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in studies and hearings initiated by this Committee, by the recent NASA
Over the years NASA and industry have demonstrated that, given adequate time and resource, they can accomplish almost anything that appears within the realm of feasibility. As I mentioned at the outset, we do not lack for proposals of what to do. Our problem revolves around too many choices, which in the aggregate require too much money.
I do not believe that we are in a position at this time to adequately justify a hard start on a major new national goal in terms of a specific effort such as solar power stations, lunar bases, space colonies, and inter-stellar exploration. These are all excellent candidates for future thrusts. However, much homework still needs to be done to demonstrate feasibility from both a financial and technical standpoint and to better articulate the probable benefits. This need is recognized in the resolution recently sponsored by this Committee.
Now is the time, I believe, to capitalize on our past investments and to lay the groundwork for future major thrusts. This implies a reasonably balanced program which selects the most potentially rewarding objectives from each of the major space areas. The risk in this approach, which I believe to be a problem in our current mode, is that nothing gets funded adequately and progress lags on all fronts. Under my proposal, a commitment to adequate funding levels in each area is mandatory.
What, then, is the makeup of such a balanced program? The Administrator of NASA has stated his commitment to a strong applications program. Such a program should address earth resources, advanced communications, experiments in climate prediction and control, and many more related applications. Toward this end, the challenge for the agency and Congress is an extremely complicated mix of multi-agency, multi-national and public sector implications which must be addressed and resolved. An additional complexity is the gathering, processing and rapid distribution of meaningful and useful data to the many and varied users of applications programs. Industry can contribute significantly to this arena, but NASA must provide the game plan and be the quarterback.
Exploration in the area of Physical and Life Science should continue. I am pleased with progress now underway to refine and define the Physical and Life Science Programs which will utilize the Spacelab System. The Shuttle and Spacelab combination offer many new and unusually economical opportunities to gather science on a frequent and systematic basis. The investment in new science instruments and experiments will be significant in the beginning as we try to develop a full complement, but should taper off as missions become routine and instruments are reflown. Therefore, adequate front end funding is required to assure that the capability to use space as a true laboratory has been achieved.
Planetary exploration and associated science is, in my mind, the most exciting and, in many ways, demanding portion of the total NASA effort. While the benefits are less tangible than NASA's effort in applications or aeronautics and propulsion, the intangible aspects are extremely rewarding to the public. The appeal is to the imagination, curiosity, the passion for exploration and the pride in the deed and its successful accomplishment. I touched on the response to Viking earlier. In my opinion, the NASA Planetary program has a sound and relatively modest plan of systematic and sequential exploration of the solar system and beyond. I am hopeful that the Administration and Congress will continue to support this plan adequately and with the consistency required for the exceptionally long lead time entailed in meeting launch opportunity windows. You might find it interesting to know that, from an industry viewpoint, the planetary effort is probably the most technologically demanding, yet relatively modest in terms of new business and profits. Programs are limited and seldom lead to follow-on business. Yet the technical challenge stimulates our engineers and often results in state-of-the-art improvements, if not breakthroughs, which are applicable to other areas of private and national interest. It is unfortunate that, while we may yet someday return to Mars and return a sample of soil for analysis on Earth, the timing of such a program is so uncertain that we (as a company with good Mars credentials) cannot justify the expense of doing the usual studies and research and development necessary to lay the groundwork for such a mission, as we did on the Viking program in the mid-1960's. I believe it is imperative that our research and development budgeting process reinstitute the encouragement for industry to perform this kind of work at a modest level.
