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1.1 HISTORY OF NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was created by an act of Congress 29 July 1958, and began business 1 October 1958.
The Declaration of Policy and Purpose of the National Aeronautics and Space Act i's outlined in Section 102(a) through (c) of PL 85-568 as follows:
Sec. 102.(1) The Congress hereby declares that it is the policy of the United States that activities in space should be devoted to peaceful purposes for the benefit of all mankind.
(b) The Congress declares that the general welfare and security of the United States require that adequate provision be made for aeronautical and space activities. The Congress further declares that such activities shall be the responsibility of and shall be directed by, a civilian agency exercising control over aeronautical and space activitics sponsored by the United States, except that activities peculiar to or primarily associated with the development of weapons systems, military operations, or the defense of the United States (including the research and development necessary to make effective provision for the defense of the United States) shall be the responsibility of, and shall be directed by, the Department of Defense; and that determination as to which such agency has responsibility for and direction of any such activity shall be made by the President in conformity with section 201 (e).
(c) The aeronautical and space activities of the United States shall be conducted so as to contribute materially to one or more of the following objectives:
(1) The expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;
(2) The improvement of the usefulness, performance, speed, safety, and efficiency of aeronautical and space vehicles;
(3) The development and operation of vehicles capable of carrying instruments, equipment, supplies, and living organisms through space;
(4) The establishment of long-range studies of the potential benefits to be gained from the opportunities for, and the problems involved in the utilization of aeronautical and space activities for peaceful and scientific purposes;
(5) The preservation of the role of the United States as a leader in aeronautical and space science and technology and in the application thereof to the conduct of peaceful activities within and outside the atmosphere;
(6) The making available to agencies directly concerned with national defense of discoveries that have military value or significance, and the furnishing by such agencies, to the civilian agency established to direct and control nonmilitary aeronautical and space activities, of information as to discoveries which have value or significance to that agency;
(7) Cooperation by the United States with other nations and groups of nations in work done pursuant to this Act and in the peaceful application of the results thereof; and
(8) The most effective utilization of the scientific and engineering resources of the United States, with close cooperation among all interested agencies of the United States in order to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort, facilities, and equipment.
There had been a steady growth of NASA-like activity since before World II, among amateurs in and out of government, in various countries. There is little evidence that official acts in any country had any influence on the growth. The first SPUTNIK is said to have been a slightly modified military rocket, launched under the sponsorship of individuals within the government organization, with the consent, but not the active support of the Russian Government. The favorable world reaction came as a surprize to high officials, whose subsequent support can be regarded more as a speedometer attached to the automobile drive shaft than as the drive shaft ituelf.
In America, it is difficult to identify early NASA-like expenditures, which were generally clandestine, and obscured by clumsy book-keeping. However, if we plot the growth of NASA expenditures (not budget authorizations) on semi-log paper, it follows a straight line from the cfficial beginning of NASA until 1965, when it bends over, and then begins a decline. Extrapolating the straight line backward in time, it seems to match actual expenditures, as well as these can be identified. There is no indication of a change in slope (growth rate) when President Eisenhower became president. Likewise, although the space effort was hotly debated during the Nixon-Kennedy presidential campaign during 1960, there is no indication of a change in slope of the growth curve, either when President Kennedy was inaugurated, or when the APOLLO program (to land men on the moon before 1970) was initiated. There was a hiatus, followed by a steeper growth curve, in the construction of facilities, at the time of Kennedy's inauguration, but the cost of the construction was such a small part of the total NASA budget that the break was not apparent in the overall growth curve. Figure 1.1 shows the growth of NASA.
For planning it is more important to know the growth of space capability than the growth of space expenditures. From Figure 1:1 we see that during most of its history NASA's expenditures almost doubled every 12 months. In other words, at any time, 50% of the space industry employees had less than one year of space experience, 75% less then two years, and 87.5% less than three. Only a small percent had enough experience to be highly productive. For purposes of illustration, assume that the first four years is required for learning, and that only after then does an employee earn his salary. Figure 1.1 also shows what follows from that assumption. Cost predictions based on expenditures at some forner time will be 16 times ac large as predictions based on the actual capability at the time of the predicted expenditures. Based on a constant level of employment, future undertakings should yield 16 times as much per dollar as similar undertakings in the past. The actual analysis is more complex than the above illustratior, but the order of magnitude of the effect is probably about right.
1.2 METHODOLOGY OF PLANNING
As yet, most people do not understand one another when discussing : planning procedures and findings. One fallacy should be erased at the outset. A planning effort is not a commitment. The confusing of planning with commitment seems to be confined mainly to members of the NASA headquarters management team, who seem timid about explaining the difference to Congress and the public. Clearly, congressmen can understand the distinction, for they do not expect the Department of Defense to fight every war for which a plan is prepared. It would be equally ridiculous for anyone to expect that NASA will automatically carry out every proposed space plan. But Congress and the public should be shown plans which can be rejected or accepted on their merits.
Less than 1/2000 of the NASA expenditures during the past six years have been devoted to activities directly related to planning for manned planetary exploration, including contract and in-house efforts, and organizational overhead charges. This amounts to less than one NASA hour per NASA year. Even if we should immediately begin as rapid. an expansion of the planning effort as possible, it would take at least two years to complete a master plan, ready for large-scale work assignments, and to assimilate enough people to use a budget as large as five to ten million dollars per year. Clearly, such an effort should not be confused with commitment, for it could be terminated at any time with negligible impact on the national economy.
There are three levels of planning, as suggested by the schematic in Figure 1.2. Each has its use and its limitations. Parametric analysis has been irreverently dubbed "analysis paralysis" owing to itc frequent misuse to avoid controversy rather than to achieve results. The central problem in its use is that all the combinations of parameters in a complex system outnumber the atoms in the universe, liter-. ally. Some rational way must be found to be selective in the corbinations studied. Otherwise, the number of combinations will be restricted by the exhaustion of time, money, and imagination. A suitable method, which should always be an integral part of any parametric analysis, is the continuing elimination of impossible or noncompetitive combinations as these reveal themselves during the course of the study. The method