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I expect continued, steady progress in improving the application

of space technology to Earth environmental observations. Here, NASA's development programs are vital precursors to future improvements in NOAA's operational systems.

In the past, NASA's TIROS and Nimbus satellites led to our current series of NOAA satellites in polar orbit. NASA will soon launch TIROS-N, the prototype of our third generation operational satellite in polar orbit. In a similar manner, NASA's Applications Technology Satellites (ATS) and Synchronous Meteorological Satellites (SMS) were the precursors of NOAA's current Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) operating over the equator at 75°W and 135°W longitude, providing continuous coverage of the Western Hemisphere.

The TIROS-N and GOES series of operational satellites now on order are expected to provide continuous coverage until at least 1985. Improvements to be introduced at that time will be based on the results of NASA

research and development programs, and the outcome of program priority evaluation in light of incremental costs versus probable value to the nation. The results of this process are more difficult to forecast than However, I think the technology is emerging, and a

the weather.

need exists, for important new satellite monitoring of:


The ocean surface in support of a rapidly growing variety of
marine activities: Ocean dumping, deep water ports, petroleum
and mineral extraction, fishing, transportation, defense. The
launches in 1978 of SEASAT-A, the first all microwave sensing
satellite devoted to ocean observations, and Nimbus G will be
important milestones in developing this capability.


The ocean and atmosphere to detect changes in the climate and

the effects of man's activities. Nimbus G and the Earth

Radiation Budget Satellite System, as well as the NOAA

operational satellites, are important here.

The earth's surface (e.g. soil moisture and temperature,

radiation fluxes, rainfall and snow mount) for use in agri

culture, water management, flood forecasting and climate


Atmospheric structure on a short time and space scale to improve

forecasting of severe storms (e.g., thunderstorms, hail,


NASA is developing an atmospheric sounder which

will fly on one of NOAA's GOES satellites about 1980 to demon

strate this capability for the first time.

In many cases, these new developments can be incorporated in the NOAA operational satellite system in an evolutionary way. This is the case where the technological perturbation is relatively small and low in cost and the value to the nation is defined adequately.

In some

other cases additional, new spacecraft may be required. Here it may be difficult to demonstrate the incremental value without a new phase of activity which I call "operational demonstration".

After the initial development and test of extensive and complex new technical capability, the operational utility may be promising but not adequately developed and demonstrated. Experience has shown that unless the user community can be identified clearly and be fully involved at this state, future progress in applying the technology will be very slow.


If one or a few Federal user agencies can be identified for a given applications area (e.g., NOAA for oceans and atmosphere), they can work with NASA in formulating and conducting the operational demonstration. NASA would be concerned primarily with the space segment and the user agencies with the ground segment; each agency should fund its part of

the joint program.

That is why it is

To be successful, the operational demonstration phase must be configured and maintained just as though it was fully operational, including all phases through to service to the end-users. essential to have the total involvement of key user agencies in the operational demonstration.

The period of the operational demonstration must be long enough to "work out the bugs", establish the routine use of products in the user community, provide for evaluation of utility, and reach a governmental decision to continue, modify or terminate the new capability. Experience indicates that the minimum time period would be five years, where the user interfaces are well established and simple. The decision point must be early enough in the operational demonstration that the transition to full operational status can be made without interruption.

The NOAA-NASA procedure, wherein NASA serves as NOAA's "prime contractor" for operational spacecraft and launchings in accordance with system specifications provided by NOAA and NOAA operates the total system, may be a useful example to follow when it is finally decided to proceed with the fully operational phase. At this stage, the key user agency provides funds to NASA for the operational spacecraft and launching.


In summary, there are many technological advances in the offing which should have broad utility to our society. However, improvements

are needed in the process of going from initial space test through to full operational implementation.



Hearings on Future U.S.Space Programs
January 24,25 & 26,1978

Howard G. Kurtz, President

War Control Planners, Inc
Box 19127, Washington D.C.20036

Chairman Olin E. Teague

For a very few more years the United States will have a dominant world
lead in the science and technology race, as exemplified in the field of
the pro-human, life-supporting space satellite systems. The choice of
whether humanity will have a worthwhile future may well rest, at the
moment,in the hands of the President of the United States and of the
majority of the Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate,
as they face the imperative to clarify, before it is too late, the
goals and commitments of the U.S. Space Program, which in turn must
be fully in focus with the as-yet-undecided U.S. long range strategic
objective, or answer to the question What Kind of Future World Order
are the American People Trying to Create ?"

As the Congress now clarifies, or refuses to clarify, U.S. long range
global objectives to guide U.S. space programs for the coming generation,
this no longer is a matter of concern only for the American people. This
Congressional action is of deep concern to the future generations of
all 150 sovereign nations on Planet Earth.

In response to your invitation, I submit for pro and con and creative discussion just a few highlights from more than twenty years study, work, observation, writing and editing in the field of the ever-expanding Kremlin/White House science and technology and strategic power race, working jointly with my wife Harriet until her death on June 17,1977.

Discussion is invited under the following headings:

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