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and we could identify on a cost-effectiveness basis the results of an investment there. But delay is a heavy cost and when we make a policy to do nothing, that is policy, or when we do nothing we are making policy to do nothing. As somebody said earlier today, we have a 10- or 15-year time frame in these kinds of large-scale space efforts. And to do nothing is to do something. It is to determine that we are going to get further and further unmeshed in this whole nightmare of dependence on foreign oil sources, this incredible gap, that is 35 billion or so this year.
So in terms of the consequences of not acting and fiddling around trying to fine-tune feasibility analyses and costs computations and the basic data doesn't exist and won't exist until we get going and charge ahead, it seems to me to be fiddling while Rome burns.
Do you get any sense that the administration is going to move forward seriously in in the area of solar powered satellites? Can you give us any kind of assurance?
Dr. PRESS. I share your concern.
Mr. SCHEUER. You know we all have to answer to the taxpayers, but power and energy is something they understand. This admittedly is risk taking. What we are talking about is risk taking. We do not have the fine-tuned, cost-benefit analyses and we are totally capable of making them, but the point is if we sit around and fiddle and faddle, we incur enormous costs. I think this committee is very excited about the prospects, and I think we are all frustrated by getting a very diffident reading, frankly, from Dr. Frosch.
Dr. PRESS. I think we have the same goal. This country has to find an energy technology for the year 2000 and beyond when the fossil fuels will become either no longer available or decreasingly available. There is no question about it. The problem is to explore the different possibilities for that and there are a number of possibilities.
In all probability the final solution will be a mix of many things, of geothermal, of fusion, of solar power, Earth-based or space-based, biomass, tidal energy, and so on. Conservation, of course, will play a key role.
Mr. SCHEUER. I spent last week in Mexico, and if you could have felt the power of those waves, I was out there and got caught in a wave about 15 feet high and I though my hour had come, but I did think as I was about to leave this Earth, if only we could harness this power.
Dr. PRESS. And the energy in the Gulfstream is another possibility that has been proposed. Perhaps I am not saying this forcefully enough. Maybe I should pound the table and say "Maybe in this budget nuclear research and applications is up 22 percent and in this budget"
Mr. SCHEUER. Wait a minute. You see, our problem is that the bases are so minuscule that a 22-percent increase may not be a big increase. Dr. PRESS. We have the world's largest research program in nuclear energy and fusion and fission, advanced breeders and all of that.
Mr. SCHEUER. On the solar power satellite, do we really have a significant program going, anything even remotely approaching the kind of Manhattan project thrust and concern?
Dr. PRESS. Mr. Scheuer, we may get there, but I think it would be imprudent to mount a Manhattan effort right now when we know so little about it. This is a technology for the next century.
Mr. SCHEUER. I think the sense you are getting from the audience is the sense that we all feel that you won't know until you do. [Applause.]
Mr. SCHEUER. I am not trying to pander to the galleries, really I am not. I am just expressing a sense of frustration that we have here; that we should learn by doing. This is something that Dr. John Dewey told us a half a century ago. He talked about the application of that concept to education. But maybe there is something here in this area that we will only know by doing and getting on with some kind of prototype. I think all of us are antsy here because we don't have that sense of a Manhattan-type project commitment. We are trying to work out the problems as we go and develop our cost-benefit analyses while we are doing things. If we found out after a couple of million dollars or a half a billion, that we are on the wrong track, so be it.
I think those costs are a lot smaller than the cost of doing nothing. And if there is a reasonable chance of a payoff, I think this committee would probably feel that this is a risk that is a prudent risk.
Dr. PRESS. I don't get the impression we are doing nothing; 60 or 70 percent of the Department of Energy budget is directed toward new energy sources. We are trying to tilt that budget in the direction of solar, more so now than ever before, conservation solar and geothermal-are now getting more attention-the softer end to get a balanced program. We are not giving up the nuclear approach, but we want to do more in the directions you have indicated.
There is no question that we will be doing more in time. With regard to the solar power satellite, after we have spent the $16 million, I think we will be in a position to tell you more positively that we should go ahead and request larger sums of money, or perhaps not. But we have to get that behind us to give you a prudent response as to what we can spend and what we can get done.
Mr. SCHEUER. How soon will that be?
