Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr.
The title and topic are rather broad in scope but the time is relatively limited. As a result I have focused my remarks on global Earth and space sciences and on technology as it applies to space and associated areas.
Most of you are well aware that I have been and remain a shameless advocate of international cooperation, interagency coordination, and private and public sector cooperation to meet today’s truly difficult societal, economic, and environmental challenges. So, it should be no surprise that I believe:
In today’s world, we have unprecedented opportunities to turn competition in space to our advantage and to open a new era of worldwide cooperation in space activities, particularly in regard to building a sustainable future for the human species.
I have structured my remarks to align with the major components of the session title, dividing the whole into:
Surveying the Globalizing World, with a top-level view of globalization and applications to society, the economy, and environment.
Reviewing the status of Space Science and Technology, with emphasis on technology levels, current organizations and status, and the relationship between research and operations.
International Opportunities in Earth observations, space exploration, both manned and unmanned, with emphasis on lessons learned, fiscal and organizational realities, the experience of the Group on Earth Observation (GEO) and the Committee on Earth Observing Satellites (CEOS), and future specific opportunities.
NOTE: At the time of the November 2008 workshop, the author had just left government service on October 31, 2008, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) administrator and under secretary of commerce, and so participated in the workshop as a private citizen. Views expressed in this paper are strictly personal and not official NOAA pronouncements.
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D Opening Keynote: Scientific and Technological Cooperation and Competition in a Globalizing World Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr. THE PROPOSITION The title and topic are rather broad in scope but the time is relatively limited. As a result I have focused my remarks on global Earth and space sciences and on technology as it applies to space and associated areas. Most of you are well aware that I have been and remain a shameless advocate of international cooperation, interagency coordination, and private and public sector cooperation to meet today’s truly difficult societal, economic, and environmental challenges. So, it should be no surprise that I believe: In today’s world, we have unprecedented opportunities to turn competition in space to our advantage and to open a new era of worldwide cooperation in space activities, particularly in regard to building a sustainable future for the human species. THE MENU I have structured my remarks to align with the major components of the session title, dividing the whole into: • Surveying the Globalizing World, with a top-level view of globalization and applications to society, the economy, and environment. • Reviewing the status of Space Science and Technology, with emphasis on technology levels, current organizations and status, and the relationship between research and operations. • International Opportunities in Earth observations, space exploration, both manned and unmanned, with emphasis on lessons learned, fiscal and organizational realities, the experience of the Group on Earth Observation (GEO) and the Committee on Earth Observing Satellites (CEOS), and future specific opportunities. NOTE: At the time of the November 2008 workshop, the author had just left government service on October 31, 2008, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) administrator and under secretary of commerce, and so participated in the workshop as a private citizen. Views expressed in this paper are strictly personal and not official NOAA pronouncements. 38
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GLOBALIZATION The General Situation Globalization is a permanent part of the world order. The ever-increasing connections among all parts of the world and with multiple disciplines affect every part of our lives. The examples are many and graphic. To begin, national economies are intertwined. One has only to review the business page each day and see the results of 24 hours of continuous trading occurring somewhere in the world. Preceding the opening of the stock markets, futures markets influence the specific trading that goes on in the stock and commodities markets. As surely as day turns into night and back again somewhere in the world, the impacts are connected, and on some days very unsettling. The current economic crisis has affected (or infected) the entire world. Financial systems are connected. We have only to look at the current meetings of the world’s leaders as they ponder the size and effect of various remedies, essentially working together to cope with a worldwide recession and potential depression based on the globalization of bad debt and tightening on the credit markets. This high-level connection rolls down to average citizens around the world affecting their jobs, their standard of living, and potential for the future. No one is immune! Goods and services are globally connected as never before. The automobiles we drive are composed of parts made by the lowest bidders around the world, assembled in different user countries, and profits returned to the parent nations of international corporations. We call the help desk for our computers and information technology (IT) systems, and many times talk with someone on the other side of the globe including countries such as India. Retail industry products and profits are affected daily by the connection to a global supply chain and a global consumer market. Global technology development enables the connections that bind our corporations and economies in endless cycles of development and