1) SPY SATELLITES BUST BUDGET: Lockheed Martin Corporation has encountered major problems resulting in big cost overruns on the billion-dollar classified satellite contract it has with the U.S. government. Lockheed Martin Astronautics (Denver, Co.) is building the system for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which buys and operates the nation's spy satellites. The satellites are designed to intercept communications transmissions. Sources are calling the situation "the NRO's biggest mismanagement nightmare in a decade." Program costs are expected to run 15-20% over the original budget request.
2) FAILURE EPIDEMIC IN ORBIT: Seven satellites in geostationery orbit have recently experienced power failures with one of them likely to fall out of service in the coming months. In addition, NASA just announced that their NEAR spacecraft, on a mission to an asteroid, has lost contact with NASA after the spacecraft aborted a scheduled engine firing on December 20. All of these are reminders that space technology regularly has failures and makes our concerns about the August, 1999 Cassini fly-by of Earth all the more justified.
3) CROW RESERVATION & SPACE: Native American activists at the Montana Crow Indian Reservation report that Lockheed Martin Corp. has recently visited the reservation to look at a 70,000 acre site that is in the running to be chosen as a launch site for the X-33 experimental space craft. While surveying the land, Lockheed Martin officials went on a buffalo hunt. If chosen, the Crow reservation would experience 40 launches of the X-33. Indian people are being promised jobs in return for use of their land. For more info on the X-33 check NASA's website at: http://rlv.msfc.nasa.gov/
4) SPACE STATION: With Congressional backing of the Int'l Space Station (ISS) waning and costs rising there is growing talk of privatization of the ISS. Estimates are now running at $1.5 billion annually to operate the ISS. Included in the "ideas" for privatization are: Consumer communication; Brand name sponsorship; Taking consumer goods to the ISS and returning them to Earth for sale; and Educational experiments. Look for McDonalds and Coca-Cola to open soon on the ISS!
5) MILITARY & SPACE STATION: Lt. Col Nancy Currie of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command was on-board the December 3 space shuttle mission that carried "Node 1" to the ISS. We have long maintained that the Pentagon will be using the space station (like they previously used the space shuttle) as a platform to conduct Star Wars tests. We must all watch closely to see how the Space Command attempts to use the ISS. For more info on the Space Command check either of these two sites:
6) HANFORD & SPACE: On November 17 anti-nuclear activists from a dozen groups in Seattle, Wa. held a news conference to protest the Department of Energy's (DoE) refusal to hold public hearings on a new proposal to restart Hanford's aging nuclear reactor to make Plutonium and Tritium. The proposal to make Plutonium 238 at the Hanford reactor is dependent on the reactor restarting to make Tritium for nuclear weapons. The Plutonium, the DoE says, will be used for space and satellite electrical generators (like Cassini). For more info contact Peace Action of Washington State: email@example.com
7) ENGLAND MEETING A SUCCESS: On November 14 over 100 people gathered in Leicester, England for the "Colonizing Space Conference" that was organized by the Leicester Peace Action Group. The event was held to call attention to plans to build a "National Space Center" in Leicester, due to open in 2001. Among the questions discussed at the event were:
- Why do we want to go into space?
- Is the cost involved immoral?
- How do we monitor the use of space?
- Can we separate the civil and military uses of space?
8) GERMANY GLOBAL NETWORK MEETING: People from Germany, Russia, England and the U.S. are expected to gather in Darmstadt, Germany on March 3-7, 1999 for the 7th Annual Meeting of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. Two events are planned. From March 3-5 a conference called "Space Use & Ethics: Criteria for the Assesment of Future Space Projects" will be held at the Darmstadt University of Technology. Among the speakers will be representatives from the European Space Agency (ESA); the U.S. Space Command; German Ministry of Defense; and the Global Network. Then on March 5-6 we will hold the organizational meeting of the Global Network. All are urged to attend. Home hospitality for conference attenders will be provided. Darmstadt is located 20 miles south of Frankfurt. Special thanks to Global Network member Regina Hagen in Darmstadt for her great organizing of this event. For a complete event schedule contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
9) COLORADO MEETING: On February 6, 1999 Citizens for Peace in Space (CPIS) will hold an event entitled "Space, Nukes & International Law: A Conference for Citizens. The conference will explore international law as it applies to the unique military activites in Colorado. The First Mennonite Church in Denver will be the site of the meeting. Call CPIS at (719) 389-0644 for more info.
10) FLORIDA MEETING: On February 27, 1999 a "Florida Space Meeting & Vigil" will be held in Cocoa at the Florida Solar Energy Center beginning at 9:30 am. The event is being jointly sponsored by the Global Network and the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice. Following the meeting, at 5:00 pm, a vigil will be held at the main gates of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
11) NEW VIDEO: The long anticipated wait is over! The sequel is here! You can now order "Nukes in Space 2". The 29 minute video takes up where the original left off. From the Cancel Cassini protest to the Cassini fly-by, "Nukes in Space 2" gives in-depth coverage to our growing movement. The video also has extensive reporting on the U.S. Space Command's plans for "control of space". Order now and show it in your local community. Send $23 (includes shipping/handling) to: Global Network, PO Box 90083, Gainesville, Fl. 32607.
12) WEB SITE: In January 1999 we will begin construction of the Global Network's own web site. A professional webmaster will be donating his expertise to the project and promises a top-notch site. Any suggestions send to email@example.com
Please help us circulate this newsletter. We thank you for your interest and support.
Have a happy holiday season.
For peace in space,
Bruce K. Gagnon Coordinator