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NASA's role in demonstrations long enough to permit users to decide whether they want the new service and, if they do, to establish appropriate institutional arrangements for the operational system.
Advanced new technology does not simply find its way into use. Even where there is self-evident value in the use of the new technology, NASA will have to be persistent if the U.S. is to continue to lead in the application of space technology for man's peaceful activities. We can most assuredly look forward to competition as the European space arrangements mature.
Since the early days of the space program there have been suggestions that, one day, facilities in space would afford special opportunity for materials processing, not because of the temperature, vacuum, lack of moisture, or the radiation flux but by virtue of the very low gravitational field. However, a report from a committee of our Space Applications Board, which will appear shortly, does not encourage the view that materials in space processing is likely to become an enterprise on a significant scale. There are opportunities to study the properties of various materials near the critical points of their phase transitions, gathering information that could contribute importantly to materials processing on earth. And there are opportunities to study certain physical systems in the absence of the buoyancy-driven convection that occurs in the presence of gravity. But this is applied research, not application itself.
Fabrication in space of materials for use on earth currently
shows little prospect of realization.
Finally, it seems appropriate to apprise you of one other
Senators Stevenson and Schmitt and at the express request of the Administrator, we have assembled a blue ribbon committee which, even now, is examining the status of the Shuttle engine. It is my understanding that progress in the development and testing of this engine which pushes current technology to tmost
is now paced by the performance of its liquid hydrogen pump which has exhibited some difficulties.
immediate principal purpose of our committee is to ascertain whether, in their view, these difficulties are of the sort
that are encountered and resolved during the course of the
development of every major new technology, or whether they are mone
reflect some problem so profound as to be likely to necessitate some as yet unplanned special development program or to occasion significant delay in the date of the first full powered flight
of the Shuttle. Their report is expected in a few weeks. Mr. Chairman, it has been a high privilege to appear before you today.
Thank you, sir.
During the last two years the principal activity of the Space Science Board's
As a brief progress statement, we note that our report on space plasma physics
The following subjects are of particular concern to the Board at the present time, as they bear upon the future viability of our present strategic studies:
Space Telescope and Jupiter Orbiter Probe
The Board is keenly aware that in the approval of ST and JOP substantial
The National Research Council is the principal operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering to serve government and other organizations
Dr. Philip Handler
12 January 1978
exploration of the inner and outer solar system. The Board has a
We are fully aware that the launch capability required for missions to
Supporting Research and Technology
We believe that high priority should be given to funding for instrument concepts and development. The previous lack of conceptual and breadboard instrument development in a timely manner has caused serious difficulties in the space science program. The SSB has strongly recommended an increase in supporting research and technology funding for a number of years. Regrettably, support to strengthen this area has regularly been denied due to programmatic funding difficulties. We recommend that the agency redirect and give perspective to this matter, both within the area of SRT and in the sense of mission definition, so that the development of instrumentation anticipates and adequately prepares the agency to achieve the science objectives described in the strategy. Unless there is a concerted effort to rectify this matter, the new approaches needed to achieve new objectives will be missing and most of the program will be undermined.
4. Space Science Programs
There is one important observational area in which space plasma physics and solar physics require fundamental information. A variety of theoretical conjectures concern the emission of plasma and radiation over the poles of the Sun. This outpouring is an integral part of solar activity and is known now to influence some of the activity in the plane of the ecliptic where the Earth resides. For several years reports of the Space Science Board have emphasized the need to obtain particles and fields measurements out of the plane of the ecliptic. The further development of the subject
Dr. Philip Handler
12 January 1978
is becoming increasingly dependent on the acquisition of such measurements, and we emphasize once again the timely nature of such a mission.
The new phenomena presently under investigation in high energy astrophysics have a revolutionary impact on the entire field of astronomy, so that the continued capability to study these phenomena has a very high priority for future initiatives. The present series of High Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO) spacecraft, just beginning their observational programs with the launch of HEAO-I, provide new observational capabilities of greater sensitivity and angular resolution. These spacecraft have design constraints which severely limit their useful observing lifetimes. The Board recommends that NASA take reasonable measures to extend the useful operating lifetimes of these spacecraft, since the United States will enter a period without x-ray and gamma-ray observational capabilities after these lifetimes have terminated. It will be important to plan for an early launch of post-HEAO instrumentation of enhanced capability.
The Board is pleased to note that the approval of the major elements of the FY 78 Office of Space Science budget has checked the negative funding trend in planetary and lunar exploration. With the approval of the JOP mission, a lengthy absence of new starts has ended, and we earnestly hope that it marks the beginning of a positive outlook for the planetary exploration program. We have no doubt that the goals and objectives of planetary exploration will lead to major advances in our knowledge of the solar system over the next decade and strongly believe, therefore, that the program should receive continued, consistent funding, in consonance with a continuing national commitment in this area.
Global measurement of the physical and chemical character of the inner
I would now like to turn to a fundamental issue about which the Board is deeply concerned. We refer to the continued absence of any statement of intent which provides substantial goals for long range U.S. space activities.