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White House Fact Sheet on the United States Commercial Space Launch Policy

September 05, 1990

Policy Findings

A commercial space launch industry can provide many benefits to the U.S. including indirect benefits to U.S. national security.

The long-term goal of the United States is a free and fair market in which U.S. industry can compete. To achieve this, a set of coordinated actions is needed for dealing with international competition in launch goods and services in a manner that is consistent with our nonproliferation and technology transfer objectives. These actions must address both the short term (actions which will affect competitiveness over approximately the next 10 years) and those which will have their principal effect in the longer term (i.e. after approximately the year 2000).

-- In the near term, this includes trade agreements and enforcement of those agreements to limit unfair competition. It also includes the continued use of U.S.-manufactured launch vehicles for launching U.S. Government satellites.

-- For the longer term, the United States should take actions to encourage technical improvements to reduce the cost and increase the reliability of U.S. space launch vehicles.

Implementing Actions

U.S. Government satellites will be launched on U.S.-manufactured launch vehicles unless specifically exempted by the President.

Consistent with guidelines to be developed by the National Space Council, U.S. Government agencies will actively consider commercial space launch needs and factor them into their decisions on improvements in launch infrastructure and launch vehicles aimed at reducing cost and increasing responsiveness and reliability of space launch vehicles.

The U.S. Government will enter into negotiations to achieve agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA), ESA member states, and others as appropriate, which defines principles of free and fair trade.

Nonmarket launch providers of space launch goods and services create a special case because of the absence of market-oriented pricing and cost structures. To deal with their entry into the market there needs to be a transition period during which special conditions may be required.

There also must be an effective means of enforcing international agreements related to space launch goods and services.

George Bush, White House Fact Sheet on the United States Commercial Space Launch Policy Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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