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they are more serious and reflect some problem so profound as to be likely to necessitate some as yet unplanned special development program or to occasion significant delay in the date of the first full-powered flight of the Shuttle. Their report is expected in a few weeks. Mr. Chairman, it has been a high privilege to appear before you today. Thank you, sir.
We thank you and my colleagues and I stand ready to answer your questions.
Mr. FUQUA. Dr. Handler, thank you very much for a very excellent statement. I realize that you have been somewhat incapacitated due to one of our winter illnesses. We would hope, if your schedule would permit, that you could stay and that we could ask questions at the end, after we've heard all of the presenters.
Dr. HANDLER. If so requested, we will do that, Mr. Chairman. Mr. FUQUA. Thank you very much, Dr. Handler. We appreciate your willingness to stay.
The next witness will be Mr. Laurence Adams, the president of Martin Marietta Aerospace.
Larry, we are happy to welcome you to the committee and we may proceed.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Adams follows:]
HOLD FOR RELEASE UNTIL
Laurence J. Adams
MARTIN MARIETTA AEROSPACE
Committee on Science and Technology
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
I am Laurence J. Adams, President of Martin Marietta Aerospace which is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland. I am pleased to have this opportunity today to express some of my views on the space program as it is now and could be in the near term future.
Your hearings are particularly appropriate at this point in time when our space program is in transition. Over the past 20 years we have made almost unbelievable progress in our understanding of space. It is no longer quite so mysterious, but it continues to offer a seemingly endless source of new knowledge. Most importantly, it has been demonstrated that space provides a multitude of direct benefits to man, his environment, his need to communicate, and his need to explore in quest of more knowledge. We now have the technology and the tools to tap the resources of space in a mature and economically efficient manner. But at the same time it seems that our national resolve to do so has weakened. Our space planners, in and out of NASA, have defined programs to accomplish these ends, but there never is enough resource available to do the job. This lack of resource may be more an assumption than fact, and I would like to address that subject later.
At the outset I would like to offer my observation of the performance of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration over the years from my vantage point as a participant in a number of NASA programs. It is apparent that one of NASA's greatest contributions has been the extraordinary development of the nation's technological resource. By bringing together. science and industry on a level never before achieved to accomplish goals never before thought to be achievable, the men and women of NASA have set a standard of technical and scientific management and administrative excellence unmatched anywhere, with the possible exception of the Department of Defense.
In my opinion, NASA's budget has been used most effectively over the years, even at its peak during the Apollo build up a dozen years ago, when program priorities invited the potential of resource waste. This is
particularly evident in the years subsequent to Apollo. With 20 percent
There are those including some who are among NASA's strongest supporters who worry that NASA has lost much of its imagination and boldI don't agree with this assessment. Bold, imaginative concepts and programs have been and are today being proposed at a rate far beyond the rate which available resources will support.
Admittedly, the approach of those responsible for putting forth the proposed future space program often appears overly conservative. This is not, in my opinion, the result of a lack of ideas. The forces opposing space spending have demanded ever-increasing detailed scientific and/or economic justifications for new proposals. It has reached the point that truly imaginative concepts just cannot be sold. As a result, the space planners concentrate on those programs which have a reasonable probability of getting approval. Perhaps some of the blame rests with the technical community itself--our inability to articulate the goals, achievements, needs and justifications associated with the more farsighted elements of the space program and its immense potential of benefits. But in addition, the NASA budget is one of the few among Government agencies which is in large part controllable, or subject to choice and deferral, rather than being tied to long range people and defense-oriented commitments. Though less than one percent of the total Federal budget, it is a tempting target for new administrations and new congresses. NASA too often is forced to defend what it already has (or thinks it has) rather than selling what it wants and needs in terms of new initiatives. NASA and their industrial partners have learned through hard experience the results of disapproval of new initiatives. Agency and industry planning is
severely disrupted, with years of intensive study, program definition, supporting research and sequential program planning either invalidated or at best subject to delay. Programs involving planetary launch window constraints are particularly sensitive to delays and can even be irretrievably lost by delay. The extraordinary technological homework inherent in any major space initiative forces NASA and industry into long and expensive lead times prior to having the convictions necessary to justify a request for new start. Unfortunately, much of the work and associated investment is largely wasted when the new start is eliminated or delayed, more often at the Office of Management and Budget rather than at the Congressional level. In fact, Congress as a whole has been quite supportive of the NASA request over the years, once its questions are adequately resolved. This Committee in particular has often taken the initiative to add to the NASA request when, in its judgment, the NASA position was inadequate to the need.
