For more information, please call: Rick Tumlinson at 212-387-7887
Rogers, who is also the Chairman of the Sophron Foundation, made this point:
According to Rogers and the Foundation, at the core of the Alpha Town concept lies one very important truth that demands a serious reordering of national space priorities:
The Space Frontier Foundation, a leading space advocacy organization that was once a vehement opponent of the station, sponsored Rogers' testimony as part of congressional hearings on
Handing over the operation of the US portion of the station to an innovative commercial contractor as soon as possible, with the understanding that the facility be operated in an entrepreneurial, profit oriented and cost reducing manner.
Competitively bid all payloads and passenger flights to and from the US portion of the station amongst US launch firms.
Requiring that all expansion of the US portion of the station beyond the current design be leased from US commercial firms.
Assuring that all domestic and international laws, treaties and agreements involving Alpha Town create a level playing field for US firms and act to encourage private investment in space.
Foundation President Rick Tumlinson commended Science Committee Chair Robert Walker (R-PA) for initiating the hearings: "Congressman Walker is one of the more visionary leaders on the Hill, who sees space not as a program but as a place where people will one day live and work. He knows that we can't continue to pour billions of tax dollars into space without the prospect of an economic return to the American public." He continued:"Converting the civil Space Station program into a economically viable outpost in orbit - the heart of "Alpha Town," achieve's the Chairman's vision - it makes the project relevant, gives it an easily understandable rationale for the taxpayers and will eventually make human space flight as important to the American public as airline travel is today."
The Foundation's testimony cites the historical analogy of cities and towns in the US and Europe that originally grew up around government forts and outposts in its call for the entire program to begin moving in this direction. They see the facility as the Federal heart of a bustling free enterprise based community, carrying on all types of activities, from science, to new product development and tourism. The organization has claimed some success in this area, as the agency takes what the group considers small steps in the right direction.
According to Tumlinson: