Category NASA in the World

European Reactions to Reagan’s Proposal

There was considerable interest in the space station in Europe. Following on Pedersen’s invitation, in June 1982 NASA and ESA agreed that the European agency finance Phase A industrial studies on both utilization aspects and potential hardware contributions. Later that year the ESA Council, with some difficulty, drummed up support for studies on “maintaining in Europe an inde­pendent launch capability, developing a European in-orbit infrastructure, and pursuing transatlantic cooperation through participation in the future United States space program.”27

This formulation was meant to be flexible enough to accommodate the diverse needs of the member states, notably the drivers of the European space effort, France and Germany. As Niklas Reinke points out, both were committed to the idea of a space station, although their political motives differed. The fed­eral minister for research and technology, Heinz Riesenhuber, who took office in October 1982 “wanted substantial European participation in the American programme, with Germany in the lead; France was interested in the technical know-how to be gained from a space station but was wary of becoming involved again in such close cooperation with the United States.”28 Germany’s prime aim was to build on its Spacelab experience, expanded to include the development of reusable space platforms like the free-flying pallet suitable for commercial and scientific experiments called Eureca (EUropean REtrievable CArrier).29 It teamed up with Italy to fund industrial studies of pressurized models derived from Spacelab and an unmanned platform that were combined together in a program it called Columbus.30

In January 1984, just a week before President Reagan made his State of the Union address announcing that he would support the space station, the German and Italian delegations suggested to their partners in ESA that they might like to participate in the development of Columbus. This was now a generic name for a research module to be attached to the space station plus one or more free-flying platforms for more complex experiments in science and applications, above all microgravity.

Representatives of the member states of ESA, meeting at ministerial level in Rome in January 1985, defined their priorities for the next phase of their joint space effort. The ministers spelt out the principles that should guide their partici­pation in the joint venture. They sought European “responsibility for the design, development, exploitation and evolution of one of several identifiable elements of the space station together with responsibility for their management.” They also wanted to have “access to, and use, on a non-discriminatory basis, of all elements of the space station system on terms that are as favorable as those granted to the most-favored users and on a reciprocal basis.”31 The ministers also expressed strong support for Columbus, whose precise content would “depend on the terms and conditions of the partnership agreement concluded with the United States.”32

The enthusiasm generated by the Phase A studies, and the support of the min­isters meeting in Rome in January, quickly led to the signature of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between ESA and NASA in June 1985. It dealt with the conduct of parallel detailed definition and preliminary design studies (Phase B studies). (Similar agreements were signed with Canada and Japan.) The MoU specifically identified a key milestone in March 1986, about halfway through the planned definition phase, at which NASA and ESA would mutually agree on the composition of the Columbus program that would be carried forward for the remainder of the definition phase. This second Phase B2 was scheduled to run from April 1986 to March 1987. Tough negotiations between the two agencies over the Columbus content delayed the start of Phase B2 by over six months to November 1987.33 In parallel, starting in 1986, bilateral discussions were begun between the potential European partners and the United States on establishing the legal instruments governing the space station. The European group insisted that these be conducted on two levels. They wanted bilateral MoUs between NASA and the partner agencies for defining how cooperation in the design, the construction, and the operation of the space station and its constituent elements could and should be implemented in practice. The MoUs were subsumed under a single intergovernmental agreement (IGA) defining the policy guidelines and legal principles that would govern collaboration between the United States and the member states of ESA, Canada, and Japan. These various instruments were signed by almost all parties at the end of September 1988. NASA’s MoU with its Japanese counterpart was signed in March 1989.34

Europe’s phase B1 proposals had three main elements. The first was a pres­surized module that could either be tethered to the station or detached and used in a human-tended, free-flying mode. The second was a retrievable platform derived from the Eureca concept that would be placed in an orbit near the space station. The third was the polar platform that was intended as a “workhorse” for earth observation missions in polar orbits and whose scientific interest was enhanced by growing concerns about environmental degradation and climate change in the early 1990s.35

ESA was particularly interested in the first of these elements. Its dual-config­uration, tethered or free-flying, allowed it to be used as a Spacelab-like environ­ment for scientific experiments as well as a small autonomous European space station to acquire capabilities in rendezvous and docking procedures, and in the use of automation and robotics. NASA rejected the scheme—the space station would not be big enough nor would it have enough electrical power for each nation to operate its module both docked and untethered. Europe complied by restricting this component to a permanently attached pressurized module (APM), which was the length of four Spacelab segments and was to be used for materials science, fluid physics, and life-sciences experiments. ESA then suc­cessfully demanded that it develop a separate laboratory, the man-tended free – flyer (MTFF), to be operated in a microgravity-optimized orbit.36 The MTFF fulfilled some of the original mission requirements of the Eureca platform and retained the potential of evolving into a permanent autonomous space station. Thus in the Columbus configuration eventually agreed on in 1987, the MTFF and the polar platform (PPF) “were. . . the elements that were to carry the ban­ner for Europe’s autonomy in space, while the APM, as a fully integrated part of the station, had to be adapted to fit American ideas.”37

The disagreements between ESA and NASA were not restricted to hardware contributions; they extended to use. It seems that during the negotiations over the final cooperative agreements the United States did not want Europe to per­form microgravity research in materials science, even in its own part of the sta­tion. Only the United States was to be allowed to use any part of the station for experiments of commercial promise. As McCurdy puts it:

Because of strong congressional and presidential interest in the commercial

potential of space, NASA would eventually insist that it be allowed to build the

materials-processing lab. That would leave the Europeans with the less glam­orous task of building the life sciences lab. To conduct materials-processing experiments, the Europeans would have to use a U. S. module. Furthermore, they could not just float in and use it. The experiments would have to be scheduled on the basis of international agreements acceptable to all of the partners and based on their relative contributions to the station.38

This situation did not persist. As Peggy Finarelli stressed in an interview with the author, “the utilization plan of any partner, what they wanted to put on the Station, how they used their resources was their call. [ . . . ] There was absolutely no carving up like ‘You can do this and you can’t do that.’ We have unilateral rights to do this.”39

Then there was the question of military use. At the end of 1986 the United States raised the question in general terms of the use of the space station for mili­tary research related to SDI. This threatened to derail the whole process. Japan was totally against the idea. ESA’s convention specifically committed the agency to peaceful use, and no backsliding would be tolerated by the “neutral” member states—Austria, Sweden, and Switzerland. Indeed this issue caused such con­sternation that “early in 1987, the view was expressed in German government circles that, although it was perhaps not necessary to think about breaking off the negotiations just yet, the positions had become irreconcilable.”40 Caspar Weinberger attempted to still these fears by submitting a list of possible military experiments to be conducted on the station that he thought should be unobjec­tionable. It made little difference. When the representatives of the ESA member states, meeting at ministerial level in November 1987, adopted a long-term space plan that committed them to participation in the station, they thought it fit to include a special clause regarding peaceful use in their resolution.41 In the final agreements the space station was defined as being “civil” and “for peaceful pur­poses, in accordance with international law” (see also chapter 1). The US chief negotiator placed on record that his country “has the right to use its elements, as well as its allocations of resources derived from the Space Station infrastruc­ture, for national security purposes.”42 This was coupled with a clause in the agreement that allowed any partner (including Japan) to refuse that its attached module be used by a military body.43

Peggy Finarelli, who was involved in the negotiation of these agreements on behalf of NASA, provided an insider’s perspective in an interview in 2010. She stressed that the “creative ambiguity” over the meaning of the term “peaceful” in the Outer Space Treaty allowed all the adherents to sign on while maintaining their separate perspectives. Put simply, for the United States the term “peaceful” meant “non-aggressive,” while for her partners the term meant “non-military” (see chapter 1). The disagreement was so deep that “we cancelled one of the scheduled negotiating sessions because everybody was waiting for government instructions on this. That was closest we came, really, to losing it in the negotia­tions over that issue.” The dispute was resolved when “we finally agreed that each of us would use our own territory on the Station according to our own definition of peaceful purposes.” There has been a convergence of attitudes since then, she suspects, “everybody’s evolved more to the U. S. perspective” as “space becomes more and more useful for military, nonaggressive purposes.”44

Another source of friction between the partners arose over the handling of cost increases on the NASA side. As was mentioned earlier, in 1983 Beggs put a figure of $8 billion (in 1984 dollars) on space station development, the amount that the NASA administrator thought the president could accept. In October 1985 NASA officials announced that they had adopted a “dual-keel” design for what would be a multifunctional space station with foreign participation.45 A year later its cost was estimated to be $14.5 billion (1984 dollars). Then in April 1987, under pressure to reduce costs further, NASA announced a “revised baseline configuration” with a cost estimate of $12.2 billion (1984 dollars). This omitted the cost of operations, an emergency crew return vehicle, and the cost of transporting hardware into space with the shuttle.46 NASA signed contracts for four “work packages” with aerospace contractors.