Dr. PRESS. A couple of years.
Mr. FLIPPO. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. SCHEUER. Yes.
Mr. FLIPPO. The DOE budget for solar power satellite is $4 million or $5 million. Under the present direction we are going, unless we increase it, it will be 3 years before we know whether or not we ought to take further action in the solar power satellite field.
Mr. SCHEUER. That is $100 billion worth of loss at the present rate of our hard currency loss each year.
Dr. PRESS. This is obviously very important to you. Let me demure at this time. I think you should go back to the Cabinet officers and agency heads who have this responsibility and make your point.
It is not appropriate for me to get into this level of detail of the energy budget, however, because of your interest, I did try to respond. Mr. SCHEUER. I would like to ask one more question on the remote sensing capabilities program. I am chairman of a new select committee of the Congress on the subject of population. And, of course, when you talk population you are talking food, environment, nonrenewable natural resources. They are all inextricably intertwined.
Can you tell us to what degree the developing countries of the Third World that are struggling with this food-population equation have the benefit of our remote sensing, the Earth satellite and to what extent
are we helping them (a) to receive the material themselves, and, (b) to interpret it themselves. So it isn't always a case of their getting it on a silver platter from "Big Daddy," the "Big White Big Daddy" up there. To what extent are we giving them the capability of receiving it and making their own interpretations and designing their own programs for forming agricultural policy, food production and urbanization, and all the rest.
Dr. PRESS. Let met get back to you with a detailed answered where we itemize each of the countries involved and what we are doing there. Mr. SCHEUER. That would be very helpful. I would ask unanimous consent for the record to be held open for a few days for that to be included.
Mr. TEAGUE. It will be done.
Dr. PRESS. The President agrees with you as to its potential and whenever he meets with the head of state of a developing country, he outlines the capabilities of Landsat for the development of resources of the country. He has used this in several major addresses involving development. The AID Agency itself has a budget and has technical expertise within that agency to work with developing countries. A number of developing countries have readout stations already in place.
Mr. SCHEUER. To what extent are the developing countries getting this information? This is my question. To what extent are they getting it in Asia, Africa, and Latin America? To what extent do they have their own capability of receiving it and to what extent have we trained them in interpreting the data themselves so that they can make their own policy formulations themselves, without always having to get it from us with all of the tensions with which we are all familiar-that is, telling them how to manage their own affairs?
Mr. MORRISSEY. In this connection, there is an AID program called AIDSAT. This program is directed toward bringing to the developing countries the training programs necessary to exploit Landsat data. This program has been funded since 1975.
Mr. SCHEUER. Nobody has answered by question. I'm saying to what extent have they currently enjoyed the benefits of the Earth satellite data, the Landsat data? To what extent are they doing it? To what extent are they receiving the data and to what extent have we given them the capability of interpreting the data themselves?
Dr. PRESS. We will come back and provide you with a country-bycountry breakdown.
Mr. SCHEUER. That would be very helpful.
Mr. TEAGUE. Mr. Flippo.
Mr. FLIPPO. Doctor, I am very interested in a comment that Dr. Frosch made earlier. He said that he viewed his role as being Isabella rather than Columbus. And I am curious to know how you view NASA. Do you view NASA as Isabella or Columbus?
What responsibility do they have there?
Dr. PRESS. I view NASA with pride. I think it is one of the best examples of an agency with a professionalism and technical capability that has always performed and always delivered. I think if this country has an image abroad which is a respectable one, if this country has an image abroad of world leadership, to a significant extent NASA is responsible.
And I think the potential role of NASA in the future in terms of perhaps energy, in terms of remote sensing, in terms of environmental monitoring, in terms of kinds of communication which are extraordinarily more advanced than we enjoy right now, that role is a major role and a significant one, and as far as I am concerned I would like to see them move in that direction.
Mr. FLIPPO. I share your view in that regard, I think they are a tremendous national asset. I am wondering if NASA is supposed to initiate a request to you to recommend to the President as to what direction it should go.
Dr. PRESS. No. I am not in a line position. NASA goes directly to the President through the OMB process-although I do work with them, and on behalf of the President I do give him independent advice.
