (FERI), was established in 1986 in Shiraz and the third provincial branch, East Azerbaijan Engineering Research Institute (EAERI), started its activity in 1987 in Tabriz. FERI in Shiraz is a growing engineering and research center that was established for research and design of process systems for dairy, food and related industries. Within a short period of time FERI have designed, manufactured and commissioned more than 100 projects in various fields of dairy, starch, food and biotechnology. Variety of products made by ERI includes irrigation and drainage facilities, agricultural machinery, food and post harvest products, and research and technical services.

ERI’s main labs that have key role in research are Metallurgy Lab and Chemistry and Polymer Lab. The Metallurgy Lab of ERI has been involved with the mechanical properties, metallographic, quantometric and non-destructive experiments. The Chemistry and Polymer Lab of ERI which is established in 1986 is one of the advanced labs in the analysis and identification of chemical industry, plastic material, foams, adherents, color and resins, composites and their quality control.

The whole number of the staff who work in ERI and its three provincial branches in Isfahan, Shiraz and Tabriz exceeds to 1200.[12]

While the annexation of ISA to the Presidential Institution still waits for the legislative approval by the Parliament, the research institutes joined to ISA require this approval to be capable of well conducting and implementing their functions. Although the ambitions of the space agency in fulfilling the research activities are valuable and promising, there are still considerable gaps between the capabilities of the agency’s research institutes and the actual requirements. It is because of the fact that the institutes are originally established under the ministries with different aims, policies, and managerial orientations.

After five years since its establishment SRI is still lacking appropriate published material to reflect its achievements. It is the same about the ERI which published a bulletin called the Modern Agricultural Technologies from 1985 to 1988 only as its news periodical. Research is not yet institutionalized in both SRI and ERI despite of the pass of long time since their establishment, while it is considerably promising in the case of ARI in comparison to both SRI and ERI. The revision in employing top and qualified specialized human resources in the institutes is vital. The traditional configuration and structure of the institutes needs informed and actual alteration to be consistent with the research needs of ISA and the country in space science and technology. ERI is not basically a space research institute and with a big number of the staff that is 70.5% of all ISA personnel needs a serious reorganization in the structure, human resources and management so that it could step efficiently in complying the demands and requirement of ISA for space research.

All three research institutes of ISA needs a concentrated policy making in conformity with the needs and requirements of the agency. It could be made possible under the supervision of SSC which its legality depends on the approval of the Parliament to authorize the annexation of ISA to the Presidential Institution and approve an appropriate statute for the agency under which SSC will also play its key role accordingly.

References:

[1] Tarikhi, Parviz, 2008, July 9. New Iranian Space Law, http://rescommunis.wordpress.com/2008/07/09/guest-blogger-parviz-tarikhi-on-the-new-iranian-space-law/ (accessed 30 May 2012)

[2] Tarikhi, Parviz, 2011, March 24. Supreme Council of Space in the Way to Play its Supervisory Role, http://rescommunis.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/guest-blogger-parviz-tarikhi-supreme-council-of-space-in-the-way-to-play-its-supervisory-role/ (accessed 30 May 2012)

[3] Tarikhi, Parviz, 2008, Statutes of the Iranian Space Agency, journal of Space Law, The university of Mississippi School of Law, USA, No.2, Vol.34, pp.487-495.

[4] Tarikhi, Parviz, 2008, July 22. Iranian Cabinet approves new Statute of the Iranian Space Agency, http://rescommunis.wordpress.com/2008/07/22/guest-blogger-parviz-tarikhi-iranian-cabinet-approves-new-statute-of-the-iranian-space-agency/ (accessed 30 May 2012)

[5] Space Research Institute, n.d., http://sri.ac.ir (accessed 30 May 2012)

[6] Zohreh Satellite Project, n.d., http://sri.ac.ir (accessed 30 May 2012)

[7] Nemets, Alexandr V. and Kurz, Robert W., 2009, The Iranian Space Program and Russian Assistance, Journal of Slavic Military Studies, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC, No. 22, pp. 87–96.

[8] Mesbah-2 Satellite Project, n.d., http://sri.ac.ir (accessed 30 May 2012)

[9] Pars-2 Satellite Project, n.d., http://sri.ac.ir (accessed 30 May 2012)

[10] Web site of the Aerospace Research Institute (in Persian), n.d., http://www.ari.ac.ir/(accessed 30 May 2012)

[11] Harvey, Brian; Smid, Henk; Pirard, Theo, February 2010, Emerging Space Powers; the New Space Programs of Asia, the Middle East, and South America, Springer/Praxis, pp. 268-270

[12] Web site of the Engineering Research Institute (in Persian), n.d., http://www.aeri.ir/Default.aspx (accessed 30 May 2012)

 

 

FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrLinkedInEvernoteDiggSlashdotEmailShare

Guest Blogger: Space in the in the New U.S. Strategic Guidance for National Security

Victoria Samson

by Victoria Samson, Washington Office Director for Secure World Foundation

The new defense strategic guidance for U.S. national security was released last week and, as its subtitle implies, sets “Priorities for 21st Century Defense.” As such, it gives a fairly broad overview of U.S. national security interests and acknowledges that these challenges must be met in a time of budgetary austerity. It also recognizes new shifts in the international security order and that the U.S. military must evolve along with them. Space is highlighted as an important capability which is essential to ensuring continued U.S. national security and indeed, a stable international security environment. The following are selected passages which may be of interest to the space policy community:

U.S. economic and security interests are inextricably linked to developments in the arc extending from the Western Pacific and East Asia into the Indian Ocean region and South Asia, creating a mix of evolving challenges and opportunities. Accordingly, while the U.S. military will continue to contribute to security globally, we will of necessity rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region. Our relationships with Asian allies and key partners are critical to the future stability and growth of the region. We will emphasize our existing alliances, which provide a vital foundation for Asia-Pacific security. We will also expand our networks of cooperation with emerging partners throughout the Asia-Pacific to ensure collective capability and capacity for securing common interests. The United States is also investing in a long-term strategic partnership with India to support its ability to serve as a regional economic anchor and provider of security in the broader Indian Ocean region. Furthermore, we will maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula by effectively working with allies and other regional states to deter and defend against provocation from North Korea, which is actively pursuing a nuclear weapons program. (p.2)

The maintenance of peace, stability, the free flow of commerce, and of U.S. influence in this dynamic region will depend in part on an underlying balance of military capability and presence. Over the long term, China’s emergence as a regional power will have the potential to affect the U.S. economy and our security in a variety of ways. Our two countries have a strong stake in peace and stability in East Asia and an interest in building a cooperative bilateral relationship. However, the growth of China’s military power must be accompanied by greater clarity of its strategic intentions in order to avoid causing friction in the region. The United States will continue to make the necessary investments to ensure that we maintain regional access and the ability to operate freely in keeping with our treaty obligations and with international law. Working closely with our network of allies and partners, we will continue to promote a rules-based international order that ensures underlying stability and encourages the peaceful rise of new powers, economic dynamism, and constructive defense cooperation. (p.2)

To enable economic growth and commerce, America, working in conjunction with allies and partners around the world, will seek to protect freedom of access throughout the global commons – those areas beyond national jurisdiction that constitute the vital connective tissue of the international system. Global security and prosperity are increasingly dependent on the free flow of goods shipped by air or sea. State and non-state actors pose potential threats to access in the global commons, whether through opposition to existing norms or other anti-access approaches. Both state and non-state actors possess the capability and intent to conduct cyber espionage and, potentially, cyber attacks on the United States, with possible severe effects on both our military operations and our homeland. Growth in the number of space-faring nations is also leading to an increasingly congested and contested space environment, threatening safety and security. The United States will continue to lead global efforts with capable allies and partners to assure access to and use of the global commons, both by strengthening international norms of responsible behavior and by maintaining relevant and interoperable military capabilities. (p.3)

Deter and Defeat Aggression. U.S. forces will be capable of deterring and defeating aggression by any potential adversary. Credible deterrence results from both the capabilities to deny an aggressor the prospect of achieving his objectives and from the complementary capability to impose unacceptable costs on the aggressor. As a nation with important interests in multiple regions, our forces must be capable of deterring and defeating aggression by an opportunistic adversary in one region even when our forces are committed to a large-scale operation elsewhere. Our planning envisages forces that are able to fully deny a capable state’s aggressive objectives in one region by conducting a combined arms campaign across all domains – land, air, maritime, space, and cyberspace. This includes being able to secure territory and populations and facilitate a transition to stable governance on a small scale for a limited period using standing forces and, if necessary, for an extended period with mobilized forces. Even when U.S. forces are committed to a large-scale operation in one region, they will be capable of denying the objectives of – or imposing unacceptable costs on – an opportunistic aggressor in a second region. U.S. forces will plan to operate whenever possible with allied and coalition forces. Our ground forces will be responsive and capitalize on balanced lift, presence, and prepositioning to maintain the agility needed to remain prepared for the several areas in which such conflicts could occur. (p.4)

Project Power Despite Anti-Access/Area Denial Challenges. In order to credibly deter potential adversaries and to prevent them from achieving their objectives, the United States must maintain its ability to project power in areas in which our access and freedom to operate are challenged. In these areas, sophisticated adversaries will use asymmetric capabilities, to include electronic and cyber warfare, ballistic and cruise missiles, advanced air defenses, mining, and other methods, to complicate our operational calculus. States such as China and Iran will continue to pursue asymmetric means to counter our power projection capabilities, while the proliferation of sophisticated weapons and technology will extend to non-state actors as well. Accordingly, the U.S. military will invest as required to ensure its ability to operate effectively in anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) environments. This will include implementing the Joint Operational Access Concept, sustaining our undersea capabilities, developing a new stealth bomber, improving missile defenses, and continuing efforts to enhance the resiliency and effectiveness of critical space-based capabilities. (pp.4-5)

Operate Effectively in Cyberspace and Space. Modern armed forces cannot conduct high-tempo, effective operations without reliable information and communication networks and assured access to cyberspace and space. Today space systems and their supporting infrastructure face a range of threats that may degrade, disrupt, or destroy assets. Accordingly, DoD will continue to work with domestic and international allies and partners and invest in advanced capabilities to defend its networks, operational capability, and resiliency in cyberspace and space. (p.5)

Guest Blogger: Translation Issues in the 2011 Chinese White Paper on Space Activities

by Dr. Guoyo Wang, Visiting Scholar, National Center for Remote Sensing, Air, and Space Law

It appears that the improper Chinese expression and English translation error that exists in China’s 2006 White Paper and some official statement and addresses made by some Chinese officials has been repeated in China’s new 2011 White Paper.

The 2011 White Paper, like the older documents states that “outer space is the common wealth of mankind”. The author recommends the term of art, “the exploration and use of outer space shall be the province of all mankind” be used instead of the expression, “outer space is the common wealth of mankind”.
The meaning of “common wealth” causes some confusion. Does it mean that China asserts that “outer space” is the “joint possession” of mankind? Does it mean that China maintains that the right to explore and use outer space should be based on the consent of all mankind? Both possibilities are incorrect.

There are two Chinese words used in China’s official documents for the translation of “common wealth”. One is “共同财产”. In English it means “joint possession”. The other one, which is used in both White Papers, is “共同财富”. In Chinese it means having the right to share things and having an obligation to protect them. This word should be translated into “common heritage” but not “common wealth”. Therefore, “common wealth of mankind” in China’s White Papers should not be taken as “joint possession of mankind”, but as “common heritage of mankind” as in the Moon Treaty. It is a translation error.

However, China is not a party to the Moon Treaty. So it is improper for China to hold the same position that is contained in the Moon Treaty in its national space document. Therefore, it is an improper expression.

Considering China is a Party to the Outer Space Treaty, the author suggests changing “outer space is the common wealth of mankind” to “the exploration and use of outer space shall be the province of all mankind”. This change is in keeping with the current status of international space law and the due international obligations of China.
The subject of this post is the result of research conducted by the author and Professor Joanne Gabrynowicz during the author’s stay as a visiting scholar at the National Center for Remote Sensing, Air, and Space Law. During the last few years, Professor Gabrynowicz had read a number of Chinese English language publications in which the term “common wealth” was used to describe the legal status of outer space. Since the term “common wealth” is not a treaty term, she and Prof. Wang decided to research and trace the English and Chinese translations.