President Reagan baptized the new configuration Space Station Freedom, a name that hearkened back to the State of the Union address in January 1984 in which he had said, “We are first, we are the best, and we are so because we are free.”47 As Finarelli remarked, it also made clear that “[t]he Space Station was clearly one of the nation’s Cold War high-technology infrastructure projects undertaken at least in part to demonstrate our leadership vis-a-vis the Soviets, and part of that leadership is showing that people will follow your lead in what you choose to do”48—as did the Europeans.

The Europeans played a major role in shaping the final agreements on partici­pation in Space Station Freedom. Their financial contributions were substantial: at the time, about twice what was expected from Japan and four times more than Canada. They also brought far more historical baggage to the negotiating table.

What of Canada and Japan? Canada had built the Remote Manipulator System (or Canadarm) for the shuttle. It had established its reputation as a reliable part­ner that could be trusted to build technological elements that were critical to mission success. Three main reasons determined its decision to join in the sta­tion. First, the in-orbit assembly and operations of the station provided it with an opportunity to further valorize its acquired experience in automation and robot­ics. Second, it was attracted by the polar-orbit earth observation facility, which could provide remote sensing data for many of its needs. Finally, the Canadian authorities were persuaded that the space station would “alter dramatically many of the established ways of operating in space.” Joining the American project along with Western Europe and Japan would provide a platform for “new business rela­tionships and cooperative programs with the world’s major space nations.”49 For Canada, then, foreign policy concerns were overshadowed by the possibilities for expanding its existing industrial capabilities and markets in high technology, for consolidating space cooperation with partners other than the United States, and for providing remote sensing data that covered its vast geographical space.50

Japan’s engagement with the space station had a different trajectory.51 It had long been champing at the bit to develop its own, autonomous space program. Many felt that it had, for too long, been under foreign technological tutelage. Though NASA had helped Japan develop launchers, it had denied it access to cutting-edge technologies and had restricted the payloads that the country could launch with “its” rockets (see chapter 10). It seemed clear that to fully reap the benefits of the conquest of space Japan needed to have its own launcher. Could it afford to do so (at a development cost of $1 billion), and at the same time accept

President Reagan’s offer in January 1984 to join in the space station? The famed MITI (Ministry of International Trade and Industry) and a group of major Japanese industries were persuaded that it was imperative not to “miss the boat” on manned space flight, as Japan had done on post-Apollo. However, Japan also wanted an indigenous launcher that would not be subject to US restrictions on use. It eventually adopted a two-track approach. It developed a “made in Japan” H-2 launcher that proved to be neither a commercial nor a technological suc­cess.52 Its contribution to the space station was a Japanese Experiment Module (JEM), also called Kibo (meaning hope).

NASA and an Indian Launcher

The sounding rocket program in India provided an important stimulus to the devel­opment of an indigenous capability in rocketry from as early as 1961. In that year G. B. Pant, a scientist based in the Birla Institute of Technology, expressed a desire for assistance in establishing a Department of Rocketry at the university level in India. His request was refused citing the potential strategic military implications.61 The United States had no security agreement with India under which assurances were given for the protection of sensitive information.62 However, in 1964, Professor Pant again approached NASA with the “endorsement” of Sarabhai seeking NASA support for the assignment of an American academic expert in solid rocket pro­pulsion theory to spend a year initiating a research program at the Birla Institute. The US Department of State gave a favorable response and NASA arranged with Princeton University to send Maurice Webb to work on the theoretical aspects of rocket propulsion. After the completion of Webb’s “tour-of duty” Pant again asked for two experts in the field of propulsion and aerodynamics. By this time Sarabhai was also planning to come over to the United States to recruit fifteen people for a solid rocket development program in India under the auspices of INCOSPAR. India was building French Centaure rockets under license with Sud-Aviation and Hideo Itokawa at Tokyo University (see chapter 9) was providing consulting assis­tance.63 Situating Pant’s request in this broader context (and aware of even greater Indian ambitions, to be discussed in a moment), Frutkin sent a cautionary confiden­tial memo on August 25, 1965, to J. Wallace Joyce, acting director, International Scientific and Technology Affairs in the Department of State about the risk of supporting such an academic endeavor. As he explained, NASA had “so far care­fully avoided contributing to rocket development programs abroad.” Several other Asian countries, including Pakistan and Indonesia, were interested in developing rockets and once the agency had helped one it would necessarily become embroiled in helping the others. Frutkin concluded by remarking that while NASA wanted to accommodate the State Department’s wishes, it was concerned that “assistance in the Birla program as now understood might compromise NASA’s international space responsibilities, involve NASA in a difficult precedent with regard to other countries, and might contribute to nationalistic competition with military implica­tions,” most obviously as regards India and Pakistan.64

The Chinese nuclear test in October 1964 triggered greater ambitions. Both Homi Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai discussed the possibility of cooperating with NASA in building a launch vehicle as one response to the loss of prestige to their communist rival. The discussions centered on procuring the technology of the all-solid four-stage Scout rocket. Commonly called the “poor man’s rocket,” it was capable of launching satellites weighing close to 100 pounds into low – earth orbit. In February 1965, Bhabha asked Frutkin about the cost and time factors for the development of a small satellite booster system. The results were predictable. Frutkin reminded him that whereas the Scout had been approved by the Department of State as available in principle for purchase by other coun­tries in connection with scientific research, the transfer of this technology as such posed a quite different problem. Granted the security aspects, this was “a matter for determination by the Department of State under Munitions Control procedures.”65

Bhabha’s visit to inquire into the possibilities of acquiring Scout rockets trig­gered a major exchange between Frutkin and Robert F. Packard in the State Department, who was interested in finding ways to assist India regain regional influence without developing nuclear weapons. He sought detailed advice on India’s ability to engage in a range of programs, from launching its own satellite outside India with foreign assistance using a foreign launch vehicle to launch­ing an Indian satellite as a solely national enterprise, as France would do in November 1965 with its Diamant/Asterix (launcher/satellite) combination.66

Frutkin responded in detail to the queries and did not think that India could do too much in the short term. Regarding the time frame, he pointed out that even if India made fundamental progress in major areas in the development of a booster within five years, US, Japanese, and French experience suggested that India could not complete a total booster system in this time. Comparing the Indian case with France and Japan he noted that the Japanese had been working on solid propellant technology for close to ten years with a fairly large industrial base without any concrete results. Similarly, the French had been working for at least six or seven years toward building a satellite launch vehicle without reaching their objective. Frutkin noted that India might also have difficulty with respect to several systems that go with the launcher—telemetry, command, guidance, test, and check out systems. He categorically stated that such an extensive program would “preempt all of the known Indian competence in the necessary areas for a period of years roughly related to the period of time used by France and Japan.” As regards cost, this was likely to be $55-65 million—$ 45 million for building a launcher. Add another $11-15 million for launch facilities: Frutkin pointed out that Thumba was small and not a conducive location for satellite launching, so a launch site on the East coast was needed.67

Of course cost and schedule could be reduced with foreign assistance. Sarabhai had apparently already done a cost analysis of a “partially independent Indian booster development program for a Scout type vehicle at $ 25 million using French and Japanese technology.”68 He added that an “indigenous” satel­lite would cost around “2-4 million and would take the Indians three years with foreign assistance.” If India sought the help of Japan and France, the country “could probably produce a satellite launch vehicle in 8-10 years.” Sarabhai esti­mated that if US assistance was forthcoming this could be reduced to seven – eight years.69

Should the United States help speed up the “Indian National” booster pro­gram the time required could be reduced substantially. Frutkin noted that Scout guidance, for example, was not classified and could very likely be made available to India under existing policy (this system is essentially an attitude reference sys­tem with limited value for strategic purposes). Nevertheless, substantial numbers of personnel would be required to work in India, with inevitable publicity and high costs.70 In short, if the United States agreed to cooperate, it would be only “partially an indigenous development” and the whole process would “involve highly visible foreign assistance” so defeating the purpose of boosting India’s prestige in the subcontinent using space technology.

There was an alternative: cost and time could be significantly reduced if the Indians were to use a Scout in America. If, as in the case of the Italian San Marco project (see chapter 2), the arrangement were to be a cooperative one between NASA and the Indians, NASA could provide the launch vehicles at a cost of about $3 million to the United States. This latter alternative assumed that the project would be of sufficient scientific or political value to America to justify direct US involvement and expenditure, of course.

Nothing came of these initial approaches. While work at TERLS engaged Indian energies in the latter half of the 1960s, Sarabhai promoted the indigenous production of launch vehicles through the incremental development of sounding rockets. This is evident from his address at the UN conference in Vienna and the institutional developments directed toward the needs of a budding launch vehicle program.

At the UN Conference in Vienna in 1968 Sarabhai spoke about the importance of an indigenous capability, fully aware of the difficulty of getting foreign assis­tance: “[T]he military overtones of a launcher development program of course complicate the free transmittal of technology involved in these applications.”71 By 1968 he had already done a cost analysis of building a launch vehicle program and the required ground systems, including a launch pad on the eastern sea coast. He factored in the costs of a scientific pool for supporting a fully fledged program.72 Reports and published sources indicate that at this time India made its first-ever study for developing its own Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV).

The Chinese launched Long March I (CZ-1) on April 24, 1970, placing the Dong Fang Hong (the East is Red) DFH-1 satellite in low-earth orbit. Though launched a few months after the Japanese launch of the Osumi satellite in February 1970 using the Japanese Lambda rocket, the Chinese launch triggered an outcry in India. The debate in India, soon after launch, centered on whether the country should develop a nuclear deterrent against China—India had refused to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) brokered by the United States, the USSR, and the United Kingdom in 1968—and the resultant opinion was highly in favor of one. The then defense minister Swaran Singh “reaffirmed” before the Indian par­liament that he would “review the possibilities for an accelerated space program.”73 This triggered another effort by Sarabhai to obtain US cooperation in building an Indian launching capability including guidance and control technology.

An April 1970 memo from the American Embassy in Delhi to the State Department, after detailing the situation in India, warned that “US denial would generate serious irritation in Indo-US relations, would turn Indians to other sup­pliers and would inhibit our capacity to monitor Indian space research develop­ments, and our ability to influence developments toward peaceful rather than military applications.”74 Another such dispatch a few months later reiterated these points.75 However, here the negative arguments far outweighed the pro argu­ments for any meaningful cooperation. “India’s overall economic development could be imprudently retarded by major expenditures in atomic and rocket fields”: something else was needed to contain hunger in the rural areas. Helping India would also send the wrong signals to China and Pakistan concerning American policy on international military applications of science and technology. If the United States provided technology to India and not to other interested coun­tries it would have “corrosive effects” on US relations elsewhere. A “premature US commitment” could also “inadvertently nudge Government of India’s pro­gram into direction Indians might later find fruitless, with possible consequent recriminations against U. S.” The US government was also aware of the rhetoric of the Indian political elite that “only a nuclear equipped India can win a rightful place in counsels of major powers.” US support would “stimulate advanced rocket development” and enhance the early development of “Indian nuclear weapons system.” The United States, as the architect of NPT and an opponent of Indian nuclear weapons development, would not even indirectly wish to facilitate such an Indian decision. In light of these considerations, the embassy recommended a flexible long-range policy of selective cooperation and restraint whereby the United States could provide India unclassified technology and other types of assistance directed toward India’s peaceful economic and social development.76

The State Department looked into these possibilities from various angles bearing in mind the agreement being reached with Japan over the provision of unclassified Thor-Delta technology (chapter 10). Anthony C. E. Quainton, senior political officer for India in the department, discussed possibilities with U. Alexis Johnson who struck the deal with Tokyo. He favored a joint collabora­tion with the Indians up through the Scout level in unclassified technology on propulsion systems without financial support and with suitable assurances about peaceful use.77 In December 1970 Joseph T. Kendrick sent a proposal to Robert A. Clark of Munitions Control (MC) asking him to agree to assist India on simi­lar terms as agreed between the United States and Japan. Clark’s reply indicated that he had no policy objection to the substance of the proposal. However, he expressed reservations about sending the proposal to Johnson for approval as it had not been discussed with NASA and the DOD who had been unhappy with the Japanese arrangement. Clark drew attention to the vagueness of the offer to cooperate in the development of a limited space program “up to and including the general level of Scout Rocket Technology.” Clark said that he knew “from personal experience that Indian officials are aggressive and persistent individuals who might be more likely to cry foul whenever they believe correctly or incor­rectly that their understandings differ from someone else’s understandings.” Thus, wrote Clark, “the USG position on what Scout technology means should be prepared in advance and not left to chance as has been done with the Japanese and Thor-Delta technology”78—a nice example of bureaucratic learning.

Three years later we find that, though critical elements of launch vehicle technology were denied, the declassified State Department papers indicate the approval of some “hardware” related to sounding rockets and satellites, which were “unsophisticated in character.” However, the Indian space program was still closely watched for potential ballistic missile activities. As the memo put it, “So far, the Indian program appears peaceful in character—as the Indians claim— but it is developing the technological capability for a missile system should the Government of India opt for this course.”79

The last available discussion on the subject was in a confidential memo from John Sipes to Joseph Scisco on June 27, 1973, requesting the formulation of a departmental position on whether it would be in the overall interest of the United States to assist India in the development of its space program. The ques­tion was prompted because the Office of Munitions Control had received a num­ber of requests from industry for Department of State approval to export space hardware and technology for India’s space program. The hardware included components such as gyros and accelerometers, which were essential for the guid­ance and control of launch vehicles and missiles.80 Sipes brought up the Japanese case of Thor-Delta technology transfer for comparison and explained how the Japanese had undertaken to use the launch vehicle and satellites developed with US assistance on condition that they would be used for peaceful purposes only and in line with the Intelsat agreements. This was not the case with India. In fact in April the Indian government announced that it was developing missiles for its armed services. Sipes asked rhetorically whether US help to India with satellite and launcher development would further “world peace and the security and the foreign policy of the United States.” He concluded that it was not “prudent to permit the release of space hardware and technology” especially gyros and accel­erometers, which were critical for inertial navigation systems.81