I mentioned previously that we should be using a part of our resource to lay the groundwork for possible future major thrusts. An example is in increasing the operating time capability of the Space Shuttle. The Space Shuttle and its Spacelab offer much improved and cost attractive opportunities to conduct science and applications in low earth orbit. But right now the Shuttle stay time in orbit is limited to roughly a week--a constraint which limits our ability to exploit the full potential of Spacelab. It seems logical to supplement the orbiter's power supply, the primary stay time constraint, with a small space power module which generates power from the sun through solar arrays. The first power module would be relatively small (25KW), but could be enlarged or replaced as more power requirements are identified with a module capable of generating 100-250KW. With this capability, we have many options to pursue. For example, if our Skylab space station is still in orbit in this time period, the small power module could be attached to it and Skylab itself could be rehabilitated to provide an interim space way station until a more optimum space station requirement becomes evident. Some sort of interim space habitat seems, in my mind, appropriate and desirable whether Skylab survives or not. With a space habitat and storage facility available, the development and demonstration of large erectable space structures can be accelerated. These are common in concept to the needs of the immense solar power stations, direct broadcast antennas and space colonies that are envisioned. In addition, solar power generation and transmission
by microwave to the earth can be demonstrated on a scaled basis, and the effects of prolonged periods of man living and working in space could be evaluated in greater depth. In parallel, new propulsion systems, the ion engine as an example, can be developed and refined to provide not only the ability to move large structures from low earth orbit to higher geostationary orbit, but also to propel planetary or comet rendezvous spacecraft. Now that we have an efficient low earth orbit transportation system, we need companion low cost systems to take us from low to high orbits and beyond.
This approach is, of course, not original with me. But it does make eminently good sense to me. The logic of taking small steps forward on a methodical and economical basis to develop and demonstrate the tools and technology required for multiple rather than single major objectives seems clear. I believe that Congress and the Administration will understand that such technology programs do not always require the substantiation of a specific end product prior to approval, even though the technology programs are themselves ambitious.
To this point, I have discussed our capabilities, our varied choices, the need for balance without undue compromise and the benefit of resource continuity on a long term basis. We need also to address how, with so many choic es matched with so many constraints, we go about the process of selecting individual programs within the framework of a total affordable program. My criteria for our future space program is relatively uncomplicated and probably offers little that is new to this Committee or to NASA. It would center on three basic questions:
Are the programs straightforward extensions of concepts which
Are the technology initiatives broad enough to serve a variety,
Are the programs in the aggregate affordable now and in the
With respect to where we proceed, it seems to me that NASA has the broad outline of a logical plan that can carry us for some years to come in the form of the "Outlook For Space" study. I suggest that this Committee ask that the study be reviewed, updated and refined to reflect a basic roadmap for NASA activity during the next five to ten years. Once prepared, perhaps in time for next year's budget cycle, NASA could present its plan to the Office of Management and Budget and Congress to whatever depth is required to achieve tacit agreement on not only FY 80, but the thrust through at least the next five years or so. Obviously, there will be changes in both approach and resource availability year by year, but the fundamental plan will exist and
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its implications will be understood. Such an approach would tend to give the space program a continuity of content and direction, with few surprises to Congress and the Office of Management and Budget, and, hopefully, few reversals of planned new starts. I believe we would all benefit significantly. And I believe this Committee has the stature, insight, and knowledge to bring it about.
Mr. Chairman, that completes my statement.
STATEMENT OF LAURENCE J. ADAMS, PRESIDENT, MARTIN MARIETTA AEROSPACE
Mr. ADAMS. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am very pleased and flattered to be here before this committee to testify today.
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 unbelieveable 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.
At the outset I would like to offer my observation as to the performance of NASA over the years from my vantage point as a participant in an 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. This is particularly evident in the years subsequent to Apollo. With 20 percent less budget and 30 percent fewer people compounded by almost a 50-percent reduction in purchasing power as a result of inflation, NASA has continued to perform in a most outstanding manner. The products of NASA and industry teamwork have swung by and examined Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter and landed on Mars to characterize the atmosphere, the climate, and the physical makeup of the soil and to perform elaborate biological experiments. In cooperative international programs they have approached and examined the sun at closer range than ever before, and rendezvoused for a friendly handshake in space with the Soviets. The NASA-industry team has sent men into space for months on end so that they could be studied while they studied the Earth and the Sun-incidentally repairing launch-induced damage to their own space habitat in progress. Space has become a vital element of international communications, weather observation and prediction, geological surveys, and navigation, to name but a few applications, and, of course, space has been used as a laboratory for innumerable scientific investigations. In short, it is a matter of record that the Nation has received a very high return on a relatively modest investment. NASA in turn has learned to husband its limited resource to a remarkable efficient degree while continuing to contribute substantial new technology, scientific knowledge, and direct application benefits to the country. NASA is trim, efficient, and effective as we enter 1970 and it is a tribute to its people and its management.
There are those, including some who are among NASA's strongest supporters who worry that NASA has lost much of its imagination