technological improvements that show up almost simultaneously in all parts of the world. The safeguarding of intellectual property rights (IPR) has become a high-priority topic of concern among the developed nations of the world. National leaders work continuously to ensure that technology transfers take place under recognized rules and protocols, with due respect to those that provide the seed corn for progress. In spite of our concerns for safeguarding IPR, technology travels to all parts of the world legally or not, enabled by expanding IT networks and the rapid movement of ideas. Global organizations are likewise ubiquitous, beginning with a large family of high-level United Nations (UN) organizations that run the gamut of purposes from policy and governance to science, agriculture and environment, to name only a small sample. Likewise there are regional affiliations among nations, private sector organizations, industries, and charitable groups. Every conceivable cause seems to have advocacy groups, again enabled by IT and the ever growing flow of information. Perhaps the easiest example of globalization for scientists to understand is the relationship that has always existed within the environment and among Earth and space sciences. The planet is and always has been connected—physically, chemically, and biologically; the Earth ecosystem is essentially a “system of systems.” With expanding globalization in other parts of life, it has become even more important to recognize and understand the synergy created by rampant globalization. Such visible environmental manifestations as global disease transmission can occur with the speed of modern aircraft. With people and goods as carriers, vector diseases can move around the globe in not much more than 24 hours. Invasive species circle Earth in the ballast tanks of ships or the cargo holds of planes, transforming the landscape at their new location and severely impacting the ecological balance. Natural disasters caused by Earth-related phenomena such as hurricanes and earthquakes are clearly common worldwide and affect the biosphere in similar ways around the world. Resource shortfalls in water, energy, and food are global and are the cause of significant global efforts at mitigation, adaptation, and easing of human suffering. In such situations, political boundaries are irrelevant, and in most cases cannot limit the extent of the situation and may even hinder response and recovery efforts. 39
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Today’s Status While I believe that most of us accept globalization as very real and influential on the course of business, government, and daily living, what are the specific conditions occurring today that will affect our deliberations with regard to international cooperation in space and space-related disciplines? Clearly we are in the beginning, or midst, depending on your prognosis, of a worldwide economic recession. The recent high-level meetings among national leaders led to the discussion of general and specific remedies which to be effective seem to beg for more international cooperation. It also seems clear that we will see increased interest in stimulus packages, as well as tighter federal budgets, and increased monitoring and regulation. Rising expenditures and budget shortfalls will perhaps become even more acute than we normally experience. National security concerns remain a worldwide priority. Globalization also includes such negative influences as nuclear arms and terrorism. The concept of “rogue states” is alive and well, and their global impact remains unsettling. Long entrenched antagonisms based on religious, ethnic, territorial, and cultural differences within and among nations remain as major drivers of national security policies. These trends will continue to push us apart, with the result that political boundaries remain highly relevant. While it is arguable that there may not be any significant increase in technological and industrial competition among nations, worldwide recession tends to reinforce the status quo. In this country we see the adverse effects of our laws regarding a topic known as International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)—something I know we will be talking about during the next two days. I will leave this topic to the experts for further analysis. But there remains a significant force in place, one that supports protectionism of both national industries and technology development. Achievement in space always has been, and will continue to be, a sensitive topic in national diplomacy. However daunting the current situation appears, there exist significant forces and conditions that encourage the need for more international cooperation. The growing worldwide concern over the effects of global climate change and the broader category of global change are causing political agendas everywhere to include calls for action and a search for cost-effective solutions. Resource shortfalls lead to competition, to be certain, but they also presage cooperation, particularly as worldwide shortages become more common and fiscal resources become even scarcer. The search for affordable, clean energy and water become projects of a magnitude that go far beyond what any individual nation can afford to take on alone. Food security has always been a significant issue. The world trade organization has worked for many years to develop a worldwide trade regime for agricultural products that is fair and equitable; but there has never been any doubt that trade in foodstuffs is a global issue. Fisheries management becomes even more compelling. The sea provides on the order of 20 percent of the world’s protein, and the extension of political boundaries into the world ocean becomes even more problematic. International cooperation in fisheries management is a must and is recognized as such today. The need to improve the lot of developing nations is a significant force. Economic development is a priority that drives the dynamics of international organizations from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), for example. It is a factor that continues to play a role in almost every international diplomatic issue discussion. Another important factor from my personal experience is that U.S. leadership remains real and significant. As I have traveled and held discussions with counterparts around the world (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, is a significant player in Earth sciences around the world), I have found that there is a strong sentiment to work with the United States and to cooperate in solving our economic and environmental challenges. The goal is to convert this continuing desire to have strong bilateral relations with the United States into broad acting multilateral initiatives with the expertise and resources needed to solve significant worldwide challenges. 40
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Bottom Line International cooperation is not only feasible but necessary for progress on the challenges we face. However, we must understand the current factors driving international relations. We must work around many of these conditions, because waiting for them to change means inaction and lack of forward motion. The attitude must be that the cup is at least half full if success is the goal! SPACE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Now let us take a global look at the level of and value of science and technology, particularly with regard to space. While the space age is in the grand scheme of things a small blip in the history of the planet, there have been many notable achievements which include celebrating 50 years of NASA as well as orbital flight. Space technology has achieved a level of maturity that allows us to stimulate our imaginations as well as to demonstrate its value across many disciplines and economic sectors. There are Earth-orbiting satellites too numerous to mention that provide, on a routine basis, communications connectivity around the globe. Environmental satellites ring Earth, providing valuable meteorological, oceanographic, and terrestrial information that forms the basis of a developed nation’s industry and economy. Earth-observing satellites play a pivotal role in providing the basis for approximately one third of our nation’s economic activity. Research satellites focusing on Earth’s climate are providing insights that have never before been available to scientists and decision makers alike. A major example of operational space science success is the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system that has spawned an unending number of valuable applications driving economic value and quality of life improvements around the world. We have explored our solar system with satellites and have put humans into orbit. As we sit here today, the International Space Station orbits Earth as a major example of international cooperation and space research. So much has happened in the past few decades that space is taken for granted at this point. Alas perhaps too much! We have learned that the contribution of space to activity on Earth increases many times when combined with in situ information. The World Weather Watch is a perfect example of the use of information obtained from both space- and Earth-bound assets combined together to provide critical environmental information for human activity and early warning of potential disasters. The world is a much safer and more productive place thanks to observation from space. In addition to the need to combat complacency in the public arena, the generation of space scientists and engineers that took us to the Moon and that created this marvelous source of development on Earth is now retiring. We must invest and nurture the next generations of engineers and technicians that will provide steady and dramatic improvements in our ability to use space to improve the human condition. This is not a single event, but one that is going to require improved institutionalization of academic and career development now and for the foreseeable future. It is also an international imperative! International cooperation requires more than just a strong desire to study and do research in space, it requires serious organization. There is probably no more difficult task than organizing large numbers of our individualistic species into large-scale, efficient, and productive organizations. Fortunately we have many examples of international organizations, some that are very effective and others less so. There really is no end to the list of organizations formed to serve every conceivable purpose. However, there are relatively few high-level international organizations that incorporate and use space. A key to successful international organizations is a successful organization schema at the national level. National interagency cooperation precedes effective international cooperation. To understand some of the impediments to successful organizational structure, we have to look no further than our own national government. Although beyond the scope of this presentation, we could certainly become more 41