Guest Blogger Parviz Tarikhi: Manned Space Flight Mission of Iran

Parviz Tarikhi (http://parviztarikhi.wordpress.com) is a space science and technology specialist in Iran majoring in radar remote sensing since 1994. He holds a PhD degree in physics focusing on microwave remote sensing. He has been involved with the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS) since 2000, including as Second Vice-Chair and Rapporteur in 2004-06 of the committee bureau. Since 2001 he has co-chaired Action Team number 1 of UNISPACE-III with the mission ‘to develop a comprehensive worldwide environmental monitoring strategy’. From 2004-07 he led the Office for Specialized International Cooperation of the Iranian Space Agency. He is also a freelance journalist and technical writer who has made in the meantime years of research and study on the developments and status of space science and technology with a particular focus on Iran.

In recent times the idea of sending a human to space is brought up frequently by the top authorities in Iran. In the opening remarks of the 10th Conference of the Iranian Aerospace Society held on 1-3 March 2011 in Tarbiat Modarres University [this university’s main task is the education and breeding the tutors and educators to teach in the universities of Iran] of Tehran believing that the space power [of each country] is realized when it succeeds to send human to space the head of the Iranian Space Agency (ISA), Hamid Fazeli stated that only three countries around the world had prospered to attain this capability. He added that based on the I. R. President’s order a human should be sent to space by 2021 and in this connection the studies and programs for sending human to space and Moon had been started. ‘In the framework of the first Five-Year program of sending human to space we plan to send and retrieve an astronaut to the height of sub-200 kilometres’, he announced. The head of the space agency related the success of the plan for sending human to space to the necessary concentrated financial state supports to the agency. [1]

The background of Iran’s manned space flight program goes to two decades ago. The country revealed its intension for sending a human to space on 21 June 1990 in course of the summit of the presidents of the date of Iran and the Soviet Union. Both the countries agreed to make joint Soviet-Iranian manned flights to the Mir space station. Dissolution of the Soviet Union soon after in 1991 caused the interruption of the agreement. [2] However in November 2005 the authorities of ISA declared a plan for manned space flight and the plans for the development of a spacecraft and a space laboratory as well. On 20 August 2008, the president of the space agency announced the country’s plan to launch a manned mission into space within a decade for which the goal was divulged to be in order to make Iran the leading space power of the region by 2021. [3]

Iran’s continued intention to benefit the experience and achievements of the avant-garde space faring countries such as the Russian Federation in the framework of joint manned space flights and implementing research projects in space is promising and is the indication of the country’s interest in the international cooperation in space arena that is worth to be strengthened and supported. Such the idea was emphasized as instance during the meeting for celebrating the International Astronaut Day on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the human flight to space that was held at the headquarters of ISA in Tehran on Tuesday 12 April 2011. In the meeting the president of the space agency reiterated readiness of Iran for bilateral cooperation due to the long-term involvement of ISA in the activities of peaceful uses of space technology. As the ad-hoc invitee to that meeting, Alexander Sadovnikov, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Iran stated that the cooperation between Iran and Russian Federation in space technology that was started 20 years ago has ever been continued despite of some problems. He added, ‘Iran’s recent successes in the field of scientific space research shows that not only the Iranian astronauts will be sent to space in the near future but also the Iranian space technologies in line with the technologies of other space faring nations will be used.’ He foresaw that the Iranian and Russian astronauts could conduct joint research projects, and that both the countries are interested in establishing a scientific and technical cooperation atmosphere in the field of space free of political considerations. [4, 5] ‘It would not be the matter of my surprise if I witness that someday in the International Space Station the Iranian scientists would work and research along with the scientists of the other nations,’ he pointed out. [6]

The space endeavor of each country in general and the plans for life in space in particular would be of great value and effectiveness if free of the tropism of supremacy in the use of space and the related technologies it is managed to enjoy the goal of exploring the universe, raising the quality of life, prosperity, welfare and the sustainable development of the nation.

References:

[1] ISA’s News Archive (Persian Version): Sending Iranian astronaut to sub-200 km orbit, Iranian Space Agency- Tehran, 1 March 2011, http://isa.ir/components1.php?rQV===AfABkO0hXZUh2YyFWZz9lZ8BUMApDZJRnblJXYw9lZ8BEM1QDQ6QWStVGdp9lZ8BUM4ATMApDZJ52bpR3Yh9lZ (accessed 25 April 2011)

[2]Wikipedia: Iranian Space Agency, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_Space_Agency (accessed 25 April 2011)

[3] Harvey, Brian; Smid, Henk; Pirard, Theo: Emerging Space Powers; the New Space Programs of Asia, the Middle East, and South America, Springer/Praxis, February 2010, pp. 306-308

[4] Mehr News archive (Persian Version): The cooperation between Iran and Russia in space science/ Iranians are getting powerful in space science, Tehran, 12 April 2011, http://www.mehrnews.com/fa/NewsDetail.aspx?pr=s&query=%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B3%DB%8C%D9%87%20&NewsID=1287242 (accessed 28 April 2011)

[5]RIA NOVOSTI-Russian News & Information Agency (Persian Version): The International Astronaut Day was held in Iran, Moscow, 12 April 2011, http://pe.rian.ru/science/spice/20110412/129077839.html (accessed 25 April 2011)

[6] ISA’s News Archive (Persian Version): The ceremony for celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first human in space, Iranian Space Agency- Tehran, 12 April 2011, http://isa.ir/components1.php?rQV==wHQxAkOklUZnFWdn5WYMJXZ0VWbhJXYw9lZ8BkM2QDQ6QWStVGdp9lZ8BUM4ATMApDZJ52bpR3Yh9lZ (accessed 28 April 2011)

Guest Blogger, Peter J. Brown: Satellite Dishes are Chattering Away in Pakistan

Peter J. Brown is a Maine-based freelance writer who has specialized in satellite technology for more than two decades. He is a former senior multimedia editor for “Via Satellite” magazine. His articles about the TV industry’s migration to digital technology and various satellite newsgathering applications appeared in “Broadcasting & Cable” and “TV Technology” magazines, too. He has written about the role of satellites in major disasters for “Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness”, a journal of the American Medical Association, among other publications. His coverage of Asian-related satellite developments has appeared in “Asia Times Online” as well as “Japan Security Watch”.

The satellite dimension of the entire Bin Laden affair is complex indeed, and the analysis of same is ongoing. This involves much more than the role of the real-time satellite surveillance and communications in the overall command and control of the U.S. raid on the Bin Laden compound which included multiple live feeds back to the White House and the Pentagon.

With more emphasis now being placed on the Bin Laden compound as a command center, the earlier placement of satellite downlinks within the compound itself takes on added importance, especially since the release of a video showing Bin Laden watching satellite TV.

