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STATEMENT OF GEORGE W. JEFFS, PRESIDENT, NORTH AMERICAN
SPACE OPERATIONS, CORPORATE VICE PRESIDENT, ROCKWELL INTERNATIONAL CORP.
Mr. JEFFs. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I welcome this opportunity to appear before the committee to express the views of Rockwell International as to the future space program.
In defining the Nation's future space program, it is useful to briefly examine some recommendations from earlier studies as well as new factors and information that are available to us today.
In 1969, as we were achieving President Kennedy's objective of landing a man on the Moon and safely returning him to Earth, the space task group was preparing recommendations for the space program of the 1970's and beyond. It noted the value of committing to long-term goals as a guide for both short-term and longer range decisions. And it recognized the need to challenge man's spirit and technical capabilities.
A program was proposed at that time to utilize space for the welfare, security, and enlightenment of all people through development of a new space transportation system and space station modules, emphasizing commonality, reusability, and economy. The space task goup recommendations led, of course, to the selection of the Space Shuttle development, while funding constraints dictated deferral of space station modules.
In the 1975 future space programs hearings held by the Subcommittee on Space Science and Applications, Mr. Fuqua concluded that, and I quote:
The imagination, skill, and technology exist to expand the utilization and exploration of space. The positive benefits of a bold space program are compelling.
Specific recommendations for implementation were also made, but budgetary considerations again dictated their deferral. It is interesting to note, however, that the basic theme for the future space program-econmical transportation and space stations remained relatively unchanged.
Today, it is even more urgent that we test the feasibility of using space systems to help solve our growing major problems on Earth. This potential exists with respect to energy, pollution, health, economic growth, and in many other areas.
The rapid rate of change in space-related technology as represented by Space Shuttle and microelectronics, will soon make new operations in space possible and will profoundly influence the direction of our overall future space program. There is expanding national and international interest in
space systems and services. And, of course, the Soviet Union continues its steady military and scientific progress in space as witnessed by a launch rate four times that of the United States, development of killer satellites, and the current modular space station activities. Lt. Gen. Vladimir Shatalov has recently stated that the U.S.S.R."contemplates future stations much larger than present Salyuts, with crews of 12 to 20 people.”
Consideration of all these factors has been taken into account in formulating a future space program plan for the United States that I now will begin to outline.
When the Space Shuttle comes “on line," it will bring about sig. nificant changes in the way we operate in space. As a transporter, it will reduce the cost of getting into space to more affordable levelsand on a routine service basis. As a service system and an experimental platform, it will permit, for the first time, space workers to position and assemble large elements that have been launched together, or separately, or even fabricated in space. And it will, of course, provide opportunities for greatly expanded experimentation on orbit with relatively low-cost instruments and/or laboratories and without the need to develop expensive satellites to carry them.
The Space Shuttle is the first step of our future space program, and it is the key to providing large-scale benefits from space. Our program for the first decade of Shuttle operations should therefore plan to exploit the space transportation system to the maximum extent possible in all areas-defense, scientific, industrial, and general technology advancement.
Space systems today are key elements in supporting our Armed Forces with communication, surveillance, navigation, and meteorological services. Orbiting satellites have provided a source of rapid, synoptic data needed to evaluate events and changes in military force posture as well as to assist in defense policy formulation and Armed Forces deployment and control.
When the Shuttle becomes available, we should take full advantage of it in developing and evaluating new sensors and other devices, for protecting our satellites, for better validating arms control agreements, and for developing other new space defense systems. The United States must not fall behind in carrying its military R. & D. programs to the point where operational systems could quickly be implemented if necessary, since technological changes will be rapid in space and, conceivably, could alter the balance of power in the immediate years ahead.
The scientific community is considering the economies offered by Shuttle launches for continuation of investigations in physical, astronomy, life sciences, and exploration of the solar system. The Shuttle/ Spacelab, pallets, and free-flyers will add greatly to our ability to do scientific work in space. This will be facilitated by the presence of scientists and technicians in orbit made possible by Shuttle, and in our ability to return these scientific facilities to Earth for modification and reuse. The Space Telescope will be among the first of the new generation of automated free-flyers which will be Shuttle-delivered, Shuttle-maintained and Shuttle-retrievable.
To support industrialization missions, we will have to extend the power and duration capabilities of our space systems. We should proceed in the 1980's with development of expandable solar power modules using thermal and direct cycles; large space structure assembly and construction technology; jigs, fixtures, tools, and extra vehicular activity systems; plus the training, other special equipment, and facilities needed for people to live and work in space. As part of this effort, we should also begin developing a capability for manned operations at geosynchronous orbits.
Shuttle-supported systems in this first decade can expand into platforms assembled in space, initially attached to Shuttle, and then grouped together to form mission modules for flexible, multipurpose, multiuser (for example, defense, scientific, and industrial) facilities. Just the the present Space Shuttle system performance specifications and development timetables were guided by the space program plans and forecasts of the 1960's, so we must continue to plan in parallel the development of supporting technologies for the next decade's space systems. Propulsion advances will probably set the development pace for heavy-lift launch vehicles and should precede other efforts. Rapid developments in electronics and materials should enable us to plan space systems for the 1990's as advanced, compared to the Shuttle, as the Shuttle is compared to the Mercury-Redstone configuration.
By establishing modular multipurpose facilities as the primary new space systems of the 1980's, we will be taking the steps necessary for the large, overarching program which I believe we should plan for the 1990's. The experience and knowledge gained in using these facilities will enable us to establish as a goal a major permanent operational center in space for the year 2000, designed to provide large-scale contributions to the people on Earth. By 1990, we would be in a position to determine the proper mix of mission objectives and users, the optimum location of the center, and its detailed development plan.
National defense needs on Earth, as well as the protection of U.S. assets in space, may dictate that we extend our growing unmanned systems capability in space to include manned military systems. Conversion of the enter to national defense needs on an emergency basis might be given consideration in its initial design. However, manned defense systems, if necessary at all in space, may require stations separate from the center for other reasons.
The industrialization of space will be a major element of our space program in the 1990's. Future operational systems will bring about a "complexity inversion.” Large, complex, energy-consuming, and sometimes hazardous system elements can be located in space. The smaller, environmentally unobtrusive, less energy-consuming and safer interfacing elements can remain on Earth.
In the 1990's, as we design and construct the major space center for the year 2000, we must continue to advance our science and technology on a broad front, as this will provide the basic support and needs for additional centers in the 21st century.
I would like to briefly discuss some other considerations which must be addressed in support of our future space program. If space utilization is to fully evolve, strong participation by industry in the conduct of space operations will be necessary. Accordingly, appropropriate Government-industry management guidelines for operation will have to be formulated in parallel with the development of the necessary technical capabilities.
There is a specific need in our long-range space program planning to develop a unified policy which permits assignment of priorities and responsibilities for Government-industry activities. For example, even today, near-term issues exist involving civilian use of military sensor technology and Federal sponsorship of advanced communication technology.
Legal issues and related policy questions will have to be answered. For example, the body of laws provided by our Space Act and several international treaties do not provide firm definition of the boundary between airspace and outer space. A code for private operations in space to settle such questions as Government regulation and taxation, assignments of liability, insurance protection, and proprietary and ownership rights also must be developed. International concerns to be addressed are freedom and free flow of infromation in direct broadcasting and remote sensing, national sovereignty relative to satellite and space station positions, and ownership of abandoned or disabled space objects, to name a few.
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In the era of large-scale space ventures and routine "space commerce," it may be necessary to apply new mechanisms for congressional planning and oversight. One suggestion in this area might be to extend NASA's budgetary cycle to 4 years for authorization and 2 years for appropriations. This would provide significant benefits in program continuity, stability, and productivity. It also would allow Congress more time to assess proposed programs and establish funding priorities.
Shuttle launch assurance will be essential to attract users and to compete with foreign expendable boosters. In the early years of opeeration, fleet size and schedule constraints will demand resolution of onboard space and onorbit operating time priorities, especially between military and civilian users. And to properly encourage space industrialization, special Shuttle fee or priority use arrangements may be needed, particularly for larger scale private endeavors.
Current plans for management of the “Spaceline” by a Government agency are a logical outgrowth of our operational experience to date, and I believe that they will best serve our national interests in the early 1980's. However, in the longer term, NASA's traditional role in conducting aeronautics and space research and development may be compromised if it is called upon to operate the Spaceline. All factors considered, it is probable that future Spaceline operations will be assumed by private enterprise or a Comsat-type organization. Such an arrangement could include a Government-industry team operation or outright purchase or lease from the Government of all ground-flightspace assets, including systems for communication, tracking, flight control, logistics, and maintenance.
Government policies must be stimulative for inventions and patents arising from space research and development performed by industry under Federal or cost-shared funding programs which lead to space industrialization. Investment and tax credits, initial subsidies, and other incentives also should be considered to promote formation of new space industries. There is ample precedence for such steps, including the tax credits which California and other States now allow in selected areas.
International and multinational space projects offer unique opportunities for promoting world peace and aiding the economic growth of developing nations. I support the inclusion of them in our future plan. At the same time, such activities raise difficult questions that must be answered on preserving U.S. technological preeminence, technology transfer, and protecting private interests.
In summary, my recommendations for the future space program are:
First, we need to establish near term and long term goals, implemented by plans which can be flexible in response to technology advances and funding constraints. The goals and the steps to achieve them must be reasonably scheduled, stable, challenging, and easily
understood. We must communicate them to the U.S. public, industry, and the international community, and report our progress toward their attainment.
In the 1980's, we should concentrate on exploiting Shuttle's capability as a transportation system and as a platform for experimentation to the maximum extent on defense, scientific, and industrial projects across the spectrum. We must extend our space system's power and duration capabilities and man's ability to work in space. In parallel, we should develop detailed plans and programs and supporting technology for the subsequent decade, the overarching decade of space. These plans should be based upon a commitment to a national space center on orbit by the year 2000, a center whose detailed characteristics will be determined by our progress in the 1980's.
Second, we should develop the institutional mechanisms needed to effectively manage an expanded space program where large-scale projects and routine, commercial operations are commonplace. There must be a unified national policy developed which helps to assign priorities and responsibilities for all space users. Launch assurance and fees, liability, and general legal guidelines in all areas must be established. Investment, tax, patent, and cost-sharing incentives-all should be considered, with strong Government support to promote formation of new space industries. To facilitate international operations, interface issues must be identified and resolved. And Congress should assess the benefits of a longer budget cycle.
Third, we should all recognize that the space program is a "winner" and that opportunities far exceed commitments. Real growth should be considered in NASA's funding over a sustained period of time, averaging at least 5 percent annually between 1980 and 1985, and probably at a higher rate beyond that time.
Mr. Chairman, it is urgent for Congress to encourage the detailed planning and earliest possible implementation of this future space program. Government-industry teams are capable of its accomplishment, and the public, I believe, is expecting it.
Mr. FUQUA. Thank you very much.
George, we appreciate your very fine statement. Can you stay for some questions later?
Mr. JEFFS. Yes.
Mr. FUQUA. Our next witness will be Mr. Charles Sheffield, vice president of the Earth Satellite Corp. We are happy to have you join us.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Sheffield follows:]