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and if as a result solar power then looks non-competitive, the CAP is still
justified by its other uses in earth resources, weather and communications.
If the steps I propose are taken, at the times that I have suggested,
the position by the end of the 1990's will be attractive.
First, we will have given up none of our options. If solar power looks
economical and useful, we can have a small pilot project up there and work
ing. At the same time, we will have a much clearer idea whether or not the
Moon can be a feasible source of materials for solar power satellites and
other large space structures. We will have an improved launch capability
that makes further lunar work, or even manned planetary expeditions, much
will also provide a service function for unmanned applic
ations satellites, in low or geosynchronous orbit. Finally, we will have
gained a much larger body of knowledge regarding man in space.
At that point, twenty years from now, we will have to make some more
but we will have many more facts available to make them than
we have now. We should be able to look at solar power satellites and space
stations from a much sounder basis of knowledge. The analysis of costs and
benefits becomes a more reasonable activity. The danger is that we may fail
to undertake initiatives now, because of fallacious attempts to see accur
ately to the end of this century
As you can see, I have confined myself to only three major goals. I
regard the great virtue of the Apollo program as the existence of a single,
clearly-defined objective with a definite completion date.
The three goals given here, like Apollo, imply a host of subsidiary
milestones, but I do not want consideration of them to dilute the focus
on the main objectives. With the program suggested here, there is less
danger of being led into a fragmented effort and a piecemeal approach.
There is one factor that is missing from this discussion. The
United States spends and will continue to spend considerable resources
in space systems dedicated to defense objectives. Obviously, I have not
sought to integrate such systems, present and planned, into my analysis.
I would like to urge this committee to seek to maximize the overlap of
the civilian and military space programs, and to make sure that any study
that may result from these hearings has a suitable emphasis on that subject.
The projects we are discussing are expensive, and we have no money to spare
for duplication of effort or re-discovery of the wheel.
If my proposals appear prosaic, and lacking in the drama and imaginative
scope conjured by the phrase 'The High Frontier', that is only because I
believe strongly that we must anchor our dreams in engineering reality.
Space is a frontier. For the foreseeable future, it is not only a high
frontier, it is a high-technology frontier. If we are misled by analogies
to previous expansion phases of the human race, so that we lose sight of
the central role that
echnology and engineering feasibility must play in
any space program, then we will be unable to structure a real program.
That would be a tragedy. In my opinion the U.S. Space Program, over
the past twenty years, has amazed the whole world. More than that, it is
the only major effort in that time that the United States has undertaken
and demonstrably succeeded in. The war on crime, the war on drugs, Vietnam,
the increased expenditures on education, on welfare and on energy independ
all these, realistically, have been failures.
I believe that a bold space program, clearly defined with realistic
goals and aggressively pursued, can repeat in the next twenty years the
pattern of success that we have experienced in the past twenty.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES SHEFFIELD, VICE PRESIDENT,
EARTH SATELLITE CORP.
Mr. SHEFFIELD. I am honored to be here today and to be a witness at these hearings.
It is very interesting to me to note that although Mr. Jeffs, Mr. Stine, and I have not talked to each other prior to these hearings, we have considerable overlap in our views.
Benjamin Disraeli once remarked that all sensible men were of the same religion. When asked what religion that was, he said sensible men never tell. Apparently, sensible men often tend to the same views about the space program.
I am a vice president of Earth Satellite Corp., and I also serve as first vice president of the American Astronautical Society. I will try and wear both hats in this testimony.
In one role I am immediately concerned with how you make a profit right now with application of the space program. With the American Astronautical Society, I am much more concerned with the broad view of the whole U.S. space activity.
I think the best way to give you my idea of where we go in the space program is to give a concrete plan for the next 20 years. The plan has three major pieces.
First of all, it contains my perception of what I think the best combination has to be between practical application and long-range development.
Second, any plan has to address the relationship of the unmanned program and the manned program.
And, third, any plan, to be useful, has to keep flexibility.
Like all witnesses appearing before this committee today and on subsequent days, I began with a certain preestablished set of convictions of my own. To avoid confusion, I will state those in advance as explicitly as possible. I would like to begin by quoting one of your colleagues, as follows:
We all know that it has more than three times as many mountains, inaccessible and rocky hills, and sandy wastes, as are possessed by any State of the Union. But how much there useful land? How much that may be made to contribute to the support of man and of society? These ought to be the questions agricultural products of the whole surface * * * never will be equal to one half part of those of the State of Illinois; no, nor yet a fourth, or perhaps a tenth part.
This sounds as if it might be a commentary on a proposed lunar program, or perhaps taken from a speech about the Viking Mars-landers. It is not. It is taken from a speech made in the Senate by Daniel Webster, on June 27, 1850. His remarks referred to the State of California. They were made in connection with the proposed admission of that territory to the Union of States. I know that some people on the east coast will still tell you
that California is a big desert, but this is probably a minority viewpoint now. I am introducing Mr. Webster's words here to point out something that should be clear to all of us. We have no idea of the long-term benefits that can accrue from a territory or a development.
