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tinct from the others because the effects of man's activities are increasing rapidly. It is important because some trends may be essentially irreversible; contaminants introduced into the atmosphere or ocean during a single year or a decade may affect climate for decades or
The data from these studies must be coordinated with the immense body of information gathered on Earth's surface by scientists of almost every nation. Taken together, this is a huge logistical undertaking, the success of which-measured as improved longer range weather forecasting and firm prediction of future climatic trends is entirely dependent on the quality of the planning done in advance. And it is in that effort that our committee is now engaged.
A few other areas might be mentioned. There is attached to my statement a report to me by the Chairman of our Space Science Board, Dr. A. G. W. Cameron. In that report he notes that there is upcoming from the Board a summary of the status of space plasma physics, which is now a mature science. 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 subcommittee 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 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 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 science 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-term scientific activities in space. The consequence of this deficiency was most dramatically illustrated during the recent struggle to win approval of the Jupiter Orbiter Probe mission. And this committee needs no reminder of that.
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 consultation 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 positive actions in the
President's budget request may be taken as a fair indicator of the administration's positive views.
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. Štrategies 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, before the mission launch. 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 hope, Mr. Chairman, that your committee would give consideration to the desirability of enunciating a clear statement of goals for the space science component of the NASA program.
Let me 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. Communication 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.
The carriers do it themselves.
If appropriate new technology can be developed and demonstrated, there appear to be promising possibilities for the use of satellites in the 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, concluded 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 monitoring 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 sattelites, of both kinds, 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 arearemote sensing of the Earth's surface. The value of this capability will expand as measurement of surface temperatures becomes more precise than it is today.
Information derived from NASA's 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 water resource management, forest and rangeland management, and other aspects of natural resource management or monitoring.
Some Federal agencies-notably the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture-are using Landsat data or experimenting with its use. Use of such data by State agencies is growing, albeit slowly, with the States of California, Georgia, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington among the leaders.
However, some serious institutional problems limit the utility of Earth resources satellites; there is, as yet, no adequate infrastructure. The users are not suitably aggregated, and it is not obvious who should become responsible for an operational system. It is not sufficient to show that the space segment-the satellite-the work; the user must have an opportunity to find whether the information provided by the satellite usefully complements, or in some cases, perhaps even replaces, his traditional means for collecting information. It has been difficult, under the circumstances, to make the transition from the experimental to the operational phase of Earth resources satellites. Among the various areas in which this problem exists, we might note farm management, environmental quality, ocean/atmospheric interactions, ocean resources, renewable and nonrenewable resources, and navigational service for ocean vessels.
The Congress and the executive branch have recognized these institutional problems and are seeking solutions. Solutions, however, cannot be expected to come quickly. It is important that, while the institutional problems are being worked out, the Nation have access to such benefits as Earth observation satellites can provide, and that the technology be advanced to make possible new services.
Patently, the effectiveness of the process which brings the products of this space technology into the hands of the end user needs to be improved. To do so may require some adjustment in NASA's view of its role in applications. As a research and development agency, NASA has focused its efforts largely on the space segment-satellites and the sensing instruments they carry. NASA has funded experiments in the transformation of remotely sensed data into information in the form needed by the users as well as experiments in the use of the new information to complement information from traditional sources. It is important to recognize, however, that to bring this new technology into day-to-day use requires much more than optimizing the space segment and experimenting with what can be done with its data products. NASA must give more attention to the total system, and recognize that it has some responsibility for assuring that progress on all elements essential to the system are in balance. The elements could include the space segment, ground facilities for receiving and processing the data, means for getting the data to the eventual users, and for assuring such disparate nonspace activities as training for users, and developing mathematical or theoretical models to help understand or use the space derived information. This is not to say that NASA should necessarily operate all elements of the system. But there is need for a lead agency in every case, and NASA may have to assume that role, even if only temporarily.
Let me cite an example of a situation where such leadership is needed. NASA is well along in the development of the next-generation instrument for remote sensing of the Earth's resources the Thematic Mapper. The budget just submitted by the President includes funds for Landsat-D, the spacecraft which will carry the new instrument, ad for NASA computers to make preliminary processing of the data. Tspace segment of a system which will permit significant advances in terrestrial uses, then, seems to be well provided for. However, Landsat-D will transmit data at a much greater rate than the first generation of Landsats; current ground facilities for processing Landsat data-owned and operated by the Department of the Interior—are inadequate to handle Landsat-D data and disseminate it to the users without unreasonable delay. The Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology has made some recommendations on this point, but ground facilities for processing satellite data have not, at least up to this time, ranked high on the priority list of the Department of the Interior. There is need here, then, for leadership so that the Nation may reap the full benefits of the new capability. And that can be extended as a generality with respect to the role of NASA and the entire phase between research and development and operation, which is usually called demonstration.
It is the view of our Space Applications Board, then, that NASA should give more attention to the total system, and bring potential
users into their planning at a very early stage, by providing more assistance to users, and by extending NASA's role in demonstration long enough to permit users to decide whether they want the new service and, if they do, to establish appropriate institutional arrangements for the operational system.
I am pleased to say that the Space Agency has just come to the Space Applications Board looking for assistance as to how that is
Advanced new technology does not simply find its way into use. Even where there is self-evident value in the use of the new technology, NASA will have to be persistent if the United States is to continue to lead in the applications of space technology for man's peaceful activities. We can most assuredly look forward to competition as the European space arrangements mature.
May I say, Mr. Chairman, that it comes to me that in these regards our Nation has been missing an important opportunity. Our Landsats, and one day I hope our public service satellites, can provide global coverage. To be sure, a few developing nations have begun to receive Landsat data concerning their own lands. But we could make an enormous gesture of worldwide friendship by proposing transfer of a set of Landsats and of public service satellites to some currently not existing but appropriately constructed international body. I hope that the Congress and the Executive will give serious thought to such possibility. I know that Mr. Kurtz who is sitting in the room, will be glad to hear me say that.
Since the early days of the space program there have been suggestions that, one day, facilities in space would afford special opportunity for materials processing, not because of the temperature, vacuum, lack of moisture, or the radiation flux but by virtue of the very low gravitational field. However, a report from a committee of our Space Applications Baord, which will appear shortly, does not encourage the view that materials processing in space is likely to become an enterprise on a significant scale.
There are opportunities to study the properties of various materials near the critical points of their phase transitions, gathering information that could contribute importantly to materials processing on earth. And there are opportunities to study certain physical systems in the absence of the buoyancy-driven convection that occurs in the presence of gravity. But this is applied research, not application itself. Fabrication in space of materials for use on Earth currently shows little prospect of realization.
Finally, it seems appropriate to apprise you of one other current undertaking at the National Research Council. Stimulated by concerns expressed by Senators Stevenson and Schmitt and at the express request of the Administrator of NASA, we have assembled a blue ribbon committee which, even now, is examining the status of the Shuttle engine. It is my understanding that progress in the development and testing of this engine-which pushes current technology to its utmost limits is now paced by the performance of its liquid hydrogen pump which has exhibited some difficulties. The immediate principal purpose of our committee is to ascertain whether, in their view, these difficulties are of the sort that are encountered and resolved during the course of the development of every major new technology, or whether