Sensenbrenner criticises Shuttle-Mir missions
Jan 23, 1998
The chairman of the US House Science Committee, James Sensenbrenner, has criticised the Shuttle-Mir space missions as "an especially bad example of an international agreement."
The missions were established "for all the wrong reasons" and gave the impression that scientific co-operation is a form of foreign aid, Sensenbrenner told the Indian Science Congress Association in a recent speech. He said that the Shuttle-Mir mission, worth $400 million, was compensation to Russia for the cancellation of a rocket technology deal with India in 1994. "I disagree with the President Clinton's chief scientific advisor, Jack Gibbons, who offers 'no apologies' for the fact that US-Russian co- operation is part of overall US foreign policy, not just space policy" he said.
Sensenbrenner was also concerned about international agreements in general, noting that over 90 percent of NASA's space projects now have international components. He seemed more optimistic when discussing the recent agreement between the US and CERN, the European particle physics laboratory, hailing it as a classic example of how US scientific interests are best served. "The lessons learned during the negotiation of the LHC [at CERN] agreement should be applied to any scientific negotiations that the US undertakes." Sensenbrenner hopes a similar contract will be undertaken with negotiations for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER).