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As stated earlier, the global habitability concept provides a focus for the NASA earth sciences activities. Much of the present funding within the Solid Earth Observations and Environmental Observations portions of the Space Applications budget line item is being applied to tasks and missions that are directly relevant to this focus.
Question 14: You indicate that NASA has experienced some technical difficulties with the Space Telescope project. This project is a high priority one for the scientific community, NASA and the Congress. Do you believe the technical problems can be worked out? What do you estimate will be the cost and schedule impact of the technical problems?
Answer 14: The Space Telescope continues to be a complex and technically challenging endeavor. Altnough we have encountered some serious difficulties in our development errorts, we believe we will be able to solve these difficulties. None of the problems which we have encountered require technology breakthroughs, and we believe they can be solved with some extremely detailed and precise engineering and manufacturing work and meticulous assembly procedures. We are currently conducting a review to determine the schedule and cost impact of these problems. Our best guess, at the present time, is a slip of at least one year and a cost growth of at least $200 million.
Question 15: The Space Science Working Group, a group of university scientists, have supported NASA's space science efforts generally. They have also recommended an increase in various Research and Analysis line items totalling $17 million. Do you agree with the Group's recommendations?
Answer 15: We believe that the Research and Analysis funding requested in the FY 1984 budget is adequate to support the highest priority items in our program, consistent with the need for fiscal restraint in support of the President's economic recovery program.
Question 16: Once again the OMB has cut back NASA's Technology Utilization program from $10 million to $4 million. This program has been highly successful in applying NASA technology to non-space commercial markets. Benefit-cost studies show about a $6 return for every $1 invested. Why does OMB take such negative view of this program?
Answer 16: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has taken the view that considerable aerospace technology is already available in the private sector
through NASA contracts. Therefore, OMB has taken the position that the Technology Utilization program has low priority in comparison with other agency programs.
AERONAUTICS AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY
Question 17: During both sessions of the 97th Congress, its determination to see your Agency carry out specified systems technology programs was made clear by its augmentation of your budget requests and by its clarification in Conference Committee reports of the programs for which that augmentation was provided. Can you explain, therefore, why your FY 1984 budget request provides no funding for several of those programs, notably the advanced turboprop, active laminar flow control, general and commuter aviation technology, and aircraft energy efficient programs for subsonic transports and engines?
Answer 17: NASA initiated these programs because of our belief that the potential technology advances could be of great value to both civil and military aeronautics. Progress in the research thus far has been very encouraging and has only strengthened our original convictions. We are making effective use of the additional funds provided by the Congress in FY 1983 to further the research efforts.
The overall aeronautics program requires a balance of activities ranging from fundamental research and continuing improvement of research capabilities tu fullscale flight testing. By necessity, the more costly systems technology programs involving full-scale hardware investigations are planned as augmentations to the fundamental research effort which must be maintained if we are to fulfill our obligation to serve as the country's primary aeronautical Research and Technology When budget constraints prevent adequate systems technology augmentations, it becomes difficult to maintain the pace of desired progress without seriously impacting the more fundamental research effort. As a result, the systems augmentations are generally deferred unless they are of great national urgency. Inasmuch as these major systems programs are typically 5-10 year efforts, the inrusion or additional funds on a one-time basis although a positive step-cannot solve the longer term problem. Continuing progress is being made in the discipline related to each area, and follow-on augmented efforts are planned, but the current budget does not permit the level of augmentations needed to sustain these larger-scale activities.
Question 18: Your statement this morning points out quite correctly that the joint service JVX vertical takeoff and landing aircraft program is made possible by
flight research of the XV-15 tilt rotor proof-of-concept program. Why, therefore, is your Agency unable ΟΙ unwilling to recognize that the civil aviation industry's ability to bring forth the prop fan propulsion system likewise depends upon NASA's completion of a comparable proof-of-concept flight, research program as urged by the Congress?
Answer 18: NASA does recognize the importance of flight testing in the development of advancea turboprop technology for both civil and military applications. The required flight testing is not a proof-of-concept activity, but rather a research program to investigate problem areas which can only be addressed in flight-e.g., propeller structural dynamics and cabin noise control. Together with the planned ground-based research, it would provide the data base essential to turboprop design and development.