NASA conservatism is due in large part to its obvious obligation to be responsive to constraints imposed by the administration and the mood it senses in the Congress. Some attractive programs are nipped in the bud, as often they should be, at the Headquarters level; others at the OMB level. There is a reticence to go for the "big ones" and lose. I suggest that this winnowing process is too severe; that too many beneficial programs are aborted before Congress has the opportunity to consider them.
This is the environment that has put a damper on new thrusts and innovative ideas at the NASA center and industry level. Another result of this environment is the serious frustration of industry in its dealings with NASA. There is little doubt that the industrial base in support of NASA has eroded over the years. Fewer dollars are available and competition for them among those firms who continue to work with NASA is more intense.
I do not mean to imply that industry objects to the competition. It is a major stimulant for us and motivates us to extraordinary effort. Many of the advances in technology are the product of industry initiatives in company-sponsored research and development and study programs conducted to improve our competitive posture. The competition is good; the benefits are great, and industry accepts, even welcomes, the odds of winning or losing. But to cancel the contest or delay it extensively is to compound the waste of not one, but several companies in terms of investment and personnel commitments. So, like NASA, the industry, too, is "gun shy." We have to be more selective in the programs we pursue because we have to be convinced we can win through adequate effort, and we have to be convinced that the program will survive through implementation. Only then can we risk the resources required to mount a winning proposal.
Those who oppose or assume opposition of adequate funding for the space program frequently suggest that the public, the voter, the taxpayer-somebody out there--is opposed. As I said, perhaps we haven't made our case adequately. On the other hand, I have little doubt that the public will support a more ambitious program. The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
has attracted such interest that it is frequently unable to handle the crowds wishing to get in. The most successful box office film attractions in recent years (maybe ever) are "Star Wars" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." The Viking landings on Mars were universally acclaimed by our people. Literally hundreds of editorials were written in newspapers ranging from country weeklys to The New York Times, noting the event with satisfaction and pride even though it represented a very large dollar expenditure.
I submit that if the space program is less innovative, less imaginative, it is not because the space planners don't have innovative and imaginative ideas. Nor is it because of lack of support from the people. But, good ideas and public support don't in themselves justify increased expenditures.
I believe a commitment to increased spending would afford NASA greater flexibility to broaden its horizons and propose more programs for Congressional consideration. This would tend to re-stimulate Government/ industry investment in R&D with attendant payoff in technological advancement.
Secondly, an adequately funded space activity would assure realization of an appropriate return on a very significant national investment. For 20 years we have been accumulating knowledge and the technical wherewithal to use space technology in many different ways. Almost in hand is a cost efficient space transportation system which can make manned and unmanned exploration, science, and applications operations routine and, by past standards, relatively inexpensive. We will soon have space laboratories, provided by our friends in Europe, for our scientists and engineers to perform many investigations which once would have required both dedicated spacecraft and a dedicated launch vehicle to perform. We will have existing and improved ground and space-based tracking, data relay and data processing facilities and, of course, we will have the shuttle launch facilities on both the East and West Coasts. The technology and tools to exploit space on a widely expanded scale are essentially paid for. An experienced and highly efficient Government/industry team is in place and ready to go. All that is lacking is the resolve to move forward and the long term continuity of resource commitment that would enable NASA to implement a cost efficient plan of steady progress. Efficiency can be achieved only with a continuing long term resource commitment, similar in concept to the multiyear or fully funded approach to major DOD programs. Our experience from past space expenditures convinces me that the nation would benefit, and probably to a degree that none of us can now foresee or comprehend.
Of course, Congress and the administration cannot be expected to authorize or appropriate a long term commitment of adequate resource without a very logical and convincing long term plan against which to justify their consideration. This, I believe, is the crux of your concern and represents the basis for holding these hearings.
With regard to this issue, I do not present myself to the Committee as an expert witness. However, much thoughtful work has been accomplished