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Pending Policy Issues

The COMSAT Corporation represents an example of good government policy. Enabled by an act of Congress, it has been a successful commercial venture. Policy needs to be promulgated to guide other civilian applications. Questions such as who operates the programs and how is the data disseminated remain as unanswered now as they were when the promise of space application programs were first perceived several years ago. We are just starting to scratch the surface of resource evaluation and exploitation. In our society this is an area for private enterprise. Aggressive development beyond the technology sponsored by NASA in such important programs as LANDSAT and SEASAT must come from either publically-owned charters such as COMSAT Corporation was or by incentive means to encourage private investment. The absence of policy has led to some potential for role crossing. As an example, in the COMSAT 1976 Annual Report, mention is made of the fact that COMSAT General subsidiary was participating with the U. S. Geological Survey and Telesat Canada in a program to evaluate the use of satellites for the collection of water resources data from remote geographical areas. The conduct of such a study is very appropriate. From a policy point of view, is such a study appropriate to COMSAT's charter as established by the Communication Satellite Act of 1962, is it more appropriate to NASA, should it be done by the Interior Department as a major "user, or should it be performed by industry? Until we, as a nation, regularly look at the growing opportunities in space applications from the totality of their interactions; i.e., a system approach instead of considering the space segment as an end unto itself, we will be less than cost effective. The picture isn't totally dismal as more recent programs such as SEASAT have been planned on the appropriate broader base. While there are some aspects of SEASAT operational planning that are to be determined, the elements that require future resolution are recognized.


The Future with a Space Transportation System

The Space Transportation System was a programmatic entity whose time had come when it was approved. The push it received from both the technological imperative and the organizational imperative were considerable. As a very major undertaking, care must be given to assure that it is cost effectively exploited. Oversight needs to be undertaken to insure that this national capability is optimally used for all our programs, that the cost benefits be demonstrably realized, that the potential of the STS for broader space programs of national benefit be recognized and supported, and that our international obligations be discharged. All of this must be properly balanced, prioritized and scheduled since there never will be too many orbiters once the utility and availability is established in practice. Further, the risk of orbiter loss, as with any high performance airframe, cannot be treated as non-zero, at least for planning purposes.


New Major Initiatives

A case can be made for allowing the STS to reach operational maturity before
initiating from among the various candidates, another space program of similar
magnitude. Other than a replacement for shuttle as a useful single stage-to-
orbit any major space program will require a mature STS for its accomplishment
and until the specifics of that maturity have been demonstrated, it might be
premature to initiate the next major space program at full funding. On the
other hand, this nation faces an energy problem. Space provides an opportunity
for contribution to the energy problem solution. Planning for a space power
system (SPS) should be continued so that its competitive potential can be
accurately assessed. The SPS is a logical program consideration. Because its
initiation will require a mature STS, opportunity exists for allowing an
evolutionary SPS program and at the same time provide for shuttle-on-orbit
extended utility by means of such entities as the 25 kw power module.
ultimate role of an SPS must be as a coherent part of the nation's energy
program. During this probable period between major program thrusts by NASA,
attention should be given to the initiation of those science and applications
programs not initiated due to lack of budget during the years when STS
expenditures were a major segment of the NASA budget.


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20 January 1978

Dear Mr. Teague:

I am pleased to submit the enclosed statement for the
consideration of the House Committee on Science and
Technology in connection with its January 24, 25 and 26th
hearings on the space program.

I am proposing a very modest beginning program to
search for extraterrestrial intelligence. NASA seems
very timid about undertaking even a small scale effort
in this area. A little encouragement from this Com-
mittee might change the whole future of man.


Barney Oliver

B. M. Oliver

The Honorable Olin E. Teague, Chairman
Committee on Science and Technology
U. S. House of Representatives, Suite 2321
Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D. C., 20515



Bernard M. Oliver was born May 27, 1916, at Santa Cruz, California. He received the B. A. de-. gree in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1935, and the M. S. degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1936. Following a year of study in Germany under an exchange scholarship, he returned to the Institute where he received the Ph. D. degree, magna cum laude, in 1940.

From 1940 to 1952 he was employed at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in television research and radar development. He is now Vice President in charge of Research and Development at the HewlettPackard Company, and a member of its Board of Directors. He was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Radio Engineers in 1954 and served on its Board of Directors. In 1962 he was elected a Vice President for the newly formed Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and served as President of that organization in 1965. In 1966 he was appointed to the President's Commission on the Patent System. In April of the same year he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and in 1973, to the National Academy of Sciences. He is Chairman of the Engineering Advisory Council at Stanford University.

24 March 1977

23 January 1978


Members of the Committee on Science and Technology

FROM: Bernard M. Oliver

SUBJECT: ERRATA, paper entitled "SETI-A New Space Program

Please note the following typographical errors on the above

referenced paper.

Page 1, General Observations, line 5

Should read "retroactively."

Page 2, Paragraph 3, Line 2

Should read "returns"

Page 3, Paragraph 3, Line 8

Should read "directions"

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