implementation of this new vision should begin sooner rather than later in the process. Panelists warned that other nations might decide not to participate but instead to form their own cooperative space exploration programs without the United States. There are also several types of international involvement that could be pursued in implementating the vision, including program interdependence (e.g., ISS) and coordination (e.g., NPOESS). Several panelists agreed that the U.S. needs to meet its commitments on the ISS before other countries will agree to be involved in the new exploration vision. Legal issues surrounding the end of the ISS program were also discussed. International cooperation is not mentioned explicitly in the ASTRA framework. Although she recognized the need for infrastructure, Joan Johnson-Freese said the framework appears to be linear—that is, it assumes an equal-increment progression from step 1 to step 2 to step 3. This progression seems improbable and concerns were expressed that NASA might emphasize process at the expense of product.
The legal and international issues entailed in space exploration are usually resolved as necessary. Panelists felt that the current treaties adequately address any near-term issues and that the current legal environment is based on past precedents involving technology. When asked about examples of multinational cooperative efforts in industry, panelists cited several examples, including pan-European industry consolidation and new private agreements between various global industrial partners.