A Scout license production agreement never made its way into India. The Indo-Pakistan war of 1971, Sarabhai’s sudden demise in December 1971, and the Peaceful Nuclear Explosion (PNE) by India in 1974 all undermined the possibilities of cooperation between NASA and India in sensitive technolo­gies.82 To make matters worse from Washington’s point of view, in the light of the alienation with the United States the-then prime minister Indira Gandhi sought increased friendship with Moscow, which led eventually to the success­ful launch of three Indian satellites by the Soviet Union.83 This is not to say that NASA had no regrets. A recent interview with Arnold Frutkin captures the dilemma that NASA and the State Department faced when it came to sharing launch vehicle technology. The issue, as he stressed, “was slanted by the fear that India would be using it as a delivery weapon for—a delivery vehicle for a weapon.” Frutkin was discussing the acquisition of a Scout with India at the time, and was convinced that “in the long run India would have what it wanted by way of a delivery vehicle or a space vehicle, and either they would have it with our goodwill and friendship or they would have it over our dead bodies.” His preference was plainly for some kind of collaborative arrangement, and he personally regretted that the United States had not been more forthcom­ing, leading to Indian resentment and a decline in relations, all of which, in Frutkin’s view, “could have been sidestepped by working with India to arrive at just where they are today.”84

Formalizing the Collaboration

The legal instruments codifying the design, construction, and use of the space station (bilateral MoUs between agencies and an IGA between the governments) were signed after 15 rounds of negotiations over three years in September 1988. The flexibility available to NASA and the American delegation was constrained by a number of requirements. One of the most contentious of these, as we have seen, was that they had to “explicitly reserve the right to conduct national secu­rity activities on the U. S. elements of the Space Station, without the approval or review of other nations.” They were also not to “accede to multilateral decision­making on matters of Space Station management, utilization, or operation.” Technology transfer was to be controlled by not permitting a “one-way flow of U. S. space technology to participating nations who are also our competitors.” And finally, they were to ensure that the concept of “equal partnership” did not “displace either the reality or symbol of U. S. leadership.”53

The Europeans were reasonably satisfied with the final agreements. Take the question of management. In the midst of the negotiations Pedersen publicly wrote that “perhaps [the] most difficult leadership adjustment for NASA is to learn to share direct management and operational control in projects where it is the largest hardware and financial contributor, especially when manned flight systems are involved.” How did the legal instruments respect this? On decision­making procedures, for example, it was agreed that although the United States would be responsible for the overall coordination of the program, the Europeans had jurisdiction and control over their three Columbus elements. The United States and Canada were attributed 49 percent utilization of the APM in return for their contributions to the core elements of the station. Europe also had access to the whole station. And it was allowed to use its space transport system and communications equipment, in addition to having access to those that the United States would provide. This meant that the MTFF and the PFF would be launched by Ariane.54

The management practices were shaped by the architecture of the project. At the macro-level this restricted technology transfer to flows across clean inter­faces. NASA alone would build the core of the station. This core would be augmented by discrete hardware elements that would be dedicated to scientific and/or manufacturing research of potential commercial interest. Only Canada’s robotic arm for assembly was critical to mission success.55

What of “genuine partnership”? Peggy Finarelli, who was among those who negotiated these agreements on behalf of NASA, explained that she was emphatically against the “metaphysical” phrase “genuine partnership” being included as such in the legal agreements. Instead she asked for a list of 25 things that constituted “genuine partnership,” “then we’ll negotiate on each of those twenty-five points, and, god knows we did. . . and twenty-five more. That’s why at the end of the day we were all happy with the agreement, even though it did not include that phrase.”56

Another traditional area of disagreement concerned the legal ties oblig­ing partners to sustain their commitment to the station once the project was embarked upon. As pointed out in the discussion of ISPM in chapter 2 , the Europeans were particularly sensitive to programmatic changes required of NASA by the annual revision of its budget allocation by Congress. They hoped to get around this by raising the space station agreements to the status of an international treaty. Finarelli insisted that this was not in anyone’s interest. As she put it:

What the partners wanted was a mechanism to make the space station agree­ments 100 percent binding, something that we would never be able to walk away from. Their thought was that a treaty tying in the US Congress would accomplish this goal. But we said: We can’t do it. Its impossible in our govern­ment. Even if we have a treaty, it’s still subject to the availability of appropri­ated funds [as required by the Antideficiency Act of 1982 that prohibited the incurring of obligations or the making of expenditures in excess of such funds]. So what you’re asking for, number one, does not accomplish the end that you would like to accomplish, and number two, you’re running the risk of putting a whole new set of players in this thing, many of whom hate the Space Station and don’t like NASA much either, meaning there’s a very high probability that the treaty would be rejected.57

In the event in the final agreement NASA (and all the parties) could still appeal to the lack of availability of funds as a reason for reconfiguring the project, though each signatory did formally undertake “to make its best efforts to obtain approval for funds” to meet its international obligations.58

The Indigenous Development of a Launcher

The idea of using a Scout design for India’s first SLV persisted ever since Bhabha and Sarabhai contemplated developing a launch vehicle. Several years of nego­tiation, and the familiarity Indian scientists and engineers gained with Scout during their tenure at Wallops Island and other NASA facilities, played a key role when India opted for a launch vehicle that was at once proven and reli­able and within India’s reach. Gopal Raj also claims that the Scout model was chosen because “Indians did not then have sufficient experience for ab initio design of a launch vehicle.”85 In 1968, aeronautical engineer Y. J. Rao along with electronics engineer Pramod Kale did a detailed study on developing a sat­ellite launch vehicle. The report was in favor of a vehicle configuration based on four-stage solid propellant rocket, modeled on Scout.86 Being all solid propel­lant, a technology easier than complex liquids, this seemed to be a possible route that Indians could attempt and succeed.

In his report Profile for the Decade Sarabhai explicitly spoke of the indigenous building of a satellite launch capability for “many applications of outer space in the fields of communications, meteorology and remote sensing.” He also gave the performance specifications of an all-solid four-stage satellite launch vehicle weighing 20 tons, and capable of launching a satellite weighing 30 kilograms in a 400-kilometer low-earth orbit. According to the report, the flight testing of sensitive instruments, electronics, and instrumentation would be done using sounding rockets. Sarabhai also talks about the follow on program that could launch 1,200-kilogram satellite into a circular geosynchronous orbit at 36,000 kilometers: This was “the type of capability which is needed to fully exploit, on our own, the vast potential arising from the practical applications of space sci­ence and technology.”87

Since SLV-3 was modeled after Scout, two views have dominated the his­toriography of its development: indigenous development and technological diffusion. The first viewpoint was expressed by scientists and engineers who orchestrated the SLV-3 program. The second viewpoint comes from Western policy analysts who have denied that there was any indigenous contribution and basically state that SLV-3 was built using the technological “blueprints” freely given by NASA, albeit without any documentary evidence.88 Granted the dan­gers of sharing sensitive launcher technology with India it is doubtful whether NASA gave Scout “blue prints” to the Indians. However, the declassified docu­ments at NARA and NASA and the oral histories clearly tip the balance toward what Gopal Raj asserted in his book Reach for the Stars on the history of India’s launch vehicles, that is, that SLV-3 was built using freely available unclassified reports and that the incremental development of sounding rockets paved the way for developing SLV-3 after a span of 15 years. Though SLV-3 resembled Scout in its morphology, the subsystems and the fuel assembly showed marked difference from Scout architecture. Though the negotiations on the sharing of Scout technology and critical components did not lead to any tangible results, published articles and government reports indicate the importation of several minor subsystems and components from the United States and Europe that were crucial for the development of SLV-3. With these subsystems the engineers and scientists at ISRO incrementally scaled up their sounding rockets to higher con­figurations. As indicated earlier, an agreement was signed with Sud Aviation of France to produce under license an advanced sounding rocket called Centaure. Working on Centaure helped in building indigenous Rohini sounding rockets, which were advanced further to carry heavier payloads.89 Many of the subsys­tems including the heat shield and guidance were tested using an RH-560 prior to incorporating it in the SLV-3 vehicle. During the development of SLV-3, vari­ous changes were incorporated and the version eventually launched was entirely different from the originally conceived one.

By 1971 the design phase of the launcher was completed and of six designs Sarabhai chose the third, hence the name SLV-3. It was a vehicle measuring 22 meters in length and weighing 17 tons and it could place a 30-kilogram satellite into near-earth orbit. The Indo-Pakistan war and the untimely death of Sarabhai in December 1971 was a setback to the launch vehicle program. A restructuring of space was initiated by Indira Gandhi and the ISRO was split off from the DAE. A separate Department of Space, directly under the Indian government, was cre­ated. Sathish Dhawan, a Caltech graduate and the director of Indian Institute of Science (IISC), situated in Bangalore, became the chairman of ISRO after M. G. K. Menon’s brief stint. To lead the SLV-3 project Sathish Dhawan and Brahma Prakash, director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center, chose Abdul Kalam. Kalam was one of those who had been handpicked by Sarabhai to get trained at NASA in the earlier 1960s. He had visited the Langley Research Center, the Goddard Space Flight Center, and the NASA facility at Wallops Island, located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. His NASA training facilitated the first sounding rocket launch from TERLS in November 1963.90

On July 18, 1980, India placed its 35-kilogram Rohini (RS – D1) satellite in low-earth orbit, so becoming the sixth nation to accomplish this feat.91 Experience gained in building SLV-3 was built upon to produce heavier rockets. The Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV) added two strap-on boosters to the existing SLV-3 configuration and could place a 150 kilogram satellite in low – earth orbit. It was followed by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), which can launch 1,600-kilogram satellite into 600-kilometer polar orbit (PSLV-C6 mission in May 2005) and about 1 ton into GTO (PSLV-C4 mission in 2002).

Just as the Pokhran-I nuclear test exhibited the visibility of India’s nuclear program in 1974, the successful launch of the Rohini satellite made the space program visible. The launch attracted global attention. The US State Department expressed grave concern. The tense situation was only exacerbated when the Defense Department of India, seeing the successful satellite launch, enrolled Abdul Kalam, the project manager of SLV-3, to rejuvenate their ailing mis­sile program. He joined DRDO where he orchestrated the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program in 1983, which led to the organized research and development of guided missiles for different strategic military needs. Chief among those missiles was Agni, an IRBM successfully tested in 1989, which was built using the experience gained on SLV-3 and could carry warheads weighing almost 1,000 kilograms to targets deep inside the People’s Republic of China.

The Crisis of the Early 1990s and the Inclusion of Russia

When President Reagan authorized the space station in 1984 it was to have been completed within a decade for $8 billion. During the next nine fiscal years (FY1985-1993) more than $10 billion had been spent without much to show for it. As of January 1995 only about 25,000 pounds of flight quality hardware had been fabricated, less than 3 percent of what was then projected to be a 925,000- pound facility. This was primarily because “the space station effort for nine years languished in the design phase.”59 The “dual-keel” design of October 1985 was followed by the “revised baseline configuration” of Space Station Freedom, and then a “restructured space station” that was unveiled in March 1991, and sched­uled to cost $30 billion.

This redesign did not satisfy Congress. Its threat to terminate the program was strongly opposed by the Bush administration, however. The year before 64 senators had insisted that the Space Station Freedom be sustained as “the cornerstone of our civil space policy and a symbol of our commitment to lead­ership and cooperation in the peaceful exploration of outer space.”60 British, German, French, and Italian ambassadors to Washington added their voices to the chorus that included President Bush himself and his secretary of state, James Baker. In July 1991 Baker wrote to the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations asking the Senate to support Space Station Freedom. As he put it, “The credibility of the United States as a Partner is based on its ability to make durable commitments. We will increasingly need to cooperate with these allies on common endeavors, whether in security, economic, environment, or science and technology areas. A failure by the United States to keep the Space Station Freedom on track,” Baker emphasized, “would call into question our reliability.”61

Space Station Freedom survived Congressional criticism in 1991 partly because its “durability” was indicative of the Bush administration’s determi­nation to maintain its leadership of the free world even as the Soviet Union imploded. It also sent a strong signal to Moscow just when the United States was reaching out to engage in closer relationships with its erstwhile rival. On July 31, 1991, President Bush and Premier Gorbachev signed the historic START I treaty in which they agreed to dramatically reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons. They also charged a number of joint working groups to negotiate cooperation in various space-related fields (see chapter 8), including an extended stay by an American astronaut on the Soviet Space Station Mir. In 1992 Bush and Russian president Boris Yeltsin extended plans for space cooperation beyond scientific support and an exchange of astronauts to include a rendezvous and docking mis­sion between the Shuttle and Mir.

Mir, which had been launched in 1986, was the “strangest, largest structure ever placed in Earth orbit,” “a dragonfly with wings outstretched,” “the best and the worst of Soviet technology and science,” a “cluttered mess” inside, “with obsolete equipment, floating bags of trash, the residue of dust, and a crust that grew more extensive with the passing years.”62 Mir was also a testing ground for long-duration human spaceflight. Cosmonauts typically spent four-six months, even more than a year on board.

Bill Clinton was inaugurated as the new president in January 1993. He and Vice President Al Gore were determined to continue the process of modern­izing and stabilizing Russia, of demilitarizing its high-technology sector, and of remodeling its institutions and industries along American lines. For Clinton and Gore space collaboration was embedded in a broader attempt to encourage Russia and the Newly Independent States (NIS) in their transition to democracy and market economics. It had the programmatic aim of capitalizing on Soviet space technology and know-how. However, it was also seen as an instrument to channel hard currency into a crumbling infrastructure, to retain elite scien­tists and engineers who might otherwise drift into the arms of rogue states, to encourage government and industry to adhere to the provisions of the Missile Technology Control Regime, and to isolate the opponents of reform by sustain­ing a high-prestige Soviet activity even as the communist system collapsed.63 In April Clinton met with Yeltsin in Vancouver and finalized an American aid package of $1.6 billion. He also invited Russia to participate in a renewed space station program. One of the most important by-products of this meeting was the so-called Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission (Victor Chernomyrdin was the Russian prime minister). It first met in September and then in December 1993 to work out details of bilateral agreements on space, energy, and technology (see chapter 8).

Clinton’s efforts did not win universal approval at home. But they played an important role in keeping the project alive in 1993. On entering the White House he told Dan Goldin (who was appointed NASA administrator in 1992 and remained in post throughout his mandate) that he was willing to support a space station. However, he asked the NASA administrator to come up with a leaner design. He was presented with three options. One was a modular concept that would use existing hardware. Another was a derivate of the Space Station Freedom. The third was a station that could be placed in orbit with a single Shuttle-derived launch vehicle. On June 17 President Clinton chose “a medium­sized modular space station” that used a “combination of Freedom hardware and flight-qualified space systems from other sources.” Goldin announced that Russian hardware alternatives had been incorporated into the plans where appro­priate.64 He said he needed $12.8 billion for the Space Station: Clinton capped its cost at $10.5 billion over the next five years.65

Congress voted on two expensive technological projects inherited from the Reagan years within days of each other in June. Both of them were intended to restore American prestige in the context of Cold War rivalry. One was the Superconducting Super Collider, on which $2 billion had been spent. Work had already begun on digging an oval, 54-mile underground tunnel near Dallas to hold the particle accelerator. The other was Space Station Freedom. Congress voted to kill the SSC; the Senate confirmed the decision a few months later.66 The Space Station survived by just one vote on a day that Dan Goldin later recalled was his worst ever at NASA.67 A year later, in summer 1994, the House of Representatives endorsed the station by 123 votes. Saving domestic jobs was one important reason for Congress’s support: NASA spread industrial contracts for the space station across 39 states, thereby spawning an estimated 75,000 jobs by 1992.68 Foreign participation and the diplomatic consequences of being seen as an unreliable partner undoubtedly also carried some weight.

