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zation and the growing interest in it, the fourth and fifth Space Shuttle orbiters should be authorized, built, and operated so that American industry will not be short-changed when it comes to available payload space five years from now. I have seen the momentum of space industrialization grow from mere concepts and ideas expressed with some trepedation in technical circles five years ago to a full congressional hearing today. Five years from today, the activity can be intense and probably will be. The additional orbiters are relatively inexpensive insurance in view of the total potential revenues possible in an active space industrialization field. Some of our best ideas for space products could indeed turn out to be moribund, but there will be others we do not dream of today that will emerge from the space industrialization studies, experiments, and tests.
6. NASA should offer the Space Shuttle External Tank in near-earth orbit as a "free resource" to domestic industry and initiate studies concerning its potential use. The External Tank is designed and built as an insulated pressure vessel, and as such it will be useful in orbit. Considerable propulsive energy will have been expended under present mission plans to lift the External Tank to near-orbital velocity. A little more "delta-vee" will put it there to stay for a long time. Let's use this resource.
7. Congress and the Executive Bra..ch should initiate
immediate joint studies in concert with business and financial
8. Lower-cost space transportation was one of the constant sensitive issues that cropped up in the recent space industrialization study, and it was no surprise because we have intuitively known it would be for years. Therefore, as quickly as the present Space Shuttle system is operational, NASA should seek to make it obsolete with a better, cheaper system by 1990. Immediate work should be started on an interim Heavy Lift Vehicle for the anticipated large payloads associated with large geosynchronous communications platforms and prototype solar power satellites. In order to do this, NASA should get busy at some thing it is very, very good at: research, development, and testing of space transportation systems. The operational Space Shuttle should be turned over to a commercial contract operator as a common carrier with special arrangements being made for Department of Defense crews to operate the Space Shuttle for military missions. NASA should also concentrate on the design, development, and test of a manned Orbital Transfer Vehicle (OTV) for use with the geosynchronous platform and prototype solar power satellite programs of the latter part
of the 1980 decade. NASA was not intended to be an operating
9. NASA-industry should begin work on large space systems now, leading to a near-earth orbit demonstration of a pilot plant solar power satellite by 1985 and, if found feasible, a prototype solar power satellite in geosynchronous orbit by 1992. This work is basically a space transportation issue requiring efficient heavy-lift launch vehicles and low-cost shuttle-type systems as well as deep-space transport vehicles. The work should define milestones and decision points where a go-no-go judgement must be made. It should quantify both the dollars and the numbers of people involved as well as identifying sources other than NASA for funding. The concept is exciting and encouraging, but much work remains to be done before committing the large amounts of capital resources that will apparently be required. We need answers. We need to know if a solar power satellite is a real possibility in harnessing a renewable, inexhaustible energy source, or if it is economically and/or technically infeasible at this time. If it is the latter, we need to know what would be required in the way of technology development to make it economical and techncially feasible. Let's get the answers and find out what problems must be
exploit it whether we do or not. Some potential time tables have been mentioned in this statement; they will be set back by no more than ten to fifteen years by an American failure of nerve or will in space industrialization.
As Americans, we and our forefathers did not create this, a nation with an economy and culture unique in human history, by sitting timidly on the Atlantic Coast of this continent, facing an untamed Wilderness that began a hundred miles from our modest seaport cities. We did not simply address the problems; we got there, rolled up our sleeves, took huge risks, worked hard, turned a wilderness into the wonder of the world, and often died in the process. Many people thought the Wilderness was useless and said so; we discovered otherwise, and where it was indeed useless we made it into something useful. We now face another frontier, not a hundred miles inland, but a hundred miles over our heads. Twenty years ago, it seemed as hostile and alien as the Great Wilderness must have seemed to our forefathers. But we have explored this new frontier and we have found that we can use it. Furthermore, following what our forefathers taught us, we can make money by doing it and bring benefits to many people. It is not going to be easy, and it is not going to be cheap, but the payoffs seem to be tremendous and will probably far exceed our wildest dreams.
This is a critical moment in human history. A new ecological niche has become available to us. The final frontier has opened. Are we going to take advantage of it?