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Weltraum-Politik - German lawmaker says Trump White House underscores need for Europe’s space sovereignty

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31.01.2017

German lawmaker says Trump White House underscores need for Europe’s space sovereignty

 

WASHINGTON —  A member of Germany’s ruling party said the isolationist signals emanating from the Trump White House are reinforcing the need for Europe to be able to go it alone in space.

“If we recognize the vibrations that the new U.S. government sends over the ocean to us — and maybe it’s not only a vibration — I think it’s very necessary more than ever before that we in Europe have our own capacity and our own competence to enter the space, to shoot satellites into space and to put together all the European competence you can find for a successful mission,” said Norbert Barthle, parliamentary state secretary for Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transportation and Digital Infrastructures.

Barthle was speaking Jan. 27 at  Arianespace’s Jupiter Control Center in Kourou, French Guiana, following the successful launch of Hispasat-36W-1, a satellite built by German manufacturer OHB Systems AG and orbited on a Europeanized-Russian Soyuz rocket.

U.S. President Donald Trump has been critical of the European Union and Germany, telling British newspaper The Times in an interview published Jan. 16 that the European Union is “basically a vehicle for Germany,” and adding later that he expects other members will follow the U.K. in exiting the group. Though being part of the EU is not a requirement for being part of the European Space Agency, most members overlap between the two. 

ESA has a contract with Airbus Safran Launchers to build Europe’s next-generation medium- and heavy-lift rocket, the Ariane 6, and with Italy’s Avio for the next-generation light-lift launcher, Vega C. The new rockets are to ensure European access to space more cost-effectively than the current Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega family of launchers. 

ESA Director General Jan Woerner, speaking before Barthle, highlighted the collective public and private efforts of ESA member states in developing Hispasat-36W-1, a telecommunications satellite for Spanish operator Hispasat.

“This makes a great story at the end of the day that we are not celebrating national success, but we are celebrating here European success, and I think this is very good,” he said. 

Woerner, the former chairman of the German Aerospace Center’s executive board, touted space as having an ability to demonstrate “global cooperation beyond earthly crisis,” pointing out the congratulations he received after the launch from Igor Komarov, head of the Russian State Space Corp. Roscosmos regarding the success of the Soyuz launch. 

“This shows that we can cooperate even in very difficult political situations. Space can do it and we should always look to that. We need this bridge for the whole globe, not only for two or three countries,” he added. 

The European Union, like the United States, sanctioned Russia following its 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Quelle: SN

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Update: 6.02.2017

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RAS response to the US Executive Order banning entry from seven countries


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The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) is greatly concerned by the Executive Order announced last week by US President Donald Trump, which prevents people from seven Middle Eastern and African countries from entering the United States.

As an international scientific organisation, the Society recognises and fully supports the need for the astronomers, space scientists and geophysicists that we represent to travel in pursuit of their work. The ban hinders researchers from sharing their work with their peers, a fundamental tenet of scientific endeavour. It has already affected scientists working in the US, and those who planned to travel there, including people based in the UK. The restrictions threaten to damage collaboration between the US and nations around the world.

The RAS also stresses its continuing commitment to equality and diversity in science, and firmly opposes discrimination on the grounds of religious faith, ethnic origin, nationality, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

The Society therefore offers its full support to those astronomers, space scientists and geophysicists affected by this ban. We urge the government of the United Kingdom to make the strongest possible representations to the US on this issue, and to work to mitigate its impact.

Quelle: RAS

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Update: 7.02.2017

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Trump is turning Elon Musk into a crony capitalist

Staying in the president’s good graces is crucial to Musk’s success

Alongside “alternative facts” and “night Twitter,” “crony capitalism” has become a key phrase for the Trump era. The term describes a market where success is determined by political favor rather than consumer choice. Modern Russia is a classic example: if you want to succeed in the Russian oil business, you’re better off making friends with Putin than studying up on drill mechanics. The US isn’t quite there yet, but when Trump starts badgering companies to keep factories in the US — while refusing to divest from his own globe-spanning real estate business — many see a new era of US crony capitalism in the making.

Picking winners and losers is a troubling government practice for lots of reasons, but it’s particularly embarrassing for the businesses playing the game. If a company spends enough energy currying favor with the government, it starts to look like it’s doing so at the expense of its own product. What’s the point of building Google when the government can force everyone to use Alta Vista?

It’s surprising, then, to see Elon Musk working so hard to make friends with Donald Trump. Musk is usually held up as a model entrepreneur — someone using bold ideas and compelling products to tackle some of the world’s most urgent problems. But since Trump was elected, he’s been behaving an awful lot like a crony capitalist. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO joined the president’s Strategic and Policy Forum in December, and raised eyebrows among climate hawks by defending Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson’s bid for secretary of state the following month

More recently, Musk joined CEOs from across the industry in condemning Trump’s haphazard immigration restrictions, but it came just as Musk was joining up to Trump’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative. Thus far, he’s shown no sign of withdrawing from the initiative, or the larger advisory forum. Even Travis Kalanick, usually cast as the Lex Luthor of the tech world, bowed out of the president’s advisory group after facing boycotts from riders and drivers alike.

 

Musk has also bowed out of some of the new administration’s biggest legal fights. On Saturday, 97 tech companies filed a joint amicus brief against Trump’s immigration ban, a tangible show of legal resistance against the controversial order. Signers included Apple, Google, Microsoft, Uber, and even Musk’s old home PayPal. Tesla and SpaceX were notably absent from the list. Suddenly, Musk is the only tech CEO working to stay on the new president’s good side. (Update: Tesla and SpaceX joined the lawsuit on the afternoon of February 6th, after this piece was published.)

 

Musk has defended his advisory role as a way to influence Trump for the better, particularly on issues of climate and space travel. Over the weekend, he touted two small successes, adding the travel bans to the agenda at a White House meeting and raising the issue of climate change to the same group. In each case, it’s hard to say how effective he was at influencing policy. Given the largely ceremonial role of both groups, there’s plenty of reason to be skeptical.

There’s also a more cynical explanation. Musk’s businesses have long benefited from government support, and given Trump’s eagerness to throw elbows, there’s reason to think that support might melt away if the president felt slighted. That’s not normally how we think of Musk, who’s more associated with startup self-reliance than government largesse — but the dynamic was in place long before Trump arrived on the scene. Musk always had the soft power of government on his side, and it’s been an important force in making his ambitious bets pay off. The political winds may have shifted, but Musk can’t. This is the logic of crony capitalism: if you want to survive, you have to stay on the ruler’s good side. 

 

For Tesla, government support is often quite direct. Right now, every Tesla buyer in the US walks off the lot with a $7,500 federal tax credit, with additional credits ranging up to $25,000depending on the state and model. A similar credit lets you deduct up to 30 percent of the cost of home solar panels, a tax break that has fueled the growth of Musk’s SolarCity business, which recently merged with Tesla.

There are good policy arguments for each credit — particularly the solar installations, which can play a crucial role in the larger power grid. But those federal tax breaks have been central factors in Tesla and SolarCity’s success, and both businesses will be badly damaged if the measures are revoked. With Trump and congressional Republicans eager to roll back environmental measures, it’s not hard to imagine those tax breaks coming under fire in the next budget.

Beyond the federal subsidies, Musk’s businesses have benefited from a number of local tax breaks and one-off grants, with some estimates putting the total amount of government subsidy as high as $4.5 billion. There’s also SpaceX, which relies heavily on federal contracts as well as the broader push toward privatized space flight.

Those aren’t necessarily bad deals for the government, and I don’t bring them up to cast Musk as a freeloader. Tesla and SpaceX really do create jobs and solve problems that governments otherwise couldn’t. But the sheer scale of the subsidies shows how much Musk would have to lose in a protracted feud with the president, and how vulnerable he is to the logic of crony capitalism. If Trump ever turned on Musk, the damage to his companies would be immediate and disastrous. Like a Russian oligarch, his success depends on staying in the government’s good favor.

Musk is not alone in this. Nearly all of the businesses he’s disrupting are more reliant on government support — most notably the Detroit automakers, the United Launch Alliance, and the oil industry in general. Most major corporations benefit from government policy in some way, if only through trade and tax deals. We’ve seen CEOs from Ford, AT&T, and Boeing all playing nice with Trump for similar reasons.

But while it’s common in the business world at large, that dynamic is still rare among recently founded tech companies, which often take a more adversarial stance toward the public sector. The comparison to Uber is instructive: having spent years waging total war against municipal governments, Kalanick and his company now have more to fear from drivers and customers than the president.

It’s hard to say how this bargain ends. Trump’s executive order on immigration was his administration’s first major flash point, but less than a month into his first term, it won’t be the last. The threat to Tesla and SpaceX will remain constant, while the cost of aligning with Trump will only grow. Musk’s bet may still pay off like he wants, with greater influence and better policy, but it seems less likely by the day. Instead, he may join Chris Christie and Ted Cruz as would-be advisors who lost their dignity trying to stay in Trump’s good graces. For a business hero like Musk, that would be a long way to fall.

Quelle: The Verge

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Elon Musk joins court fight against Trump travel ban

 
 

Elon Musk has signed on to fight President Trump's travel ban.

Tesla, SpaceX and 29 other companies joined dozens of other tech companies Monday in the legal fight, declaring that Trump's executive order on immigration "violates the immigration laws and the Constitution." 

 

That brings the total number of companies who've cosigned the friend of the court brief to 127. 

Musk's companies, Tesla and SpaceX, were not among the original list of nearly 100 companies that were part of a court motion on Sunday evening. 

Other companies that joined the brief Monday include mattress startup Casper, office services platform Managed by Q, and the messaging startup Slack. 

The motion was filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which on Sunday morning denied the U.S. government's emergency request to resume Trump's travel ban. The appeals court has asked for both sides to file legal briefs before it makes a final decision. 

Related: These 127 companies are fighting Donald Trump's travel ban

Musk, who is the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, was one of about a dozen top tech execs who had met with Trump in December. Executives from Palantir, Cisco, Oracle, and IBM also attended the meeting. They have not joined the friend of the court brief. 

The big four telecom companies, AT&T, (TTech30) Verizon (VZTech30), T-Mobile (TMUS) and Sprint (S), have not joined the brief. 

Elon Musk is also a member Trump's Economic Advisory Council. The group met last Friday and Musk later tweeted that, at his request, the travel ban was "first and foremost" on the agenda. 

Musk publicly criticized the travel ban in one tweet as "not the best way to address the country's challenges." 

SpaceX, as well as Oracle and Palantir, all have lucrative government contracts.

Quelle: CNN

 

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