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6. The risks are very large relative to the
capital outlay required.
7. The return on investment period is too long.
8. Space transportation costs are too high by a
factor of 100 or more in most cases.
However, it is highly encouraging that all industrial contacts admitted that the prospects looked "interesting"
and that they would like to see more data. Nearly every one
said their companies would probably get involved if their
compete tors did. All felt that an appropriate risk-reducing
or risk-sharing policy on the part of the federal government would greatly spur interest and involvement from practically all segments of industry. They would like to see more NASAsponsored R&D that is relevant to their products and suggested that NASA-sponsored R&D be directed more toward practical
product data. Most important of all, these domestic industrial
contacts want channels of communication with NASA and other space-interested federal agencies, and they want these channels set up on a broad, up-to-date basis in a language they understand.
Finally, feedback from individuals in the utility industry
indicated they were attracted by some of the potential of the
solar power satellite concept. They looked upon it as a
potential open-ended solution to the energy problem but did not anticipate implementation earlier than 1995. After initial R&D costs are amortized, they see SPS as having potential for
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very low installed power costs on the order of $2000 per kilowatt-hour (installed). Of all the energy alternatives,
SPS appeared to them to have the most acceptable environmental impact. They also remarked that SPS might avoid future issues concerning coal resources allocations. Mostly, they felt that SPS neatly separates the generation and distribution issues and systems. They pointed out significant barriers to be overcome, including the current public image of microwave radiation hazards. Their most important comment was, "Stop treating the solar power satellite like a space program and start treating it like a power program!"
A viable space program for the United States in the next ten to fifteen years must be a balanced mix of (a) space exploration carried on by the federal government, and (b) space industrialization consisting of a co-operative effort between government and domestic industry.
Space exploration should be carried on by NASA at the current level of funding or greater with increasing activity as it becomes possible for space science and exploration activities to hitch-hike at very low cost on the very large payloads that will be launched as space industrialization grows. Additional emphasis in funding, activity, and public
awareness education must be given to space industrialization
by everyone involved because it offers the promise of a
space program that not only pays for itself but offers
other socially-acceptable benefits as well. Most people are unaware of space industrialization; when exposed to its concepts, it changes their whole view of the space program.
We have already started to use space in the communications area. This activity will increase dramatically in the next fifteen years, particularly if we develop very large systems in geosynchronous orbit to alleviate spectrum and location crowding and to provide the very large space systems necessary
to permit simple and inexpensive ground equipment.
Initial experimentation and studies have started in
the manufacturing area of space industrialization. Work in this area will increase in order to provide some of the hard
data required by potential investors and participants from domestic industry. We must find out and soon whether
some of the projected space products are real, economical,
and marketable. Because the potential for this is there, a
vacuum will exist if the federal government and domestic
industry do not attempt to exploit the opportunity, and this
vacuum will attract other firms from other nations. We have been
Number Two in space once before; we did not like it then, and
We will not like it in the future.
A strong potential and considerable interest exists for utilizing solar energy in space and beaming it to the ground
for use on earth. A progressive program must test the theories, develop the hardware, determine the cost factors, and build a pilot plant in near-earth orbit in the next ten years. The
solar power satellite holds forth a promise of greatly easing
our dependence upon non-renewable foreign and domestic energy
resources and of providing a very large percentage of our
electrical power needs for an inde terminate time in the future.
Conservative market forecasts indicate substantial
revenues could be received from some product and service areas that can, at this time, be examined with more or less substantiation. Instead of just spending money in space, we can make money there, too. In addition, the social and economic factors appear favorable.
Finally, significant overseas competition has been
identified. Both Japan and the Federal Republic of Germany appear to be getting increasingly involved in space industrialization. Both nations have the industrial infrastructure to
support the undertaking. Both nations either have a space launch capability or can create it if needed. Both nations
have already shown themselves to be significant competition
in the space communications area and have captured a significant
share of the market.
On the basis of my experience in government, the
aerospace industry, domestic industry, and space industriali-
1. NASA should shift its public affairs, educational programs, and policy emphasis to stress both space exploration and space industrialization. Frankly, NASA has not done very well in communicating the essentials of our national space program to the American public, in spite of the valiant efforts of a number of highly qualified and dedicated individuals within NASA. Part of NASA's job is to communicate with all segments of American life, and I would therefore further recommend that it acquire the services of an external public relations firm selected on the basis of competetive bidding on a regular basis; it would be the function of this contractor to help NASA communicate. I have worked with well-known firms in this field, and I know that they can do the job. NASA has a recognized weakness in this area; they should therefore get some help and correct the situation.
2. Because of the lack of the sort of hard data needed by domestic industry to make decisions permitting them to enter