Los Angeles, CA, September 25, 1999 – In a major policy address, NASA Administrator Dan Goldin today endorsed the Space Frontier Foundation’s call for the International Space Station to be handed over to a non-governmental entity once the station is operational. Mr. Goldin also agreed with the Foundation’s call for a new and clearly defined partnership between the private and public sectors in space exploration and development.
In a keynote speech at Space Frontier Conference 8 in Los Angeles, Mr. Goldin stated, “Strategic public-private partnerships between groups like NASA and the Space Frontier Foundation are the only way we will make the new millennium the space millennium. These alliances will let NASA concentrate on its strengths, while allowing the innovative and creative commercial forces to do what they do best.”
While stressing NASA’s core value that all space activities put human safety before business considerations, Mr. Goldin emphasized the space agency’s support for the entrepreneurial space transportation industry, which aims to serve the station and other customers.
Mr. Goldin’s announcement today is in alignment with the Space Frontier Foundation’s AlphaTown campaign, which advocates that the ISS should become the center of the first human community in space. The Foundation’s AlphaTown vision, first proposed in the mid-1990s, calls for the station to be operated privately by a Port Authority or industry consortium. Under this concept, the station becomes a catalyst for commercial activities, purchasing all of its goods, services, and transportation needs from commercial suppliers.
“Today NASA admitted they can’t run the space station and shuttle fleet and fully explore the solar system at the same time. That’s an incredibly positive development,” declared Foundation President Rick Tumlinson. “We hope this is the beginning of a new partnership in space, with clearly defined roles for the public and private sector. Let’s face it, at this critical stage in the opening of the space frontier we need each other. If we each do our jobs right, then very soon average citizens will at last be able to participate in this great human enterprise. It’s time to let the people go!”