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Krafft A. Ehricke


Krafft Ehricke is a native of Berlin, Germany, where he studied with plans for a space technological career aeronautical engineering, celestial mechanics and nuclear physics.

Currently he heads Space Global Co., specializing in systems research, development and consultation, in La Jolla, Calif. For more than 35 years he has been dedicated to the development of space technology, exploration and utilization. During his technical career he held executive and specialist positions with various corporations Rockwell International, General Dynamics and Bell Aircraft; and was associated with Government Agencies the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, Army Research & Development Division and the V-2 missile development program of the German Army Research & Development Division. He has served in advisory positions to NASA and the Air Force.

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For the past 20 years he has been the annual space lecturer at the USAF Air University's Command and Staff School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. He is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics; and a fellow of various professional aerospace societies in this country and abroad.

He participated in the development of the first ballistic missile (V-2) as well as of the first U.S. ICBM (Atlas). He conceived and directed the initial development of the first oxygen-hydrogen upper stage (Centaur) which led to the cryogenic upper stages of the Saturn vehicles and which still today launches deep space probes into the inner and outer solar system. He has introduced new concepts in many areas, from large reusable launch vehicles and space habitats to planetary missions. Parallel to his technical career, he developed new concepts of the socio-economic, human and philosophical aspects of the new technologies and capabilities related to space and our industrial civilization in general.

As a result of his private work in these areas during the 1960s, Krafft Ehricke originated the concept of space industrialization as an essential means toward overcoming the various limits-to-growth syndromes and forming the foundation of a new cycle of manned deep space exploration.

Some of these concepts are referred to in the subsequent statement and were also presented in earlier Hearings during the 1970s.

Precision measurement of intercontinental distances

Geological and geophysical studies have shown that large movements

of parts of the Earth's crust have taken place during geologic time. Some areas are subject to geologic hazards as a result of movements taking place at the present time. In other areas, the occurrence of mineral and energy resources is closely linked to geologic structures that have resulted from these movements.

A major difficulty in understanding the rates, direction, location, and cause of crustal movements has been an inability to make precise measurements over large distances and to repeat these measurements at intervals of every few years. New capabilities for precise measurements, such as laser ranging to satellites, offer the first real hope of successfully testing certain hypotheses concerning plate tectonics and sea floor spreading. The U. S. Geological Survey (1965, p. 27) states that horizontal and vertical displacements "would have to be determined within less than one decimeter; if coordinates could be determined more precisely, movements could be detected over shorter intervals."

The launch of the Laser Geodynamic Satellite (LAGEOS) in May 1976 was a major step in precision measurement of intercontinental distances with accuracies of less than 5 cm. LAGEOS is a sphere 60 cm in diameter fitted with several hundred mirrors to reflect light from lasers aimed from the Earth (Table 2). In many cases it will require a decade or more of data acquisition using these measurement techniques to establish the precise rates of crustal motions.

Although research has been done with microwave systems to determine the signatures of various natural materials and conditions, much work remains. Recently, NASA requested the National Academy of Sciences to review plans for the development of spaceborne microwave systems. The Academy endorsed proceeding with the passive imaging microwave program and development of active microwave spaceborne sensors that can measure the spatial distribution of elements within a scene. The Academy urged, however, that extensive and repeated experiments be carried

out with multi-frequency and multi-polarization active microwave sensors under a controlled but expanded range of conditions with adequate ground truth, to determine the repeatability of research results obtained to

date (National Research Council, 1977).


A space effort not tied closely to the national and global realities in our time will not find the serious, broad-based and lasting public support it needs.

Once again, the space program should become a major focal point of technological advances. But these must be turned into productive and service i.e. job realities even faster than before. Concentration on the industrial utilization of space appears to be the best approach in both respects.

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America's (and the industrial world's) economic base is eroding as world industrialization advances. Energy is one indicator. Growing inter-OECD competition is another. The rising share of the developing world in global steel production is a third.

In the long run, the industrial nations can create new markets only by helping the developing countries to develop industrially. These markets, in turn, can be realized only through innovation in quality and skills, as well as through the development of new services. The expansion of our industrial frontier out into space the industrial integration of Earth and space -become a key element of the needed growth.


The first part of this document presents reasons for building a Space America and summarizes eight initial steps.

The second part addresses key national and global socio-economic factors from which both direction and priorities can be derived for effective application of space industrialization in the domestic and global domains. Governing considerations and criteria should relate to jobs and job security (on Earth), energy and to the strength and prestige of the American economy in the world.

The third part reviews briefly the considerable job-creating and job-sustaining potential of an integration of terrestrial and space industry. It can effectively counter the job-reducing effects of automation.

The fourth part places space industrialization into a greater evolutionary perspective. While this part is broader in scope, it clearly brings out the prime objective of space industrialization. The fifth part discusses space energy industries. The broad and important option range offered by Space Light reflector systems merit increased attention.

The sixth part deals with lunar industrialization and with space transportation. Here, as in the energy discussion, decision "trees" are presented. It is hoped that they are helpful to the Committee in providing overviews and judging alternatives.

The seventh part contains a brief statement on space exploration. Jupiter, as possible abode of the principal alternative evolutionary route to our own life's evolution would be the most fascinating initial target of a new round of manned missions, supported by space industrialization, in the late 1990s or early 2000s.

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