With the Gore-Chernomyrdin commission getting into its stride, NASA drafted a new International Space Station Project. It had three phases and Russia was crucial to all of them. Phase 1, scheduled to last from 1994 to 1997, was a joint Shuttle/Mir program that would enable American astronauts to familiar­ize themselves with living and working in space for extended periods of time. The station core would be built in Phase 2, that would last the next three years and to which Russia would contribute several critical elements, including guid­ance, navigation, and control. In Phase 3, lasting from 2000 to 2004, the station would be completed with the addition of research modules from the four coun­tries that were building them. Russia would again provide key elements, like a habitation module (until the United States had built its own), and a crew return lifeboat for emergency evacuation. A comprehensive $400-million contract was signed between NASA and the Russian Space Agency to implement this plan.

These plans evoked criticism both at home and from the foreign partners. One of the major concerns was whether, given the state of the nation, Russia could be relied on to provide items that were critical to mission success. Others complained that the United States was using foreign aid to boost the space infra­structure of Russia and the NIS without being sure that they could deliver and at the expense of American jobs. Indeed NASA paid dearly for making an excep­tion to its policy of clean interfaces and no exchange of funds.

The evolution of the collaborative project with Russia has been described in chapter 8 , and will not be repeated here. The difficulties encountered with Zarya (the Functional Cargo Block—FGB) are illustrative. Zarya had to be put in space before anything else. With 16 fuel tanks holding more than 16 tons of propellant, and two solar arrays 35 feet long and 11 feet wide, this pressurized module was to provide orientation control, communications, and electrical pro­pulsion for the station until the Russian-provided crew quarters arrived. It was to be built in Russia under contract and owned by the United States. Schedules slipped. Costs increased. All the partners were infuriated when Moscow, who was supposed to cover all the costs related to Zarya, attempted to drop the mod­ule entirely and replace it with a Mir module. In April 1998 an internal NASA report noted

the anticipated one billion dollar cost savings to the U. S. to be accrued from Russian provision of a Functional Cargo Block. . . and an Assured Crew Return Vehicle capability was a faulty assumption as far back as 1994. The continu­ous economic situation in Russia has also negated most of the $1.5 billion in schedule savings to be achieved through their involvement.69

The Shuttle/Mir program was also a headache. The Russians demanded funds for goods and services that NASA believed had already been paid for, and charged “exorbitant” fees for cosmonaut time on American projects. When Goldin heard that the Russians were getting Mir ready to fly a space tourist, he exploded. “They always seem to have a little extra money around for Mir but not for the International Space Station.”70 In the event the original $400 mil­lion that NASA had offered for Shuttle/Mir and Phase 2 space station costs ballooned to double that figure as the Russians added ever more requests for financial support (see table 8.3).

The End of the Cold War and Beyond: Chandrayaan-1

With the end of Cold War and the demise of Soviet Union India had to restruc­ture its foreign policy to meet the emerging geopolitical realities. The Indian political elite began to formulate new recipes to begin closer relations with the United States. India’s economic liberalization in the early 1990s and the momen­tum sustained by successive governments created a conducive environment for a closer relationship between India and the United States. The Clinton administra­tion’s grand strategy of “engagement and enlargement” was favorably received by the Indian political leadership. However, despite these expanding links, the overall political relationship continued to be undermined by the India-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir and India’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs.

Notwithstanding the controls on technology transfer India went alone or worked with others. It managed to keep a steady pace in developing launch vehi­cles and satellites for India’s domestic economic, commercial, and strategic needs. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV, was followed by the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), a technically upgraded version of PSLV. The architecture of the GSLV included a cryogenic stage that replaced the top two stages of the PSLV. Considering the pound per thrust, these were much more superior to ordinary liquid engines that used other propellant combinations.

The 1998 nuclear weapons tests by India attracted worldwide condemnation and onerous sanctions were imposed on India by the United States and many other developed countries. The United States prohibited trade with a long list of Indian entities and curtailed, for a short time, a broad array of cooperative space initiatives. The geopolitical situation that ensued after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 changed the situation again and catalyzed closer cooperation between India and the United States.

The Bush administration lifted the sanctions in September 2001 and a frame­work was established through the US-India High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG) for closer technological cooperation between the two countries. Critical civilian technologies that were once out of bounds—space and nuclear— became tools for improved bilateral relations. Kenneth I. Juster, undersecretary of commerce in June 2004, indicated the various steps that were being taken by the US government to foster closer relations with India. He noted that “since the lifting of the U. S. sanctions in September 2001, only a very small percent­age of our total trade with India is even subject to controls. The vast majority of dual-use items simply do not require a license for shipment to India.” During the fiscal year 2002 (October 2001 through September 2002), 423 license applica­tions for dual-use exports to India, worth around $27 million, were approved by the US government. This was 84 percent of all licensing decisions for India that year. In 2003 the United States approved 90 percent of all dual-use licens­ing applications for India. These actions were indicative of the new strategic partnership with India.92

In March 2005, a US-India Joint Working Group on Civil Space Cooperation was established. The inaugural meeting was held in Bangalore in June 2005. This forum was meant to provide a mechanism for enhanced cooperation in areas including joint satellite activities and launch, space exploration, increased interoperability among existing and future civil space-based positioning and navigation systems, and collaboration on various earth observation projects. At this time a memorandum of understanding was signed for a joint moon mis­sion.93 Called Chandrayaan-1 it was a continuation of the international efforts to study the lunar surface to understand origins and the evolution of the moon.94

The $83 million Chandrayaan-1 had a cluster of eleven instruments, five from the Indian side and six from foreign agencies: three payloads from the European Space Agency (ESA), two from NASA, and one from Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS). The experiments aimed to map and configure the chemical and mineralogical composition of the lunar surface using more enhanced instru­ments than previously attempted. The spacecraft was launched using India’s trusted workhorse, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)—C11. Its launch weight was 1,380 kilograms. The two instruments sent by NASA were the Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar (MiniSAR) prototype developed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and the US Naval Air Warfare Center to look for water/ice in the permanently shaded craters at the lunar poles, and the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3). M3 was an imaging spec­trometer developed at Brown University and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and was designed to assess and map lunar mineral resources at high spatial and spec­tral resolutions.

November 14, 2008, was an historic day for the Indian space program. A Moon Impact Probe (MPI) with the Indian tricolor, representing the national flag painted on its surface, made contact with the lunar soil. The timing of the MPI was coordinated to coincide with the birthday of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of independent India, who gave his passionate support to the growth of science and technology—especially nuclear and space sciences. It was a significant moment for NASA too to see the maturation of a space program that it helped to found with the scientific elite in India in the early 1960s.

European Reactions

Goldin did not want the existing partners in the space station to drain the momentum from his big-picture vision of a transformed space station that included Russia. He was advised that before moving ahead with Moscow “we needed to consult with our partners. He didn’t want to hear it. Those people didn’t last long in the agency. His plan had to go forward.”71 As was mentioned a moment ago, he and Clinton adopted a design that included a major Russian contribution in June 1993. Three months later in September 1993 the ESA member states were officially informed of the inclusion of Russia in the space station, now formally referred to simply as the ISS.

European space actors, like their American counterparts, had already moved quickly to build collaborative programs with the Russian Federation.72 Early in 1993 they signed an agreement with the Russian Space Agency to develop a European Robotic Arm and a Data Management System for the Russian

Service Module. In preparation for their Columbus contribution to the space station they also arranged for European astronauts to live and work on Mir (Euromir 94 and Euromir 95). These missions would prepare their corps for living on the space station, enable them to validate items of Columbus, and provide flight opportunities for the user community before the space station itself was operational.73

Lynn Cline was brought in by NASA to negotiate an agreement with Russia once it had accepted an invitation to join the station. The original approach was minimalist, involving as few changes as possible to the previous documents defined with the original partners. Cline explains why that did not work:

It became clear rather quickly that Russia wanted none of that, that they had very strong opinions about this partnership and what capability they were bringing to the table, and therefore, their desires on what their role should be.

So once we crossed that threshold of, “It’s not going to be minimal. There are going to be significant changes to this agreement,” what happened was, Japan pretty much didn’t want to change anything, Canada was rather flexible, and Europe came in with a whole new list of non-negotiable demands of changes that they wanted to have in the agreements as long as we’re revising them, or they’d walk away from the partnership. So when I went through these negotia­tions, I had as hard a time working out the terms and conditions with Europe as I did with Russia.

Still, she insists it went relatively smoothly since in the process

everybody recognized that Russia was a significant player, that they were bringing substantial capabilities with the launch capability, the cargo resup­ply capability, power capabilities, the main core of the Station. So there was a recognition that they had a key role. They had a right to certain demands, but also the original partners wanted us to truly bring them into the fold and have us all work multilaterally as a single integrated partnership.74

All the existing partners officially endorsed the proposal in May 1994. The programmatic advantages were evident. Russia would contribute its extensive experience of long-duration human spaceflight, and valuable hardware: the heavy-lift Proton launcher and the Soyuz capsule that could be temporarily attached to the ISS during construction. There was a “peace dividend” too. The German chancellor said he was “convinced that this international coop­eration will make a major contribution to lasting cooperation world wide and will be a beacon of hope and trust for men and women on every continent.”75 This sentiment was endorsed by the ministers of the member states meeting in Toulouse in October 1995. Here the ministers agreed to fund what was now called a Columbus Orbital Facility (COF), which had been reduced to a third of its original size, with Germany bearing 41 percent of the costs.76 France agreed to pay 27 percent of the costs of an automated transfer vehicle (ATV). The first of several ATVs called Jules Verne would be launched by Ariane, controlled from Toulouse, and would resupply the ISS with propellant, water, air, and payload experiments every 18 months.77 Its pressurized cargo bay was based on a “space barge” developed in Italy and flown on the Shuttle, and that carried equipment to and from the station. The ministerial meeting also agreed to fund the design studies of a crew transport vehicle (CTV), a “lifeboat” that could be used to rescue astronauts from the ISS.

In addition to negotiating an additional MoU between NASA and the Russian Space Agency, a new intergovernmental agreement (IGA) was needed to cover the arrival of the new partner. Barter agreements, “equivalent” contri­butions in kind that required no exchange of funds, were also concluded. ESA would provide the United States with additional hardware for the ISS while its COF would be launched free of charge on the Shuttle, rather than on Ariane. ESA and the Japanese space agency agreed to trade a – 80° laboratory freezer for the ISS for 12 international standard payload racks. ESA persuaded Russia to provide certain services in return for supplying the European robotic arm and the data management system for the Russian segment of the ISS.

The new IGA signed in Washington, DC on January 29, 1998, was based on the first version signed almost a decade before. Thus as before Article 1 of the IGA affirms that “[t]he object of this Agreement is to establish a long-standing international cooperative framework among the Partners, on the basis of genu­ine partnership, for detailed design, development, operation, and utilization of a permanently inhabited civil international Space Station for peaceful purposes, in accordance with international law.”78 “Genuine partnership” was however parsed to reflect the criticality of the different contributions to overall mission perfor­mance. The United States and Russia would produce the elements that served as the “foundation” for the ISS, those provided by the Europeans and Japan would “significantly enhance” its capabilities, while Canada’s contribution would be “an essential part” of the system. At the insistence of Russia, the management of the station was placed on a more multilateral basis than in the 1988 agreements. The United States was given the “lead role” for “overall program management and coordination,” with the “participation” of the other partners.79 The other partners were responsible for the management of their own hardware and utili­zation programs. They would also participate in all important reviews.

The change in the rules on criminal jurisdiction is also interesting.80 In the 1988 agreements the United States was entitled to exercise jurisdiction regard­ing accusations of misconduct by non-American personnel anywhere in the ISS—even if they were in or on non-American elements—if that misconduct was deemed to affect the safety of the whole station. In the 1998 agreements each partner state has jurisdiction over the behavior of its nationals in the first instance, though exceptions apply. It was also agreed that both the United States and the Russian Federation could use their elements for national security pur­poses if they so wished, but that they could not use the European elements with­out the consent of the European partner.

Throughout its history the space station has combined NASA’s determina­tion to sustain its post-Apollo momentum with a multilayered project origi­nally announced in 1969, combined with Congress’s willingness to support jobs in the aerospace industry, and with the foreign policy agendas of succes­sive administrations. The fact that it has had strong presidential support at key moments was also crucial, particularly for foreign participants. The partners in this behemoth, once persuaded that the United States was serious about a space station, had very similar domestic aims. Participation in the project would not only release more government funding for space, but it would also provide access to American technology, enhance the national technological base, and stimu­late the aerospace and related industries. It also had foreign policy components: notwithstanding their different attitudes to the United States, the 14 European ministers who met in Toulouse in 1995 saw the space station as the “greatest cooperative venture of all time, with significant scientific, technological and political implications.”81

The form that collaboration took evolved dramatically once Russia came on board. This was partly because NASA had to constantly cut back its ambitions for the station to satisfy a Congress that was increasingly impatient with rising costs and slipping schedules. It was also because Russia seemed to offer one way out of this perpetual crisis by bringing pertinent hardware and experience to the project, which no other nation had to offer, with the added advantage of pro­viding a “peace dividend” for the White House. The architecture of the station allowed for different ways of organizing collaboration with different partners depending on what they brought to the table. By contributing core elements, and by turning its institutional and financial disorder to its advantage, Russia forced NASA to make an exception to its time-hallowed principles of no-ex­change of funds and clean technological interfaces. Once the breach was made all could benefit, and all of the partners now contribute elements that are critical to mission success.82

The ISS transformed the way that NASA collaborated with its partners. The anxieties over Russian reliability and some resentment about the way in which dollars were spent by Moscow will surely make the agency and Congress extremely reluctant to give others a core role in a mission again without cast-iron guarantees that they can pay for what they do and that they can deliver. Nor is it certain that the much-vaunted foreign policy benefits that Clinton and Gore sought were achieved because Russia was integrated into the space station.83 Including Russia in the ISS was part and parcel of a wide-ranging initiative to transform the Soviet empire into a democratic, market economy, and might have played little or no role in facilitating the transition. Indeed, the ISS may not be a harbinger of a fundamental revision in NASA’s and Congress’s approach to international cooperation at all, as Pedersen hoped, but a unique experiment never to be repeated.


Science as an organized national activity gained an important place in Indian national life only after independence. The period from 1962 to 1972 was cru­cial for developing an institutional and technological base for space research in India. The growth and establishment of a domestic space program, and collab­orative relationships with organizations as well as scientists and technologists in foreign lands, was due to the active interest shown by India in the field of space sciences. NASA helped the scientific elite to create bases for sounding rockets and develop institutions along the way to shaping a space program that was geared toward the development needs of the country as defined by Sarabhai. As far as technological collaboration was concerned, US assistance during the early stages of India’s rocket program was limited to the donation of sounding rockets and the loaning of launchers; it never shared details of producing the sounding rockets locally. Homi Bhabha’s request for more advanced rockets in 1965 for testing and possible technology transfer were rejected. The attempt to acquire Scout technology after India had lost a border war with China in 1962 and the Chinese nuclear test of 1964 was rebuffed: the risk of further destabiliz­ing the region by supporting a rocket/missile program trumped NASA’s deter­mination to assist India. Other major prestige projects (such as the SITE—see next chapter) were embarked on to highlight the country’s modernizing urge without helping to rearm it, and to realign Delhi with Washington. US denial of advanced launcher technology led India to combine its own resources with help from other countries, mainly France, Germany, and the Soviet Union, to begin a launch vehicle program. By the time of Sarabhai’s death in 1971, his Profile for the Decade was accepted by the government of India, and his vision was carried further. Within a decade, incremental progress was made toward meteorologi­cal, remote sensing, and communication satellites, which were directed toward India’s socioeconomic needs. These were later launched on an indigenous Indian rocket that was developed along with a national missile program. By the end of the twentieth century Vikram Sarabhai’s famous quote “there is no ambiguity of purpose” had been fulfilled in a full-spectrum national space program.

