Imágenes de páginas

as improved longer range weather forecasting and firm prediction of future climatic trends is entirely dependent on

[ocr errors]

the quality of the planning done in advance,

Allow me, briefly, to refer to a few other areas of inquiry in which our Space Science Board is engaged. A

somewhat more detailed summary and discussion of these

activities and the questions they raise will be found in a

report to me by the Board's chairman, Dr. A. G. W. Cameron,

provided as an attachment to this statement,

A report on

the status of space plasma physics, now a mature science, is to be published shortly. Reports currently under preparation include a strategy for further exploration of the inner solar system, advice on planetary quarantine, and a summary of our summer study on space biology and medicine. Work is continuing on the formulation of an appropriate strategy for the program of space astronomy and astrophysics,

The Board has established a suboommittee on Earth Sciences

to define scientific goals and objectives in this area,

based upon studies carried out by various other elements of

the National Research Council. A study is also to be initiated on the major scientific goals to be achieved by investigations

of comets and asteroids.

In all of space science, success is first conditioned by the success of the launch and its precision in placing the instruments in the desired position and posture and, secondly, by the quality of the scientific instruments on board. Regrettably, in the past NASA has given much more attention

24-215 0.78 - 9

to the former than to the latter. It is to be hoped that, in the future, NASA will provide adequate and appropriate support to early development of instruments of the highest possible quality for use in its Space Sciences Program.

I should now like to turn to an issue of great concern to our Board, one emphasized by its chairman in the attached communication. I refer to the continued absence of any formal,

official statement of intent which outlines in a substantial way the goals for u.s. long-range scientific activities in space.

The consequence of this deficiency was most dramatically illus

trated during the recent struggle to win approval of the Jupiter

ai Orbiter Probe mission. We recognize that the development of long-range goals and establishment of funding levels for any

national activity must be preceded by extensive discussion and

consultations among all the interested parties. Establishment of such goals for space science is imperative because of the long advance preparation time needed for these missions,

To date, there has been no explicit statement of intent from this Administration offering its view of the significance of the space program or its assessment of the relative priorities

of space science within the total program.

I trust, however,

that the President's Budget Request may be taken as a fair

[ocr errors]

indicator of the Administration's positive views | 0

Our Board has operated on the premise that the conduct of space research remains a cardinal element of the space program as stated in the enabling legislation of the Space Act. The

Board urges appreciation that long-range, balanced planning of

the entire program is required to maximize the return on and

give guidance to science investigations, to focus the national

industrial, technical, and scientific competence, and to make

best use of the resources available. Fiscal considerations

dictate that space science planning be conservative; our Board

has been responsible in recognizing this reality. As a consequence, however, current strategies, designed to maintain an orderly, vigorous program, also constitute a minimum activity level, below which program coherence may become questionable. In the absence of a substantial commitment to agreed-upon goals, the strategies and related programs for space science can too

easily become vulnerable to the vicissitudes of annual budgetary

cycles. Strategies proposed by the Board are both broad-based

and specific in terms of science goals and objectives and must be particularly conscious of the infrequent launch opportunities for certain planetary missions. Scientific strategies, however, can only be fulfilled by new flight mission opportunities which, in turn, are constrained by preparation both of planning and instruments which can consume a substantial portion of a decade tu we emphasize, therefore, that science strategies and mission planning are complementary efforts whose ultimate success and purpose are linked. We are doubtful that a coherent program

can survive without a formal national, long-term commitment, in the absence of such commitment, the losses to science could be substantial and of national proportions.

I would like to turn now to the practical applications of ·

space systems.

The Space Applications Board of the National

Research Council is charged with helping to bridge the gap between space technology and the users of the services that space systems can provide. It consists of members of the aerospace community and of such potential user communities as those engaged in geological exploration, agriculture, education, water resource management, environmental conservation, and urban and state affairs. My comments are based in large part on the work of this Board over the last several years.


It is abundantly clear that space systems can provide services useful to man in his earthly activities. satellites are now an integral part of many domestic and international common carrier communication systems; NASA has essentially ceased to engage in satellite communications research related to the types of services that common carriers provide

If appropriate new technology can be developed and demonstrated, there appear to be promising possibilities for the use of satellites in the provision of certain public services such as search and rescue, hazard warning, position determination and health care delivery. Our ad hoc Committee on Satellite Communications, which included members from the common carrier communications industry, recognized that the private sector is unlikely to conduct the necessary research or to demonstrate the new technology that could help provide such services. The Committee recommended that NASA manage a program of research and technology for public service satellite

communications, including demonstration of the services, with two provisos: first, that potential user agencies from

federal and state governments and from private organizations
where appropriate, be involved in the planning of the program
from its beginning; second, that from the beginning of any
work on such satellite systems, planning start for their orderly
transfer from NASA to other public agencies or to the private
sector, if and when they are successfully demonstrated.

Satellites have become an important part of weather monitor

ing systems in this country and many others. In this field, NASA and NOAA have developed an excellent cooperative relationship. NASA continues to advance the technology while NOAA is responsible for the operational satellites.

The transition from experimental to operational satellites, both y. was facilitated by the preexistence of suitable, capable infrastructures in one case the common carrier communications industry, in the other, the Weather Bureau which later became the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Satellites have also been proving their usefulness in a third area remote sensing of the earth's surface, The value of this capability will expand as measurement of surface temp

Information derived from NASA'S

eratures becomes more preciselt

experimental Landsats is today being widely used by the geological exploration industries as a tool in the search for minerals and petroleum. Landsat data are also being used for

« AnteriorContinuar »