Regarding the actual satellite dishes installed there, early press reports by Reuters and others mentioned a single satellite dish because the big dish could clearly spotted, and the smaller one(s) were missed entirely. Many overhead photos of the compound omit the smaller one(s) as well.

Later, the satellite dish profile of this compound was changed. For example, two dishes can be seen here .

Notice the intentional fudging when it comes to the actual number of dishes present. This writer is proceeding on the basis that only two dishes were installed there, but there are reports that suggest that more were in place. While these might all be receive – only devices, the smaller dish(es) might well be two-way Internet capable and perhaps even satellite phone-capable model(s). Until we know more for sure, the fact that the much smaller one(s) may have been purposefully concealed in particular should not be overlooked.

Keep in mind that in the past few days, Pakistani authorities took steps to suspend satellite uplinking activities by several foreign news organizations. Here is an excerpt from a news article published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2011 -

“After issuing show-cause notices, Pemra (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) suspended uplink facility of Fox News, NBC News, CNN, CNS, IBN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Voice of America and Sky News for violating Section 31 of the Pemra Act of 2007.

“According to the Section 31 of the act, no satellite uplink could be established “without a valid teleport or satellite TV licence from the authority (Pemra); The authority may…issue permission in writing to any party to carry out temporary uplinking (facility) from a ground transmission facility to a satellite…to transmit any programme within or outside Pakistan.” “The immediate suspension of signals of these international news channels has been made to preserve Pemra rules,” said (Information Minister Firdous Aashiq Awan).

“They were violating Pemra rules, so we suspended their transmissions after conducting internal inquiries against them,” she added. These channels, Awan said, had been asked to submit explanations of their inappropriate behaviour within a few days. Pemra issues temporary uplinking permission for live coverage from Pakistan for a specific event and time. (See full article at – http://tribune.com.pk/story/164300/satellite-uplink-rights-of-bbc-cnn- suspended/ on 8 May 2011)

We mention this crackdown because it raises the question as to whether or not two-way satellite equipment in place in the compound was licensed or not – that is, if any two-way satellite equipment was actually in place in the compound.

This discussion is also relevant given that the spotlight is now shining on the CIA’s prolonged surveillance operations from a fixed location nearby the Bin Laden compound. Here again, Pakistan may be wondering it its rules and regulations concerning satellite uplinks might have been violated. Or perhaps the sustained use of covert satellite uplinks by U.S. agents operating inside Pakistan is not something that concerns the Pakistani government at all due to some prior agreement with the U.S.

The idea that covert uplinks might be disguised to look like satellite TV reception equipment should not come as a surprise.

And what has happened to this equipment now? Is it still there? Has any of this satellite equipment mysteriously disappeared? After all, it is not unusual for satellite equipment to be seized as part of an investigation. For example, this was the case during a raid of one apartment in a suburb of Toronto. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrived there shortly after 9/11 and officers could be observed in plain sight as they removed satellite gear from the balcony according to one reporter at the scene. The RCMP subsequently said nothing about this equipment.

Another possibility to keep in mind is that perhaps the big dish in the Bin Laden compound was used to signal others outside the compound not via electronic means or via satellite, but simply by pointing the dish in a particular direction or elevating it to a certain angle.  This has happened before, too.

In terms of these and other issues, there is much to digest in terms of what all these satellite dishes in Pakistan are telling us both from a legal standpoint as well as from an operational perspective.

Guest Blogger Parviz Tarikhi: Supreme Council of Space in the Way to Play its Supervisory Role

Parviz Tarikhi (http://parviztarikhi.wordpress.com) is a space science and technology specialist in Iran majoring in radar remote sensing since 1994. He holds a PhD degree in physics focusing on microwave remote sensing. He has been involved with the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS) since 2000, including as Second Vice-Chair and Rapporteur in 2004-06 of the committee bureau. Since 2001 he has co-chaired Action Team number 1 of UNISPACE-III with the mission ‘to develop a comprehensive worldwide environmental monitoring strategy’. From 2004-07 he led the Office for Specialized International Cooperation of the Iranian Space Agency. He is also a freelance journalist and technical writer who has made in the meantime years of research and study on the developments and status of space science and technology with a particular focus on Iran.

By the inception of annexing Iran’s space administration to the Presidency Institution based on the approval of the Iranian Administrational Supreme Council on 29 September 2010, the third meeting of the Supreme Council of Space (SCS) was held on 5 March 2011 with the chairmanship of the President of I.R. Iran and other members of the Council including the Minister of Defense and the Armed Forces Logistics, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Minister of Science, Research and Technology, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the head of the Iranian Space Agency (ISA). Emphasizing on the importance of the space technologies and the relevant activities of the country the President of I.R. Iran urged the implementation of space programs and the launches. Using all of the available capacities in the country by the space agency in reaching its goals and fulfilling the major space plans of the country in parallel with the regional and global cooperation in the peaceful uses of space technology was highly considered by the President for which he mandated wide and effective presence and contribution of ISA. The head of ISA in the continuation of the meeting stated that after the annexation of ISA to the Presidency Institution the agency aimed to wholly manage country’s space systems and the related technologies; as a result the revision in the strategies and space plans of the country was mandatory. [1]

Following the approval of the statute of the agency on 11 June 2005 SCS held its first meeting on 19 July 2005 with the chairmanship of S. Muhammad Khatami, I.R. Iran’s President of the date. The second meeting of SCS was held a year later in July 2006 chaired by Mahmud Ahmadinejad. However, it was after 56 months that SCS convened for the third time. The reason for this long-term delay was the fluctuations in the status of the Council. SCS legitimized by the approval of establishing a new regime for space issues in Iran according to the Article 9 of the Law for Tasks and Authorizations of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology passed by the Parliament of Iran on 10 December 2003. ISA was then established on 1 February 2004. Based on the approved statute ISA mandated to cover and support all the activities in Iran related to the peaceful applications of space science and technology under the leadership of a council named the ‘Supreme Council of Space’ chaired by the President of the state. The Council’s main goals included policy making for the application of space technologies aiming peaceful uses of outer space, manufacturing, launching and use of the national research satellites, approving the space related state and private sector programs, promoting the partnership of the private and cooperative sectors in efficient uses of space, identifying guidelines concerning the regional and international cooperation in space issues. To follow and implement the strategies set by SCS, ISA affiliated with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in the form of an autonomous organization was organized. The President of ISA held the position of the Vice-Minister of Communications and Information Technology and the secretariat of SCS at the same time. [2, 3]