If you had asked people 80 years ago what Alaska was, they would have said it was a bunch of frozen land that was useless. The point I am making is that if we attempt, right now, to itemize the long-term benefits from the space program, we will be talking through our hats.
We can't do it. The idea of a cost-benefit study, or a cost-effectiveness study, as the dominant way in which we decide our priorities is in my opinion a very badly mistaken idea, and so my first assumption is as follows:
A rational series of long-range priorities for the U.S. space program cannot be established using only cost-benefit or any other accounting method.
There are two problems. One is that you can use a cost-benefit study to hide behind, and you avoid going out on the line with a tough decision. Second, if you rely too much on this you take away the main reason for having intelligent and responsible people running the space program.
Now I have talked about the benefit side and illustrated it with California, but equally well, we don't have much idea what the cost side will be in the long term, 30 or 40 years out. We may run into problems we don't understand yet.
To me that says that any program you follow must be kept as flexible as possible and be able to adapt to changing programs and take advantage of changing solutions. I translate that into my own terms. And my second assumption is that although we can do a lot with machines in space, we will still need to keep man up there.
So assumption two is, that the manned program is an essential piece of the U.S. space program. I know that is a bit controversial in some places, and they will say you can do as well with the unmanned spacecraft and telemetry from the ground, but I don't believe it. I do believe that the way in which we use man in space has to change. I think at the moment space is restricted to the perfect physical specimen who can take 10 or 15g and still feel happy with it. If we really go together into space, it will have to be accessible to people like us, who don't see too well, and who have sprained backs and who feel dizzy if they go up in high-speed elevators. We just have to get space accessible to normal people.
My third assumption concerns the technology. Twenty years ago Sputnik I went up and stimulated a tremendous effort on the part of the United States. The first result of that effort was the launch of Explorer I. It went up 20 years ago next Tuesday, on the 31st of January, 1958. At that time to get that satellite up required every bit of technology we had. I think everybody here will remember the sequence of failures that preceded the successful launch of Explorer I.
Look at the situation today. We have on hand adequate technology to handle a whole slew of projects in low Earth orbit. We have a good deal of capability for geosynchronous orbit and for lunar and planetary exploration. So we now have a different problem. The problem we have now is, we can't marry all the girls. We have to make some decisions as to which projects should be highest on our list of priorities.
So my third assumption is as follows: that technology is no longer the main bottlenack for space exploration and utilization.
I would not like that to be quoted out of context, because there are still very substantial engineering problems to be solved and some of these are going to require new ideas, not just the application of money but the application of considerable brains. But it does mean that we can have some choice in picking the projects that we think are most important.
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Other witnesses that I expect we will hear from tomorrow in these hearings will tell us that the right way to structure the space program is to emphasize the use of off-Earth materials, to mine the Moon or the asteroid belt. They will tell us it is very inefficient to conduct operations in space, if you have to drag every ounce of payload up from the bottom of a deep gravity well, which is where we sit here. They will point out it is more efficient and satisfying to use resources from the Moon or from the asteroid belt.
Well, that may be true, but unfortunately, we're starting out from here. It's like the old joke, when you ask the farmer how to get to the village of Newbiggin and he says, if I were going to Newbiggin I wouldn't start from here.
In the long term we may be able to use off-Earth resources, but in my opinion within the next 20 years we are stuck with the use of Earth-based materials. In the same way we may not like the chemical rocket as a propulsion system. It is wasteful. It is noisy. It pollutes and it is unesthetic, but I believe it is the main tool we will be using for launch for the foreseeable future.
So my fourth assumption is, that the space program will depend on the use of Earth-based material launched into orbit using chemical rockets. There are other options when we look at orbital transfer. We can look to ion propulsion or solar sailing and they are fine, but they won't be the workhorse of the program, not for the next 20 years. I may be accused of being unimaginative in all of these assumptions, and I would love to be proved wrong. I would love to have somebody come along in 10 years and come across an invention that makes all of what I have said nonsense. But that's not my point. My point is that a very attractive 20-year plan can be built without any new breakthroughs.
If anything else comes along as an invention or a capability, we will benefit from it, but we can structure something now, with defined goals, which is attractive to us without invoking unforeseeable improvements.
Let us first look at where we stand now. What do we have as to space development and space industrialization and exploration? Well, for the first half of the 1980's the Space Shuttle will be our main instrument. It will increase our access to orbit, and will increase the number of applications we can use. We will be able to launch unmanned satellites for scientific experiments and unmanned satellites for useful applications.
We will also have a manned space station, Spacelab, and we will be able to learn more about the effects of very low gravity on the human body.
If any of you are familiar with the Skylab experiments, you will know that the long-term effects of very low gravity on human beings are very poorly understood. The Government Printing Office has just come out with a whole book on the medical results of the Skylab experiments, and in it you will read such things as the fact that the loss of calcium from the human body, which began soon after the astronauts went up, continued at apparently a constant rate. It did not reach any asymptotic value. It kept going down until they came back to Earth.
Now things like that have to be studied in detail before anybody can talk about low gravity, long-term missions. I am not totally con