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and boldness. I 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 the new proposals.
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 and needs and justifications associated with the more farsighted elements of the space program and its immence 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 1 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 I 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.
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.
I believe that the apparent conservatism by NASA 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, is 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 restimulate government/industry investment in R&D with attendant payoff in technological advancement, and would afford NASA greater flexibility to broaden its horizons and propose more programs for congressional consideration.
The benefits of technological advancement to society have been demonstrated beyond question by past space endeavors.
An adequately funded space activity would also 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 in studies and hearings initiated by this committee, by the recent NASA "Outlook for Space" study, and within the NASAindustry team, and I am reasonably familiar with its content.
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 I do. Our problem revolves around too many choices, which in the aggregate require too much
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 interstellar 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 Chairman Teague.
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 multiagency, multinational, 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 for 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 leadtime 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.
I mentioned previously that we should be using a part of our resources 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 staytime 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 staytime constraint, with a small space power module which generates power from the Sun through solar arrays. The first power module would be relatively small (25 kilowatts), but could be enlarged or replaced as more power requirements are identified with a module capable of generating 100 to 250 kilowatts. With this capability, we have many options to pursue. For example, if our Skylab space station is still in orbit in this time period and NASA has recently initiated an activity to provide the means, 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, reusable 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 choices 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 basis questions:
Are the programs straightforward extensions of concepts which are understood and of proven value, intangible as well as tangible, to society?
Are the technology initiatives broad enough to serve a variety, rather than one of the new more ambitious concepts, the true potential of which remains to be determined?
Are the programs in the aggregate affordable now and in the foreseeable future, based on projections, up or down, of the national economy? Would the investment improve the economy?
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 5 to 10 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 fiscal year 1980, but the thrust through at least the next 5 years or so. Obviously, there will be changes in both approach and resource availability. And it will require periodic update. But