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effective as a space-faring nation in cross-disciplinary and cross-agency management of national space issues. When viewing the level of space technology and applications to societal benefits, there needs to be a greater understanding of the difference between research and operations when it comes to space and space-technology applications. We need to understand and support robust space research activities as well as those space activities that have reached the “operational” threshold. Space research organizations such as NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), to name just a few, around the world have become well established, highly proficient, and have worldwide stature. On the other hand, operational space organizations that operate constellations of satellites for applications to industry, government, and the economy are less well understood and supported. Organizations such as NOAA, the United Stated Geological Survey (USGS), and the European Meteorological Satellite (EUMETSAT) organization serve as important examples of the growing number of organizations that have made commonplace the use of information gained from space assets in critical pubic and private decision making. We are in the infancy of building worldwide operational space organizations and agencies, and we must work at developing the proper organizational structures as well as joint planning mechanisms for funding cutting edge research and then transitioning the most effective and proven research results into operations for the benefit of society. INTERNATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES With that rapid survey of the situation, let’s turn now to the opportunities for international collaboration, taking into account the lessons learned both in competition and collaboration. There are different ways to examine the various categories of space technology and development, but for simplicity, let us divide the field into two major categories: Earth observation and space exploration (including space science), each of which subdivides broadly into manned and unmanned categories. Manned missions are certainly connected mostly with exploration, but I believe most will admit to the proven value of manned missions to Earth observation as well. Given the time allowed, once again I will state up front that international collaboration currently exists in manned space exploration, the International Space Station (ISS) being a prime example, and much more can be done to improve the mechanisms and partnerships that would provide quantum leaps in space discovery with larger scale international efforts. In fact, the large-scale interplanetary exploration missions cry out for international collaboration. Given that the workshop agenda includes ample time to examine the potential for space exploration initiatives, I will focus my remarks on Earth observation, the area with which I am most familiar and one that is deserving of attention in this workshop given the recent successes in international organization and partnerships that have occurred within the past decade. Lessons Learned Fiscal realities will drive us toward renewed emphasis on collaboration versus competition. Budgets around the world are constrained. Here at home, for example, the U.S. research agency, NASA, has an annual budget of approximately $17 billion, two of the operational agencies, NOAA and USGS, have much less at $4 billion and $1 billion. Of those overall totals, only about $1 billion within NOAA and a small fraction within USGS are spent on space operations. Given the state of the world economy, there is little or no margin for much expansion at this time, even though the need for, and value of space to society is great. Compounding the fiscal problem is the rising cost of space research and technology development. Almost every large space program sponsored by the U.S government has and continues to experience 42
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significant cost growth. Unlike much in our economy that is reasonably predictable, space technology really is “rocket science”! In addition to growing requirements and resulting instrument complexity, many believe that the loss of experienced manpower has also contributed significantly to over optimistic resource estimates. National priorities in a world with recession on its mind and a landscape of terrorism tend to exclude strong emphasis on space issues. Remember that space from the very beginning has been considered an area of competition as nations vie for international standing and prestige. Space achievement has been viewed as a symbol of national pride and technological supremacy. This situation is ripe for change! Organizational realities: The truth is that effective, large-scale organizations are necessary for developing, funding, and executing large-scale projects. Complexity is one word that comes to mind when examining current organizational realities. From a governmental view, national cooperation and focus is critical to success in international cooperation. Such agencies as NASA, NOAA, USGS, and the Department of Defense (DOD), for example, must have a coherent unified agenda; White House offices such as the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the National Security Council (NSC), and the Domestic Policy Council (DPC) must take an active role in fostering interagency collaboration and integration, and supporting a truly national space agenda. Congressional priorities and oversight roles are significant parts of the picture. Obstacles to overcome include the maze of committees and subcommittees, each of which tends to focus on the internal political priorities of their members. Our election cycles emphasize short-term success when everyone knows that space research and development usually takes on the order of at least 5 to 10 years for large and significant projects. Specific Example Having described some of the lessons learned in organization from a very general viewpoint, let us take stock of lessons learned by using a currently successful example, GEO in the area of Earth observation, that is dependent on space assets for ultimate success. The motivation for the formation of GEO and its importance can be reviewed succinctly in a recent Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) report, Earth Observations and Global Change, in which it is noted that “the ability to observe, understand, and subsequently adapt to our world is a key requirement for civilization.”2 In essence, Earth observations are fundamental to the economy and society and to advancing knowledge in Earth science areas. Cooperating with regard to Earth observations represents a clear-cut win-win situation. No single nation can understand and predict the global environment! Benefits include the ability to