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Gerald W. Driggers, aerospace engineering and principal
investigator on Part 2 of the study.
Dr. Ralph Sklarew, systems planning, environmental assessment, and principal investigator on Part 1 of the study.
Robert Salkeld, systems planning and analysis.
Paul L. Siegler, business and economics.
G. Harry Stine, industrial engineering and marketing.
We operated in a totally unrestrained environment with
no ties to the aerospace industry or NASA. We had no ax to grind. We are all interested in the subject, and we took the opportunity afforded us by the study contract to make the most honest intellectual evaluation possible. I am delighted to report that the NASA people involved in contract monitoring as well as the management of Science Applications, Inc. encouraged us
to do it this way, gave us all the support we needed to do
1t this way, and expected that we would come up with some
findings and recommendations that were unexpected and that might not agree with current popular views, opinions, and policies. We established a "blue ribbon panel" of highly visible individuals with diverse backgrounds who volunteered
to review and comment upon the findings and directions of the study. As the work proceeded, we sought out individuals in domestic Industry at the managerial, financial, research,
and engineering levels to provide us with feedback and
industrial reaction to our work.
Following initial considerations of technology requirements,
potential products and services, capital requirements, market
surveys, and cash flow requirements, it was patently obvious
that the total picture of the industrialization of space was not only a highly probably future, but also a very expensive one. But, the revenue potentials also appeared to be very large.
Could the federal government do the job? Historically,
it has not been the government's role to engage in activities
that would normally attract business Investment, production,
Could private enterprise do it? It has rarely been the
role of domestic industry to pioneer in new product or service
areas involving high risk, large capital requirements, lack
of hard data on which to make the early business decisions,
and long-term returns on investment.
It is my own belief, shared by most members of the SAI
study team, that both government and domestic Industry have
definite historic roles to play in a situation such as this
and that both parties will probably fulfil these roles. After
all, it is what they have each proven they can do best.
and there are many examples of this
both ancient and recent -
the role of a government in this
situation is that of the explorer capable of taking the high
risks and expending the large amounts of capital required,
showing the way, developing devices and processes to the
Domestic industry than phases-in, taking the R&D data and
optimizing it, doing the marketing, perfecting the product or
service, cranking up production or operation, selling it,
collecting money, providing a return on investment, and
paying taxes or license fees back to the government. The government then uses all or part of the recouped funds to
do more exploration and research.
This is known as a positive feedback system. It may not be the best possible system because we're still working on it.
But evidence from the last thousand years or so indicates that
1t works. To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, it may not be
a very good system, but it is better than anything else we've
found so far.
The study team discovered that it had to get right to the
core of the space industrialization concept: Based on certain assumptions, what would be profitable, what would have a market,
how big would the market likely be, what would the capitalization
requirements be, what would the revenues be, and when could one
expect a return on investment? What part of space industrialization
could pay for itself first? What information, data, technology,
and systems elements were lacking to make this happen? In short,
where should the United States
Its government and its
concentrate its efforts, time, and
money now? In five years? In ten years? Basically, how do
we make the Third Industrial Revolution happen?
In some cases, it was difficult to assess a potential market because of the uniqueness of the product or service.
Therefore, analogous markets were used with the full
realization that these might exhibit a less than one-to-one
Sources such as Predicasts and U.S. Department of Commerce
data were used to provide basic data on existing markets,
projected markets, rates, and gross sales volumes. Expert
opinion was solicited in various specialized marketplaces. The methodology used was classical, straightforward, and
almost textbook in nature. Attempts were made to assess both
the best case and the worst case. Basic data points in time
were established at 1990 and 2010. A relatively "surprise-free" future was assumed -- 1.e.: no general war, no collapse of the debt or capital structure, no exaggerated trends or changes in political, societal, economic, technological, environmental, or military areas. It must be noted that such "surprise-free" futures have historically been far wide of
the mark and highly conservative, but they are the only basis
upon which long-range forecasting and planning can be carried
out. Surprises must therefore be expected. But with good