What an absolutely BRILLIANT idea!
Think about it. Space agencies in the United States, Europe, Canada and Japan worked together for years planning an orbiting laboratory in space. After the fall of the iron curtain, Russia — a former adversary — joined the partnership. Unprecedented. Our Cold War rival now our friend?
Our quest to move beyond the boundaries of Earth’s atmosphere lifted us high above political, cultural and language barriers that divide us on the surface of this planet.
15 nations came together IN PEACE to design, build, launch, and assemble our orbiting outpost — 22o miles overhead 24/7 orbiting every 90 minutes at 17,500 mph.
Here is a portrait of senior government officials from our international partner countries who came to Washington D.C. on Jan. 29, 1998 to establish the framework of cooperation upon with the partnership was formed — representatives of Russia, Japan, Canada, and participating countries of the European Space Agency (ESA), including Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
And it wasn’t easy. Just ask anyone who worked in the Space Station program.
I was actually hired to come work in the Space Station program back in 1985. At the time, Station was but a series of drawings, hopes and dreams — not to mention crossed fingers. In a staff meeting not long ago, Bill Gerstenmaier made a comment during a Space Shuttle mission that really struck me. He told us how amazed he was that all the assembly details that kept him up at night over the years came together flawlessly. It’s pretty incredible that we assembled ON ORBIT all the hardware, cables, and software built at locations all around the world by workers in multiple languages.
So what about Alan’s Peace Prize idea? How would that work? Curious, I looked up the Nobel Peace Prize nomination process. You may not be surprised to learn that only a select few can submit proposals. No self-nominations. Snap.
According to the Nobel Prize website:
The Norwegian Nobel Committee is responsible for the selection of eligible candidates and the choice of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. The Committee is composed of five members appointed by the Storting (Norwegian parliament). The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway, not in Stockholm, Sweden, where the Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and the Economics Prize are awarded.
So, from what I can tell, we have until September. We need to find a qualified nominator who believes the Space Station international partnership — that successfully designed, built, launched, assembled, and continues to operate our amazing Peace Laboratory in Low Earth Orbit — is worthy of nomination. Right?
Hey, what about our Norwegian partners? Surely they have qualified friends, wouldn’t you think? If you know anyone who fits the bill, give them a shout for us. You can help us spread the good word – two words, actually: Peace Prize!
It’s amazingly noble — this international partnership in space. Why shouldn’t it be Nobel too?