The Impact of the International Traffic in. Arms Regulations

The export of space “technology” has always been constrained by the fear that it may compromise American national security or the economic competitiveness of US firms.1 As we saw in chapter 3, National Security Advisory Memorandum NSAM294 (on ballistic missile/rocket technology) and NSAM338 (on comsats) issued by the Johnson administration in the 1960s were intended to impede undesirable knowledge flows. Fears of technology transfer, and the need to con­trol it, hovered over the debate on European participation in the post-Apollo pro­gram, and on the sharing of rocket technology with Japan and India, described elsewhere in this book (chapters 4-6, 10, 12).

Historically NASA has favored a fairly generous policy on technology trans­fer. The key pillars of the policies put in place by Frutkin in the early 1960s—no exchange of funds, and clean interfaces—shaped the structure of international collaboration and deftly helped NASA kick-start programs all over the world without undermining national security or economic competitiveness. However, as other friendly space-faring nations matured, and as their potential contribu­tions to NASA’s program increased, the agency had to navigate between the pressure to deepen scientific and technological collaboration, and the objections of those who wanted more formal restrictions on the sharing of hardware and knowledge. The conflicts emerged with particular intensity in the early 1970s with Western Europe, and with Japan and India in the 1980s. By the 1990s NASA realized that it would have to formalize and streamline its export control system to cope with new international and domestic realities, notably a major scare over the People’s Republic of China’s appropriation of American weap­ons and space-related technologies. The more stringent implementation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) after 2000, and the onerous fines, including imprisonment, imposed for their violation caused some concern to people both in the United States and abroad. Preserving national security across a vast domain of dual-use technologies against the pressure from research and business who favor putting high walls around well-defined sensitive areas involves complex trade-offs and is a topic of ongoing interagency consultation.

Two arms of the executive branch, the Department of Commerce and the State Department, deal with most space-related export controls.2 The former administers the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which pertain to “dual-use” commodities, software, and technology, that is, items that have pre­dominantly commercial uses but that can also have military applications and that are to be found on the Commerce Control List (CCL). The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) in the State Department (the Office of Munitions Control in the early 1970s) administers the ITAR. The ITAR are intended to curb the proliferation of sensitive technologies and weapons of mass destruction by preventing the circulation of defense articles and defense services. Defense articles are listed on the US Munitions List (USML).

The USML was described in a brief by Alvin Bass (of NASA’s Office of General Counsel) as “a broad enumeration of articles which are considered as having direct or indirect military potential or applicability.” When Bass was writing, in 1970, he noted that the list covered almost everything that NASA was concerned with, including

[s]pacecraft, including manned and unmanned active and passive satellites, spacecraft engines, power supplies, energy sources, launching, arresting and recovery equipment, inertial guidance systems, and all components, parts and accessories of the above-mentioned items. Other categories [Bass went on] include propellants, missile and space vehicle powerplants, launch vehicles, rockets, control devices for any of the above, [various items] designed or modi­fied for spacecraft or space flight, pressure suits, protective garments. . . space vehicle guidance, control and stabilization systems, and the list continues.3

Bass did not enumerate the defense services that could only be supplied if per­mission was granted. Today defense services are defined as including “the fur­nishing of assistance (including training) to foreign persons, whether in the United States or abroad in the design, development, engineering, manufacture, production, assembly, testing, repair, maintenance, modification, operation, demilitarization, destruction, processing or use of defense articles.”4

The term “export” is misleading (as is the phrase “technology transfer”) if one wants to understand the scope of the control regime. These terms create the impression that only commodities are regulated. But authorization is also required (in a Technical Assistance Agreement, or TAA) to export technical data (as distinct from “purely theoretical scientific data,” which was treated more leniently). The meaning of the term “export” is correspondingly expanded. To quote Finarelli and Alexander, under ITAR, to export was defined in 2008 as “[a]ny oral, written, electronic, or visual disclosure, shipment, transfer, or trans­mission outside the United States to anyone, including a U. S. citizen, of any commodity, technology (information, technical data, or assistance), or software, or codes.”5 A second clause restricts even the “intent” to make exports of this kind to “a non-U. S.-entity or person wherever located,” that is, in the United States or abroad, and a third specifically controls any transfer to a foreign embassy or affiliate. Thus when US entities seek to transfer US technology abroad, they are triggering a process that manages not simply the “export” of commodities or “articles,” but that regulates the flow of related data and knowledge, where knowledge is inscribed in many different forms, from the statement and the image to the hardware, and transmission occurs through many different chan­nels, from the spoken word and the visual display, to shipment.

The Arms Export Control Act of 1976, often wrongfully attributed as being the genesis of ITAR, confirmed that the range of space technologies designated by Bass were indeed to be treated as defense articles, and that data exchanged regarding them was a defense service. That granted, it could always be argued by a US entity that specific items did not fall under the ITAR, and should be treated as dual-use technologies to be regulated by the less-restrictive EAR. In the case of the EAR, but not the ITAR, the decision over whether or not to grant an export license takes account of commercial factors, and above all whether or not the client could acquire the item from a foreign source if an American company did not provide it. In practice it is often found that many applications under the EAR do not need an export license, though the item must be evaluated before the determination is made and justifying documentation must be provided.

The reach of the legislation that embodies the control regime is negotiated and renegotiated between arms of the administration that have different and some­times conflicting mission-objectives. They take account of input and pressure from various stakeholders in space, notably firms interested in expanding their markets, who seek to have their items regulated by the more relaxed EAR on the grounds that they are dual-use commodities, not essentially instruments of war, but also scientists and engineers involved in international projects. Social actors who have to implement the legislation can face stiff penalties—fines, imprison­ment, loss of further government contracts—for not respecting its requirements and, in case of ambiguity, spontaneously retreat to a conservative interpretation of the law to protect themselves.

Satellite Broadcasting in. Rural India: The SITE Project

The Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) was a major NASA applications satellite program for educational TV in India. The project involved the use of NASA’s Application Technology Satellite-6 (ATS-6) to broadcast edu­cational programs directly to television sets placed in different rural clusters. The agreement for SITE was signed between NASA and India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) in 1969. The project was executed from August 1975 to July 1976 and received a great deal of media attention in the country. It was touted as a massive experiment in social engineering and was hailed by some enthusiasts as the world’s largest sociological experiment.1 The British science writer Arthur C. Clarke called it the “greatest communications experiment in history.”2

Praise for the intangible benefits of the SITE project was perhaps best sum­marized in a report to the United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space:

SITE can be considered a pace-setter and fore-runner of satellite television systems particularly of those meant for development. It is an example of technological and psychological emancipation of the developing world. Its most important element was the commitment and dedication of all people and organizations involved to the one overriding goal of rural development in India. From this follows the crucial role of motivation and cooperation for the success of complex and challenging tasks.3

The official Indian reaction to SITE was very positive. The immediate vis­ible results of the broadcast, as cited by project evaluators in the rural clusters, was improved school attendance, increased concern for proper nutrition, and an awareness of sanitation and personal hygiene as methods of disease preven­tion. One of the unanticipated benefits of the program was the electrification of numerous villages, a prerequisite for television reception.4 For the Indians, the visual demonstration galvanized public opinion in favor of a space program focused on socioeconomic needs. It helped the country gain competence in using satellites for mass communication and was a systems management les­son for managing Indian National Satellite (INSAT) systems.5 SITE played an important role in the development of mass media in India, and its legacy can

Satellite Broadcasting in. Rural India: The SITE Project

Figure 12.1 Artist’s conception of ATS relay. Source: NASA.

still be seen today when one watches educational programs sponsored by the University Grants Commission (UGC), which are broadcast on national televi­sion channels on a regular basis. ISRO’s recent launching of EDUSAT, a satellite designed exclusively for educational needs, can be traced back to SITE.6