Mr. FLIPPO. You stated, and I believe Dr. Frosch stated, that you would like to delay any new initiatives until after experience has been gained in the operation of the Shuttle.
I feel, and I think the committee feels, that this is an extremely conservative position, in view of the fact that the long leadtimes necessary to research and implement new projects means that something must be done prior to 1980 or we are going to see either a going-outof-business posture or a serious degredation in a national asset.
I don't see us maintaining that momentum that we lost after Apollo. I just wonder if there are merits for a bold, new, aggressive program and if so what is its makeup and have such programs been presented to the President.
Dr. PRESS. I would say that is Dr. Frosch's and his agency's main job to do precisely what you have described, come in with programs and see if they can sell them. And if Congress is behind them and the American people are behind them and the case they make is a good one, and I think that we would go forward in the direction you have indicated.
Mr. FLIPPO. As you pointed out, NASA has established R. & D. and R. & D. management capability, but I fear that few steps are being taken to prevent loss of that great capability. I wonder in your position as an adviser to the President what are your plans for utilizing the Agency's capability for helping to solve some of the Nation's most pressing problems?
Dr. PRESS. The concept of using NASA in other areas besides its space role, of course, is one that has been explored in a number of different instances. NASA in some areas does play that role right now. If ever I do see an option for NASA to contribute better, than any other agency in an area where technology is important for a solution, I think you can be sure that I will be recommending that. It is very difficult to come in with new missions for an agency. Many agencies try to do that, as you understand, as a matter of survival. It would be the President or the executive branch seeking NASA's help, rather than the other way around. But we know what NASA can do in many different areas and if we have a problem that NASA is particularly adept at solving, I am sure we will go to them for that kind of help.
Mr. Chairman, as you know, I had planned to come here and give my remarks at 10 o'clock, and we did have the switch of witnesses. I have made an appointment with the Secretary of State.
Mr. TEAGUE. I had forgotten about that. And you may go whenever you need to. I apologize for scheduling more people than we should have today.
Mr. Rudd had a question.
Mr. RUDD. One quick question which you can answer affirmatively or negatively. It is not an attempt to pin you with any responsibility, but you mentioned earlier in a very positive way America's superiority, if you will, in the aeronautics field. And I just want to know if the administration has any plans at all to reestablish a supersonic platform for America.
Dr. PRESS. May I reply to that in writing, so that I can give you a responsible answer?
Mr. RUDD. Thank you very much.
Mr. TEAGUE. Thank you, Frank.
Our next witness is Gen. Tom Stafford. I think I first met Tom in 1962. You were on three Gemini flights, two or three?
General STAFFORD. TWO.
Mr. TEAGUE. He was the commander of one Apollo and he was the commander of the joint Russian-American flight.
I felt about the way Larry Winn did about that until I argued with Tom for a few hours, and he convinced me it was the right thing to do. The thing that doesn't show in Tom's biography, we had the Cosmonauts and Astronauts of that flight up to lunch one day. And I called Tom before and said, what would we feed them. Tom had just been with them down in San Antonio, and he said "Feed them hot tamales and chile and jalapeno peppers, and beer." I don't know how many of you out there know what jalapeno peppers are, but they are something you eat very carefully and very slowly.
Well, the young scientist of the group must have eaten a dozen that day and I worried about him. I called Tom early the next morning and I asked him, "What about the Cosmonauts?" He said he didn't know and he hadn't seen them. And the first thing I heard about this young scientist was this morning and I understand from Tom he's one of those up in space now, so he must have come out of the jalapeno peppers all right.
Tom is now the commander of the flight test center out at Edwards Air Force Base, and I know of no man that can make a better contribution to the hearings of this committee than Tom Stafford.
I understand that you have no prepared statement. I would like to suggest that you comment on the Russian space program. I know you have taken a big interest and you have followed it. I would like you to comment on the coordination and the relationship between Defense Department and NASA. Those are the things I would like to be sure to get in there.
I will tell the rest of the members who haven't had chances to ask questions that I will call on them first.
STATEMENT OF GEN. THOMAS P. STAFFORD, COMMANDER, AIR FORCE FLIGHT TEST CENTER, EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, CALIF.
General STAFFORD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. It is indeed a pleasure for me to have an opportunity to express my views on the space program for the future this morning.