Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Space Mess


  • I've been working with the Global Network's two boards (directors and advisers) for the past week to come up with a final poster for our annual Keep Space for Peace Week which will run from October 6-13.  The theme this year will be 'No Space Force'.  We've held this week of local events around the world on the space issue since 2001.  We ask local folks to show a space film, hold an educational event with a speaker or organize a protest at a military base or production site that is involved with the Star Wars program.  Please feel welcome to organize something in your local community this year and be sure to let us know of your plans.

  • Once the poster is ready for print I'll be sure to post it here.  We are seeing alot of interest in Trump's proposed Space Force and it is reassuring that people appear to be getting the cost issue as well as the provocative nature of the plan.  Remember that the full Congress must approve of the Space Force - so far only the House of Representatives has done so (last session) while the Senate declined to act on it.  There is alot of regional competition going on as the Army Space Command (Huntsville, Alabama) is directly up against the Air Force Space Command (Colorado Springs, Colorado) for control of this new military service branch.  You can count on the fact that the aerospace industry is driving this thing as they know they stand to make massive profits if they can push the taxpayers into their waiting arms.

  • Both the US and Russia are finding that their once revered generations of rocket scientists that first took their respective nations into space are retiring and that issues of transferring knowledge and quality control are becoming problematic.  The US has in recent years had to rely on Russia to launch its astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).  That is beginning to change now as the winds of privatization of the launch industry sweep more launch providers into the market.  

  • Russia’s Proton rocket has suffered more than half a dozen full or partial failures this decade, and was sidelined for much of 2016 and 2017 for an anomaly review and the subsequent unrelated discovery of incorrectly built engines. Proton’s launch troubles have caused International Launch Services, the U.S.-based commercial sales arm of rocket manufacturer Khrunichev, to lose business to European and American launch providers. According to the Kremlin’s published transcript of Putin’s remarks during a July 18 meeting with the state-run space corporation Roscosmos, Putin said it “is necessary to drastically improve the quality and reliability of space and launch vehicles” and to preserve Russia’s increasingly threatened leadership in space.
  • All of this is costing space-faring nations big money to build, launch and maintain satellites and rockets.  India, with more than 250 million people living in poverty, has become one of the world's leading space technology programs. And all of these programs for space - even if initially intended for peaceful space exploration - are becoming militarized.  That means great chances for conflict in space as nations attempt to 'control and dominate' the heavens for military and commercial (mining) operations.  Thus we need a global discussion (and movement) about the kind of seed we carry with us as we move off into space.  Let's don't carry the bad seed of greed, war and environmental degradation with us into space.
 Bruce

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