ISA continued implementing its tasks and duties under the supervision of SCS until when the state decided to merge the supreme councils relying on the approval of Administrational Supreme Council in August 2007 and in line with the implementation of the IV Development Program of the country.  The ‘Supreme Council of Education, Research and Technology’ was established by merging the ‘Council of Science, Research and Technology’ and  11 supreme councils including Information Technology, Communications, Space, Atomic Energy, Communication Media Security, Education and Training, Educational Revolution Logistics, Informatics, Science Applications, Biotechnology, and Standards. However, the new ‘Supreme Council of Education, Research and Technology’ was dissolved soon after in February 2008 and its functions were put on the newly set-up of “Science, Research and Technology Commission” under the Cabinet. [4, 5]

Dissolution of SCS urged the revision in the statute of ISA to allow it to act based on the legislations and approved laws and regulations. To this mean the Council of Ministers of I.R. Iran on 15 June 2008 approved the amendments to the statute of ISA approved on 11 June 2005 which following the investigations of the Guardian Council of the Constitution of IR Iran led to final approval on 2 July 2008. The most important change in the statute of 2008 in comparison to the former statute was the cancellation of the supervision of SCS with the leadership of Iran’s President of state. As a result ISA became merely an administration under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology that was responsible to report to the relevant Minister. It was actually the indication of the limitation and confinement for the Agency although the new statute provided ISA with more financial authorization to focus and regulate its efforts for institutionalization of space activities and benefiting the potentials and available sources to reach its goals. [6] The new statute moreover authorized ISA to proceed for establishing space research centers and firms with the endorsement of the Council for Development of Higher Education; this task was not included in the statute of 2005 of ISA. Also authorizing ISA according to new law to receive the approved tariffs for offering the space services charged the Agency to act based on the rates approved by the Cabinet and settle the funds to the state public revenue account. Additionally, in line with the Article 68 of the Law for Management of Country Service approved in 2007, ISA in coordination of the Presidential Deputyship of Management and Human Assets Development was authorized to make necessary superior payments with the endorsement of the Cabinet to draw and retain appropriate human sources for the specialized and managerial posts. [7]

In the continuation of above said situation the Parliament of Iran considered the dissolution of the councils as illegal and decided to revive the dissolved councils while the Guardian Council of the Constitution of I.R. Iran returned the approval of the Parliament for revision and amendments. By the approval of the Expediency Council on 27 September 2008 the state was mandated to revive the dissolved councils after 8 months since their dissolution. Reviving of SCS raised the need for mandatory change of the statute of ISA. The statute was needed to ratify the relation of the revived SCS with ISA and redefine the functions and duties of ISA in the new configuration based on the aims and mandates of SCS. [8] In practice this ratification has not yet taken place however by the recent administrational promotion of ISA the need for setting up a comprehensive statute based on the new administrational changes to be approved by the Parliament of Iran is necessary.

Lack of SCS’s supervision and control for a period of about 4 years practically led to turmoil in functioning of ISA in terms of concentrated and comprehensive policymaking, economic and efficiency caretaking, and implementing the space related plans and programs. In light of the administrational arbitrations offered to ISA legitimately and the considerable budgetary funds which was supplied to the agency by the state, ISA forced to only play the role of a state contractor to commission the academic and non-civilian as well as private sectors for proposing and implementing the space related research and experimental plans almost with similar aims and as of parallel endeavors. As an example the approximately tripled quantitative growth of the Iranian satellites developed after the launch of Omid in comparison to those which planned before it is the outcome of the above-mentioned approach. [9] It is expected that SCS in its new era of life play its high and pivotal role in supervision and control of the national space agency and take into consideration the important items including,

  • Presenting and interpreting of the realistic visions on the use of space and the applications of space technologies according to which the related and efficient policies and strategies will be configured and take shape.
  • Policy making to employ and use of the most efficient and best existing capacities, sources and possibilities throughout the country with a scientific and national supervision
  • Giving high priority to the international exchanges and interactions believing on the reality that space and space technology applications is substantially of international character and nature.

References:

[1] ISA’s News Archive (Persian Version): The third meeting of the Supreme Council of Space was held with the presence of Dr. Ahmadinejad, Iranian Space Agency- Tehran, 6 March 2011,

http://www.isa.ir/components1.php?rQV==wHQxAkOklUZnFWdn5WYMJXZ0VWbhJXYw9lZ8BUM1QDQ6QWStVGdp9lZ8BUM4ATMApDZJ52bpR3Yh9lZ (accessed 18 March 2011)

[2] Harvey, Brian; Smid, Henk; Pirard, Theo: Emerging Space Powers; the New Space Programs of Asia, the Middle East, and South America, Springer/Praxis, February 2010, pp. 264-268 & 286

[3] Tarikhi, Parviz: Iran’s space program; Riding high for peace and pride, Space Policy International Journal (Elsevier), Issue 3, Volume 25, August 2009, pp. 160-173 (DOI: 10.1016/j.spacepol.2009.05.010).

[4] Tarikhi, Parviz: Is there a Need for New Space Law? Tehran, 9 November 2008, http://rescommunis.wordpress.com/2008/11/09/guest-blogger-parviz-tarikhi-is-there-a-need-for-new-space-law/ (accessed 17 March 2011)

[5] Tarikhi, Parviz: New Statute for ISA- more confinement or more freedom? Tehran, 11 September 2008, http://rescommunis.wordpress.com/2008/09/11/guest-blogger-parviz-tarikhi-new-statute-for-isa-more-confinement-or-more-freedom/ (accessed 17 March 2011)

[6] Tarikhi, Parviz: Iranian Cabinet approves new Statute of the Iranian Space Agency Tehran, 22 July 2008, http://rescommunis.wordpress.com/2008/07/22/guest-blogger-parviz-tarikhi-iranian-cabinet-approves-new-statute-of-the-iranian-space-agency/ (accessed 18 March 2011)

[7] Tarikhi, Parviz: Statutes of Iranian Space Agency (2005 & 2008), Journal of Space Law, USA, Vol. 34, No. 2, winter 2008, 15 pp., December 2008, http://parviztarikhi.wordpress.com/features-2/statutes-of-iranian-space-agency-2005-2008/ (accessed 16 March 2011)

