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go on to a large number of massive power stations transmitting energy back down to earth is, in my opinion, not as clear.
Very advanced structures, including large scale use of the new composite materials, should also become a major feature of our space transportation systems in the future. Although not as fundamental as good propulsion, we are in a position to make major gains with new structures which would be well worth the investment. Both propulsion and structures directly impact the economics of taking things both to and from space and moving around in space and are major factors in the economics of the entire space industrialization phenomena. We should do the best possible.
THE STELLAR UNIVERSE
Beyond the solar system there are stars, galaxies, quasars, neutron stars, black holes a whole universe. We explore it by means of the information it sends us by electromagnetic radiation rather than by traveling to it as we have done on this planet. We have a variety of highly sophisticated techniques for examining the universe, from large radio telescopes to large optical space telescopes. It is an exploration which has fascinated mankind for thousands of years and has profoundly affected his life. It will continue forever.
It is paradoxical that the human species has been using the stellar universe for his benefit long before he even dreamed of flying. Historical records show that the motions of the fixed and "wandering" stars have long been used to control human endeavors for determining the most appropriate times of the year for planting and harvesting and for navigating first by latitude and later longitude. With the advent of Galileo's telescope and the increased precision it allowed, the stars provided a satisfactory means for navigating the entire world. The wandering stars provided Newton with the basic data needed for his crucial theory of gravitation. The constancy of the light of the stars and later the anomalous perihelion shift of mercury led to the formulation and partial verification of the special theory of relativity. Black holes, collapsing galaxies, neutron stars, star formation, interstellar and intergalactic dust all contain information about physical processes that once understood will be every bit as revolutionary to future human development as has stellar information of the past. Continued astronomical research of these objects and related phenomena is essential to the continued progress of all branches of physics.
NASA has been orbiting increasingly larger and complex telescopes and cosmic detectors since its formation. Larger telescopes allow us to see farther and with better resolution. In space these instruments are free of the perturbations, distortions and filtering occasioned by the earth's atmosphere. Continued development of the collectors, images, spectrometers and detectors of stellar radiations at all wavelengths is necessary for further progress in this field.
As recently as a dozen years ago, stars except for novae and supernovae were viewed as more or less stable steady state radiators of energy. the discovery of pulsars and other fast time-varying stellar phenomena, the development of appropriate new instruments takes on new importance. Because of the wide differences in photon energies from low energy radio waves through optical, x-ray, and gamma rays to extremely high energy cosmic rays, the telescopes must use different methods of collecting and focusing the energy as well as different detectors. Hence, a variety of different types of observations are needed in space, and all can be expected to continually contribute to further basic advances in human knowledge.
The prime criteria for future space programs should be for the benefit of all mankind, but we need to assume that it is, in fact, all rather than any arbitrary subgroup.
Our next unifying goal should be to open up the entire solar system for mankind's use and benefit. This would be a relatively permanent goal providing a framework for many mission trade-offs.
Development work should be expanded in areas that make this goal more readily realizable: propulsion, large space structures, solar power in space.
The use of the remaining stellar universe as a source of basic scientific information should continue to be pursued with whatever space observations and detectors are useful to this effort.
David S. Johnson is the Director of the National Environmental Satellite Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce. He has held this position since 1965 (originally in the Environmental Science Services Administration). He joined the former U.S. Weather Bureau in 1956 and in 1958 became involved in the development of TIROS-I, the world's first weather satellite.
Mr. Johnson was born in Porterville, California, June 29, 1924. attended the University of California, Reed College, Harvard and UCLA, receiving an AB in 1948 and MA in 1949, both in meteorology, from UCLA. He served in the Army Air Corps 1943-46. He was a research meteorologist at UCLA 1947-52, and an associate meteorologist with the Pineapple Research Institute in Hawaii 1952-56.
He is a fellow and past-president of the American Meteorological Society, fellow of the American Geophysical Society, associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics, and a member of the Sigma Xi and AAAS. He has been active in the international arena through the work of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) of the U.N., and various bilateral and multilateral planning and negotiation groups regarding environmental satellites.
He has received the Department of Commerce's Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Achievement (1965), NASA's Exceptional Service Medal (1966) and National Civil Service League Career Service Award (1974).
Future Space Programs
David S. Johnson, Director
National Environmental Satellite Service
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Department of Commerce
This nation's environmental satellite system, operated by the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has progressed a long
way since its beginning in the early 1960's.
Spacecraft now operating
and on order will provide service until at least 1985 to weather fore-
Improved satellite monitoring of the ocean surface could help support a wide variety of marine activities; to detect climate change and man's effect on the environment; of the earth's surface in support of agriculture, water management and flood forecasting; and atmospheric structure on a short time and space scale for improved forecasting of severe storms. These and other technological advances are in the offing which should have broad utility to our society. However, improvements are needed in the process of going from initial space test to full operational implementation.
Future Space Programs
David S. Johnson, Director
National Environmental Satellite Service National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the
Department of Commerce
Committee on Science and Technology
January 23, 1978
For use in connection with hearings being held by the Committee on Science and Technology on future space programs, I am pleased to have the opportunity to provide this paper setting forth some of my thoughts on this subject.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the Department of Commerce is the only civilian agency of the Federal Government with an operational satellite program.
Our involvement goes back almost to the beginning of the space age, and I have been privileged to be associated with this program since its inception.
Following the launch of the first Sputnik in October 1957, the first TIROS weather satellite was developed and successfully launched on April 1, 1960. Because of the outstanding success of TIROS in observing the world's weather, President Kennedy, in his special message delivered before a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961, asked Congress to provide funds for the Weather Bureau (now embraced by NOAA) to initiate a national operational satellite system for worldwide weather observations.