be proactive versus reactive in our approach to global change, resource management, and disaster response and recovery. A small but not unimportant point is the name itself, “Earth observation,” which is apolitical and nonthreatening in a policy sense. Designed from the very beginning to include an “end-to-end” mechanism to provide decision-quality information to the public and national leaders, the name provides no bias as to what those decisions should or should not be. The choice of a neutral title is critical to gaining wide support! Another important factor is that GEO was formed with the concept of societal and economic benefits as the prime motivation. It was not set up with the goal of creating another scientific research system, but rather to provide direct benefits to the economy by delivering useful information to the decision makers of the world. Those reasons are codified in the GEO organizational structure as Societal Benefit Areas (SBAs). There are nine specific areas that the nations of the world agreed were imperatives for a sustainable future. In summary they are health, disasters, weather, climate, water, energy, 2 L. Wigbels, G.R. Faith, and V. Sabathier, Earth Observations and Global Change:Why? Where Are We? What Next?, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C., July 2008, p. 1. 43
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agriculture, ecosystems, and biodiversity. It is important to think of the GEOSS as a system that will improve the ability of the human species to manage within the nine SBAs for concrete economic and societal benefits, not solely to build a bigger and better research tool. With regard to national leadership, there has been strong White House involvement. The OSTP created a relevant interagency coordination body under the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources named the U.S. Group on Earth Observation (USGEO) to develop the U.S. contribution to GEO, which is known as the Integrated Earth Observation System (IEOS). There is coherence in the national effort that dovetails with strong U.S. leadership internationally. Internationally, the United States has been both sensitive to the needs of other nations and involved in early efforts at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The United States led efforts at the subsequent G-8 meeting to gain multilateral support for the GEO initiative. Significant emphasis was placed on bilateral conversations with developed and developing nations alike to scope the interest and requirements for leading a new multilateral international effort. Bilateral relationships are much easier to build and maintain, but Earth observation is by definition a multilateral activity. Internal U.S. political realities were taken into account in the matter of UN versus non-UN. GEO was envisioned to begin as a non-UN organization, but with the significant involvement by the many UN organizations that either operate or use Earth observation data and to which all of the GEO member nations belong. Today, 5 years after the original organizing Earth Observing Summit I, there are 75 member nations and the European Commission, as well as 50 UN and intergovernmental organizations united in the GEO effort. Such important bodies as the World Meteorological Organization, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to name a very small number, are participating organizations and bring with them the various international observing systems that support the work plans that have been tailored to achieve the agreed upon “10 Year Implementation Plan.” CEOS is the primary international Earth observation from space organization within GEO, and with 28 members with satellite programs and 20 associate members, is responsible for many important tasks in the work plan. GEO was created at the ministerial level and provided direct access to, and involvement by, the highest leadership of all the member nations. It includes scientific as well as diplomatic and political representation and makes provision for private sector involvement, although this effort to capture the extraordinary entrepreneurial value of the worldwide private sector is in its infancy. The organizational structure takes into account the different “business models” under which governments work⎯the extremes of which can be described as total government subsidy of all Earth observation information on one hand and on the other charging all customers for any information gathered. The definitions can be shortened by thinking of these as “public-good data” or “pay for play.” The GEO premise is that there needs to be some level of public-good data freely available to all nations, or what is known as an open data policy. The GEO 2007 Ministerial Declaration for Implementation of Data Sharing Principles by the planned 2010 Ministerial is a significant statement of recognition of this policy by the member nations and a key to the success of the 10-year implementation plan. International collaborative space program opportunities abound within the GEO arena. The building of the U.S. IEOS a is strong incentive for effective national long-range planning among NOAA, USGS, and NASA. It has also served as an important example to many other nations who now have also begun to build the important collaborative interagency structures that will serve in the development of the GEOSS. With regard to specific programs, internationally much progress has been made in the drive to make the JASON series of altimetry satellites continuous and join the current family of operational space assets. The benefits of space-based altimetry to the understanding of the effect of climate change have been documented in a recently published paper that indicates sea-level rise has doubled since 1993. Such calculations would be impossible without the maturation of altimetry from space and will fail in the future without continuity of the space assets. 44
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NPOESS is a prime example of international cooperation between the United States and Europe, with each operating it own satellite systems in different orbits but sharing the data, which significantly reduces the cost for each party. The geostationary meteorological satellite support agreements that the United States has with Europe and Japan could easily be extended to the family of nations that provides worldwide meteorological coverage from geostationary orbit. The initiation of the GEONETCast system of direct broadcast of Earth-observation data from space to the world, now being sponsored by China, Europe and the United States, could easily be expanded with other nations and data providers joining the effort. The United States and Japan are studying a partnership involving the sharing of instruments and data using current and future satellites. One of the most exciting opportunities for multilateral development and cooperation in Earth- observing space assets involves the CEOS effort to build “virtual constellations.” A virtual constellation is essentially a postulated group of existing or future satellites, accompanying instruments, and ground segments designed for coordinated operation and exploitation. Such an effort would provide consistent guidance for design standards and future development that would allow coherent operation of the entire constellation. Opportunities would include shared experience in algorithm development, standardized data and measurements, timely exchange of and access to products, and facilitation of new mission planning. Combining the outputs with in-situ observations (which is essential) to support end-user customers would demonstrate on a large and efficient scale the critical worldwide contribution of space agencies to the “value-chain” of an end-to-end system. Six constellations have now been approved for analysis, as follows: • Constellation for Atmospheric Composition (ACC) designed for monitoring ozone, air quality, and climate, directly serving the SBAs of disasters, health, energy, climate, and ecosystems; • Constellation for Land Surface Imaging (LSI) designed for serving the SBAs of disasters, energy, climate, water, ecosystems, agriculture, and biodiversity, and incorporating LANDSAT, SPOT, CBERS, and ALOS-PRISM; • Constellation for Ocean Surface Topography (OST) for Systematic Observation from basin- scale to meso-scale phenomena and serving the SBA’s of disasters, climate, water, and weather; • Constellation for Precipitation (PC) designed for multi-satellite global precipitation missions and serving the SBAs of disasters, climate, water, and weather; and • Two recently approved constellations for Ocean Color Radiometry (OCR) and Ocean Surface Vector Wind (OSVW). While the examples described are relatively well defined, other opportunities for collaboration not so far into the conceptual stage also exist. To mention a few, there is a critical need for a Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) to support potential worldwide agreements on mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Integral to that effort would be a Global Carbon Monitoring System (GCMS). There can be no effective solutions to the climate change issue without the ability to monitor worldwide effects of any regulatory or control regimes that might be put into place. Certainly, with the cost of changes to the world energy and natural resource use patterns, we may only get one chance to do this correctly. As an example of the difficulty, the effect of changes in land cover, including deforestation, must be quantified. While space assets can provide unique information, normally the combination of observation from space with data from in-situ sensors is required to provide useful information to decision makers. The recognition that space is part of a much larger picture and planning accordingly is a message that needs emphasis. Most of the world’s 21st century challenges will require a multidisciplinary approach with space playing a significant role. 45
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Private sector and public sector involvement is critical as well. Government can provide regulations and rule sets for the economy, but the ability to develop and build large-scale hardware and software is the business of the private sector around the world. Exclusion of private-sector ingenuity and entrepreneurial expertise from the future of space enterprises would be a big mistake. The ability to build effective partnerships across organizational boundaries can lead to synergistic solutions to some of the most challenging problems. CONCLUSION Based on the above review I would emphasize and restate my opening premise as follows: There are enormous opportunities for collaboration on the horizon today, both nationally and internationally. Rising costs, economic priorities, technological and scientific needs, and expanding benefits combine to make collaboration both appealing and necessary. In particular with regard to Earth observing, we must continue to demonstrate that we can work together at the science and technology level as well as the governing political level. We must raise public understanding of the need for investment in space applications to improve the economy in an increasingly globalized system and to build a cooperative international framework for a sustainable future. I do believe that these same tenets apply to space exploration. To that end, I will close by offering four principles that I believe underpin successful collaborations both nationally and internationally: • The objective of the collaboration should be clearly relevant to high-priority economic and social needs; • All parties must work together to create a unified and much larger public voice in support of the mission; • There must be coherent, realistic planning for the continuity of successful research results to continuous future operations; and • Success is much more likely when the project is supported by high-level (ministerial) involvement! 46