[8] Tarikhi, Parviz: More significant role for Iran’s space administration, Karaj, Iran, 11 November 2010, http://rescommunis.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/more-significant-role-for-iran%e2%80%99s-space-administration/ (accessed 17 March 2011)

[9] Tarikhi, Parviz: Iran space development; to reach the zenith lets fly altogether as a Simorgh, Karaj, Iran, 7 February 2011, http://rescommunis.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/guest-blogger-parviz-tarikhi-iran-space-development-to-reach-the-zenith-lets-fly-altogether-as-a-simorgh/ (accessed 17 March 2011)

 

More significant role for Iran’s space administration

Parviz Tarikhi (http://parviztarikhi.wordpress.com) is a space science and technology specialist in Iran majoring in radar remote sensing since 1994. He holds a PhD in physics focusing on microwave remote sensing. He has been involved with the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS) since 2000, including as Second Vice-Chair and Rapporteur in 2004-06 of the committee bureau. Since 2001 he has co-chaired Action Team number 1 of UNISPACE-III with the mission ‘to develop a comprehensive worldwide environmental monitoring strategy’. From 2004-07 he led the Office for Specialized International Cooperation of the Iranian Space Agency. He is also a freelance journalist and technical writer who has made in the meantime years of research and study on the developments and status of space science and technology with a particular focus on Iran.

Following the annexation of the Iranian Space Agency (ISA) to Iran’s Presidency Institution that was put in force by the approval of the Iranian Administrational Supreme Council on 29 September 2010, the activity of ISA under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology was concluded after about 7 years. The President of I. R. Iran has appointed Dr. Hamid Fazeli as the in-charge of the presidency for ISA who will work as the I.R. Iran President’s Deputy in the meantime.1 This new administrational promotion is the indication of the significance of Iran’s space endeavor for the government.

ISA was established on 1 February 2004 according to the Article 9 of the Law for Tasks and Authorizations of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology passed on 10 December 2003 by the Parliament of Iran. Based on the approved statute ISA mandated to cover and support all the activities in Iran concerning the peaceful applications of space science and technology under the leadership of a Supreme Council of Space chaired by Iran’s President. The Council’s main goals included policy making for the application of space technologies aiming peaceful uses of outer space, manufacturing, launching and use of the national research satellites, approving the space related state and private sector programs, promoting the partnership of the private and cooperative sectors in efficient uses of space, identifying guidelines concerning the regional and international cooperation in space issues. To follow and implement the strategies set by the Council, ISA affiliated with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in the form of an autonomous organization, was organized. The President of ISA held the position of the Vice-Minister of Communications and Information Technology and the secretariat of Supreme Council of Space at the same time. 2, 3

The space agency continued implementing its tasks and duties under the supervision of the ‘Supreme Council of Space’ until when the government decided to merge the supreme councils according to the approval of Administrational Supreme Council in August 2007 and in line with the implementation of the IV Development Program of the country.  The ‘Supreme Council of Education, Research and Technology’ was established by merging the ‘Council of Science, Research and Technology’ and  11 supreme councils including Information Technology, Communications, Space, Atomic Energy, Communication Media Security, Education and Training, Educational Revolution Logistics, Informatics, Science Applications, Biotechnology, and Standards. However, the new ‘Supreme Council of Education, Research and Technology’ was dissolved soon after in February 2008 and its functions were put on the newly set-up of “Science, Research and Technology Commission” under the Iranian Cabinet. 4, 5

Change in the status of the Supreme Council of Space urged the revision in the statute of ISA to allow it for functioning according to the legislations and approved laws and regulations. In this connection the Council of Ministers of IR Iran on 15 June 2008 approved the amendments to the statute of ISA approved in June 2005 which following the investigations of the Guardian Council of the Constitution of IR Iran led to final approval on 2 July 2008. The most important change in the new statute in comparison to the former one was that the supervision of the Supreme Council of Space with the leadership of the President of Iran has been cancelled. As a result ISA became only an administration under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology that was responsible to report to the relevant Minister. It was actually the indication of the limitation and confinement for the Agency although the new statute provided ISA with more financial authorization to focus and regulate its efforts for institutionalization of space activities and benefiting the potentials and available sources to reach its goals.6 The new statute moreover authorized ISA to proceed for establishing space research centers and firms with the endorsement of the Council for Development of Higher Education. This task was not included in the older statute of ISA approved in June 2005. Also authorizing ISA according to new law to receive the approved tariffs for offering the space services charged the Agency to act based on the rates approved by the Cabinet and settle the funds to the state public revenue account. Furthermore, in line with the Article 68 of the Law for Management of Country Service approved in 2007, ISA in coordination of the Presidential Deputyship of Management and Human Assets Development was authorized to make necessary superior payments with the endorsement of the Cabinet to draw and retain appropriate human resources for the specialized and managerial positions. 7

The Iranian Parliament considered the dissolution of the councils as illegal in continuation and decided to revive the dissolved councils however the Guardian Council of the Constitution of IR Iran returned the approval of the Parliament for revision and amendments. By the approval of the Expediency Council on 27 September 2008 the State was mandated to revive the dissolved councils after 8 months since their dissolution. Reviving of the Supreme Council of Space raised the need for mandatory change of the statute of ISA. The statute was needed to ratify the relation of the revived Supreme Council of Space with ISA and redefine the functions and duties of the Agency in the new configuration based on the aims and mandates of the Supreme Council of Space. This ratification did not took place in practice however by the recent administrational promotion of ISA the need for setting up a newer statute based on the new administrational changes to be approved by the Iranian Parliament is a must.

Mr. Fazeli is the fifth president of the Iranian Space Agency who is appointed since the establishment of ISA. He holds a PhD degree in Mechanics from the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. Before appointment as the in-charge of the presidency of ISA he was working as the president of the Aerospace Research Institute (ARI) of Iran since February 2009.   ISA’s first president, Mr. S. Hassan Shafti, conducted the Agency from its establishment in February 2004 to 18 October 20052 while the second president, Mr. Ahmad Talebzadeh, headed the Agency by 29 July 2008.8 Mr. Reza Taghipour (currently the Minister of Communications and Information Technology) was the successor of the second president who presided the agency by 22 September 2009.2 He was replaced by Mr. Muhammad Ali Forghani whose presidency lasted by 29 September 2010.

