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Public Papers - 1990

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the United States Commercial Space Launch Policy


The United States seeks a free and fair international commercial space launch market to further the use of outer space for the betterment of mankind. At the same time, because space launch technologies have significant military applications, important U.S. national security considerations must be addressed by our commercial space launch policy.

Over the past several weeks, the President has had detailed discussions with the Vice President and other senior advisers on U.S. commercial space launch policy developed by the National Space Council. The President has authorized the Secretary of State to approve a license application for participation by a U.S. firm in Australia's Cape York space launch project, provided certain agreements necessary to ensure U.S. national security interests are reached.

Specifically, the U.S. will seek agreements to ensure that:

(1) The U.S.S.R. will provide launch services (boosters, equipment, technology, or training) only from Cape York or any other single location,

(2) The U.S.S.R. and Australia will observe the Missile Technology Control Regime, and

(3) U.S. regulations on technology transfer to the Soviet Union will be observed.

The United States hopes and expects that these agreements can be concluded quickly so that the license can be granted. To permit continued U.S. participation, the United States in the coming months will also be seeking agreements to ensure free and fair trade in the international commercial space launch market. Details of the U.S. commercial space launch policy will be announced in the near future.

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