Aeronautics and Space Report of the President FY 1995 Activities


International Aeronautical and Space Activities

International Organizations

DoS served as the lead agency for U.S. delegations at meetings of the International Telecommunications Satellite (INTELSAT) and the International Mobile Satellite (INMARSAT) organizations. It provided relevant policy guidance to Comsat, the U.S. signatory to both of these organizations. DoS participated in the creation of the INTELSAT 2000 Porlamar Working Party in October 1994. It began considering options for restructuring INTELSAT, including the creation of one or more corporate subsidiaries that would function as ordinary multinational companies. DoS worked to support administration objectives that INTELSAT restructuring improves competition in the international satellite market and benefits users. The INTELSAT Twentieth Assembly of Parties endorsed these objectives in August 1995 and created a new working party to implement the subsidiary arrangement. DoS began the task of ensuring that the working party's efforts fulfill the objectives of full and fair competition.

To reflect more clearly the changing nature of its expanded services, INMARSAT changed its name from the International Maritime Satellite Organization to the International Mobile Satellite Organization in December 1994. At the 10th session of the INMARSAT Assembly of Parties in December 1994, the assembly decided that INMARSAT could provide handheld mobile satellite services via an affiliate called ICO, provided that it not interfere with INMARSAT's main purposes—especially its public service obligations—and that there should be no cross-subsidization between ICO and INMARSAT. Additionally, there should be nondiscriminatory access to national markets for all mobile satellite communications networks. Following the Assembly's decision, INMARSAT and some of its signatories set up ICO Global Communications Ltd. to acquire, launch, and operate a constellation of 12 satellites in medium-Earth orbit. In July 1995, ICO placed a $1.3 billion order for these satellites with a U.S. manufacturer. In the interest of fair market competition, DoS sought to ensure that ICO does not benefit indirectly from INMARSAT's treaty status. Similarly, DoS participated in an intersessional working group examining INMARSAT's structure to see whether it could and should be converted from a treaty-based organization into a commercial one without special privileges and immunities.

In FY 1995, the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee (STSC) of the United Nations' Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) continued its discussions on orbital debris and its potential adverse impact on space operations. The debate focused on the development of a continuing, deliberate, specific multiyear plan for the committee's work on space debris. The multiyear work plan adopted by STSC included measurements of space debris, understanding of data and effects of this environment on space systems, modeling of space debris environment and risk assessment, and space debris mitigation measures. The work plan evolved from statements by the United States, France, Germany, Canada, India, and the European Space Agency.

During FY 1995, STSC and the Legal Subcommittee of COPUOS also continued their work on international cooperation in meteorology, space science, space transportation, human space flight, and environmental monitoring. Since its founding in 1958, COPUOS has made significant progress in promoting international collaboration in outer space for science and engineering, communications, transportation, weather forecasting, global change research, and medicine.


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Curator: Lillian Gipson
Last Updated: September 5, 1996
For more information contact Steve Garber, NASA History Office,
sgarber@hq.nasa.gov