References:

[1] ISA’s News Archive (Persian Version): Appointment of the in-charge of the  presidency for the Iranian Space Agency by I.R. Iran President, Iranian Space Agency- Tehran, 19 October 2010,

http://www.isa.ir/components1.php?rQV==wHQxAkOklUZnFWdn5WYMJXZ0VWbhJXYw9lZ8BENzQDQ6QWStVGdp9lZ8BUM4ATMApDZJ52bpR3Yh9lZ  (accessed 29 October 2010)

[2] Harvey, Brian; Smid, Henk; Pirard, Theo: Emerging Space Powers; the New Space Programs of Asia, the Middle East, and South America, Springer/Praxis, February 2010, pp. 264-268 & 286

[3] Tarikhi, Parviz: Iran’s space program; Riding high for peace and pride, Space Policy International Journal (Elsevier), Issue 3, Volume 25, August 2009, pp. 160-173 (DOI: 10.1016/j.spacepol.2009.05.010).

[4] Tarikhi, Parviz: Is there a Need for New Space Law? Tehran, 9 November 2008, http://rescommunis.wordpress.com/2008/11/09/guest-blogger-parviz-tarikhi-is-there-a-need-for-new-space-law/  (accessed 29 October 2010)

[5] Tarikhi, Parviz: New Statute for ISA- more confinement or more freedom? Tehran, 11 September 2008, http://rescommunis.wordpress.com/2008/09/11/guest-blogger-parviz-tarikhi-new-statute-for-isa-more-confinement-or-more-freedom/ (accessed 29 October 2010)

[6] Tarikhi, Parviz: Iranian Cabinet approves new Statute of the Iranian Space Agency Tehran, 22 July 2008, http://rescommunis.wordpress.com/2008/07/22/guest-blogger-parviz-tarikhi-iranian-cabinet-approves-new-statute-of-the-iranian-space-agency/ (accessed 29 October 2010)

[7] Tarikhi, Parviz: Statutes of Iranian Space Agency (2005 & 2008), Journal of Space Law, USA, Vol. 34, No. 2, winter 2008, 15 pp., December 2008, http://parviztarikhi.wordpress.com/features-2/statutes-of-iranian-space-agency-2005-2008/ (accessed 29 October 2010)

[8] Gabrynowicz, Joanne Irene: Mr. Ahmad Talebzadeh appointed Director General, Department of External Relations and Legal Affairs for Asian-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization in Beijing, China, 10 February 2010, http://rescommunis.wordpress.com/2010/02/10/mr-ahmad-talebzadeh-appointed-director-general-department-of-external-relations-and-legal-affairs-for-asian-pacific-space-cooperation-organization-in-beijing-china/ (accessed 29 October 2010)

Guest Blogger Prof. Li Shouping: The Chinese Test on Ground-based Midcourse Missile Interception Technology – A Game Between China and the United States

by Prof. Li Shouping

Li Shouping, Ph.D. in international law, professor of international law at the School of Law of Beijing Institute of Technology. He is the Director of the Institute of Space Law. Through a grant from the China Scholarship Council, Prof. Li is a visiting scholar at the National Center for Remote Sensing, Air and Space Law at the University of Mississippi School of Law.

On January 11, 2010, China conducted a test on ground-based midcourse missile interception technology within its territory. The Chinese government announced that the test achieved the expected objective; that it is defensive in nature; and, it is not targeted at any country. As a scholar of international law, I would like to analyze the event and share my views with those interested in the test.

My preliminary view about the test is that it is just a game about the U.S. sales of weapons to Taiwan; about the non-proliferation of missiles; and, about the prevention of an arms race in outer space between the U.S. and China.

The test is a direct response to the U.S. Department of Defense’s decision on January 6, 2010 to sell weapons, including the Patriot III anti-missile system, to Taiwan. The sale of an American anti-missile system to Taiwan means that Taiwan will be integrated into the Theater Missile Defense System (TMD) of the United States. Therefore, the Chinese government thought the sale harmed the sovereignty of China and violated the principle of sovereignty in international law.

Secondly, China conducted the test of missile interception technology in its own territory. Therefore it can be recognized as an act of national defense. In the framework of United Nations, the test of missile interception technology has never been forbidden even though the radical international document, The International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, article 3(3) provides that the Subscribing States resolve, “To exercise maximum possible restraint in the development, testing and deployment of Ballistic Missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction, including, where possible, to reduce national holdings of such missiles, in the interest of global and regional peace and security.” Actually, before China conducted the test, some countries had conducted the similar tests of missile interception.

The legal framework of United Nations lacks a specific and perfect international legal system to prevent the proliferation of ballistic missiles and the test of missile interception technology. In existing international law, the 1972 Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty) is the most important law source against the proliferation of nuclear weapons and their launch vehicles. There are currently 32 international treaties on disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation treaty that are interconnected with it.  Unfortunately, the United States withdrew from the ABM Treaty in December of 2001. At this point, I don’t think there is any reason to blame the Chinese for the test at this time.

Thirdly, China is actually one of the countries facing a missile threat. At present, only the United States and a few other countries have the middle ground-based anti-missile interception technology. Therefore China will greatly enhance its ability to defend its homeland with this technology. At the same time, I think China also just wanted to strike a balance in the worldwide field of missile interception technology.

Finally, after the Cold War, the United States established the dominant international structure in the world. In this situation, if there is no challenging power to balance the dominance, the international community will be dominated and international law will be as if it were national law.

In the process of weaponization of outer space, if other countries do not have enough rival space weapons to compete with those of the United States, the United States won’t come to the negotiation table to establish a legal system to prevent an arms race in outer space. It is the same in the area of ballistic missiles.

If there are rival space weapons, the United States will recognize that American space weapons can’t really protect the security of its space assets. Only international cooperation to prevent the proliferation of space weapons and arms race in outer space can secure space assets for the United States.

The history of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons supports the above views. If Russia and China had no nuclear weapons in those years, the U.N. non-proliferation mechanism would not have been established.

Of course, international peace and security doesn’t need balance. History has indicated that balance usually results in an arms race, then to war or terrorism. Only international cooperation can establish a harmonious international community and harmonious international relations.


Guest Blogger: Why Not Privatize?

PhilipJuneBy Philip G. June, Industry Blogger

 BSME; Georgia Institute of Technology. Mr. June is an industry blogger with 5 years experience in the aerospace industry, including 2 years as an engineer at NASA Johnson Space Center. He can be contacted at Philip.June@gmail.com.

Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship Two (SS2) is scheduled to rollout of the Scaled Composite facility in Mojave, California this December. Shortly after rollout, SS2 will make Glide flights followed by powered flights to space later in 2010. The company plans to begin providing commercial services in 2011. Virgin Galactic President Will Whitehorn feels that “[The company] has got the basis for a really good business in three areas – payloads, science in space and space tourism” (from Aviation Week – September 4, 2009). In a tough economic climate, Virgin Galactic boasts $60 million in total income from 300 suborbital investors. The company’s capital was recently boosted by a $280 million investment from Aabar, an investment group based in Abu Dhabi. $100 million of the investment will be used to develop a satellite launch solution for NASA’s request for proposals for a suborbital science program.   

Even with many promising private space upstarts like Virgin Galactic rapidly developing, NASA appears hesitant to broaden its perspective. Increasing privatization efforts will provide additional resources that may significantly ease NASA’s financial burdens. By sharing costs and operational objectives with private companies – at least in cargo and payload delivery services – NASA could be free to commit more of its limited budget to The Constellation Program and other long-range missions. Private companies have the freedom to develop products quickly, as evidenced by Virgin Galactic’s aggressive SS2 program. Some may say that rapid development of these types of high-cost, high risk technologies is foolish. But with government oversight, private companies can be held to meeting NASA’s core objectives – mitigating risks, assuring operational safety, and insuring mission success. Government action should not be wholly aligned with the private sector but can regulate in a manner that does not preclude investment. A thoughtful course of action could involve strategic capabilities dictated by NASA but with key input from private entities in certain areas.

Privatization is not without its legal obstacles. Increased activity in space will almost certainly lead to further proliferation of space debris, an oft addressed concern of many space law entities. Additionally, how might NASA address new technology agreements with private companies? Recent Space Act Agreements for the new Commercial Crew Development activity may be the template for future agreements. But how would such Acts extend to international entities? What role should international space law play in privatization?

Although NASA and private space companies have difficult legal obstacles ahead, they should push forward towards privatization. NASA has laid a strong foundation for U.S. leadership in space. But constant budget reductions and difficult mission objectives clearly demonstrates NASA’s need for the services of private companies like Virgin Galactic. Space is legally defined as part of the “common heritage of man”. With that idea in mind, the future of human presence in space may depend on cooperation between government and private entities.


 

 

The Impact of the General Election on Japan’s Space Program

AOKIby  Setsuko AOKI

Professor, Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University, Japan

The Election of the members of the House of Representatives, held on 31 August 2009, resulted in a landslide victory for the largest Opposition Party, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). It will bring about the first change of government since 1955. What will happen in the ongoing space programs carried out under the Ruling Coalition Parties of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito?

My speculation is that, other than the organizational structure of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and other important players, civil space programs will more or less stay intact in the short term. Military programs may not be changed drastically due to the fact that Japan has not started serious, concrete military satellite programs other than strengthening the Information Gathering Satellites (IGS) constellation. However, theoretically, future military programs may be held up, including the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) program, if the BMD can be included in space programs.

The next Prime Minister, Mr. Yukio Hatoyama, has been a space enthusiast, and was a leader of the bipartisan group of Members of Parliament (MP), “Group to Study Future Space”. There have been many space-related study groups by the MPs, but Hatoyama’s group focused on the scientific and technology aspects of space, not on the military aspects, which was led by different LDP MPs. He also led the “China-Japan Space Dialogue” and has a deep understanding of space development and use. In the DPJ, there are other members who have been deeply involved with space affairs.

A common understanding on the general direction of Japan’s space programs has been shared between the Coalition Parties and the DPJ. Japan’s first national space law, the Basic Space Law, was made based on the bipartisan Basic Space Bill submitted to the Diet, or Japan’s Parliament, on 9 May 2008 (Bill No. 17). That Bill was easily made into a full-fledged law by an overwhelming majority on 21 May 2008 (Law No.43) and became effective on 27 August 2008. The Basic Space Law is characterized by the following points: (1) the banning of the military use of space is lifted; (2) governmental obligation is stipulated to promote space commercialization; and (3) the restructuring of Japan’s space organization has to be conducted.  There is not much of a difference on the views concerning relaxing the military use of space, at least in concept between LDP and DPJ. On the second point, some DPJ members including Mr. Hososno, Mr. Naito, and Mr. Fujisue (the latter two are Members of the House of Councilors and only Mr. Hosono was reelected on 31 August) support accelerating space commercialization and it was DPJ that placed emphasis on the second point by adding some phrases in making a bipartisan bill in late April 2008.

It is on the third point that the DPJ has a different plan. It still remains to be decided, but the DPJ requires the change of the status of JAXA, which is now under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Arguably, it is believed that DPJ wants JAXA to be an independent organization like NASA, while the Ruling Coalition Parties seem to support having JAXA remain as it is with minor changes in structure, or, alternatively, to be transferred either to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) or the Ministry of Cabinet in order to promote industrialization and commercialization of space. Because restructuring JAXA involves the change of the budgetary appropriation process and affects the interests of several Ministries and related MPs, it has not proceeded as expeditiously as required by the Basic Space Law. But, such a big victory of the DPJ now makes it possible to proceed as it wants. Still, it depends on who will be selected as the leader in space activities, but the restructuring of JAXA could be more drastic.

On the military space programs, not a big difference will be brought about, for Japan does not have plans for new military programs other than IGS, which is a modest constellation of advanced remote sensing satellites operated by the civilian Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center (CSICE) of the Cabinet Secretariat, not by the Ministry of Defense. While a Committee on the Promotion of the Development and Use of Space of the Ministry of Defense released a Basic Policy Relating to the Development and Use of Space on 15 January 2009, it just underlined the importance of collecting information using space and took note of the passive nature of Japan’s defense posture and the importance of using existing civilian space capability. This is due to the tight budget, not proposing concrete plans for future military space programs.

Not in specifically military space, but defense programs in general may change under the DPJ government. On 4 August 2009, the Council of Security and Defense Capabilities submitted its report to the Prime Minister. It is supposed to be the basis of the National Defense Program Outline that will be released in December of this year, the first such Outline since December 2004. No sooner than the Report was released, than Mr. Hatoyama made a statement that a report shall be made from scratch by different members in his administration. The Report by the Council of Security and Defense Capabilities recommends maintaining the strong alliance with the U.S., promoting BMD, and relaxing the complete arms embargo known as “Three Principles on Arms Exports”.