NASA's Advanced Turboprop Program plans have consistently included flight research, shown as a new phase starting in FY 1985, supporting the required long lead preparations for flight experimentation beginning in 1987. The omission of turboprop funding in the FY 1984 program will result in slower-paced preparations and possible delay of the flight experiments.
Question 19: You mentioned research emphasis on commuter aircraft technology. Can you tell me more about what that entails, particularly whether it will contribute anything to our general aviation industry's position in the world commuter aircraft market which is dominated by foreign manufacturers?
Answer 19: Since 1978 when the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation requested that we address tnis important matter, NASA has investigated the opportunities for technological improvements in small transport aircraft for regional (formerly commuter) airline service. As a result, we have taken steps to ensure that our aeronautics program objectives and activities will help make it possible for U.S. industry to improve its competitive position in world markets through the design of superior next generation aircraft of this type.
Studies conducted by NASA and by industry under NASA contract between 1978 and 1982 clearly showed the improvements in performance, comfort, equipment cost and cost of operation possible for future designs of smail transport aircraft in the 20 to 50 passenger field. These improvements were based first on making maximum use of available technology in aerodynamics, structures, controls and propulsion systems in relatively conventional aircraft configurations, but eventually on utilizing emerging technological advances (some of which
are not yet available) in aerodynamics, structural materials and propulsion. Improvements which could be achieved include up to 40 percent greater fuel economy and 24 percent reduced operating costs, together with significantly quieter interiors and greater passenger comfort through improved ride qualities. A preliminary report on NASA's initial findings was submitted to the Senate at the end of 1979, and a report summarizing subsequent advanced technology system studies was provided in late 1982.
A large percentage of NASA's aeronautics research and technology program was found to be directly or indirectly applicable to the design of future small transport aircraft, particularly in the areas of aerodynamics (including natural flow technology), composite materials and structures, and advanced propeliers. It should be noted that most promising new aircraft designs in this field would be propeller driven, not turbofan, since propeller propulsion more advantageously matches the mission profiles of expected regional transport aircrart. other areas of technology, such as aerodynamic configuration research, engine research in the power ranges of interest, and in propulsion integration for promising and unusua configurations, we have added specific tasks aimed at obtaining technical data needed to enable U.S. manufacturers to proceed, if tney choose to do So, with the development of technologically advanced designs.
Question 20: Mr. Beggs, I realize that laser research is not a large portion of NASA's budget, but I do see where you are doing some interesting things wich lasers. We are, as a Nation, spending more than $500 million each year on laser and particle beam technology; and my concern is that we are not coordinating this research among the various Federal agencies. Does NASA have any Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), letter of agreements (LOA), or any such arrangement with other agencies with regard to laser technology?
Answer 20: NASA/DOD Coordinating functions are conducted by the Space Research and Technology (SRT) Panel of the Aeronautics and Astronautics Coordinating Board (AACB). In 1981, the SRT Panel agreed that the High Energy Laser Review Group (HELRG) would be used for coordination of Federal efforts in high energy laser research and technology. Accordingly, in July 1981, a memorandum was signed between DOD and NASA to coordinate their high energy laser activites through HELRG. This group, which also includes DOE, meets semiannually and coordination occurs through information exchange. NASA also coordinates all low power laser activities in communications technology, sensing ana ranging with DOD through laser working group D of the Advisory Group on Electron Devices (AGED).
RESEARCH AND PROGRAM MANAGEMENT
Question 21: Mr. Beggs, in my opening statement I expressed the concern that the NASA organization and structure, which we have carefully developed and is so vital to the United States, may have problems in the near future. Specifically, as many ongoing programs are nearing completion, as space commercialization materializes, as Shuttle operations go to private industry, and as the military assumes responsibility, does NASA management have a long range plan that will fully utilize the NASA talents and resources to continue to meet the objectives set forth in the Space Act?
Answer 21: The National Space Policy, set forth in National Security Decision Directive No. 42 and announced by the President on July 4, 1982, reattirms the Nation's commitment to the exploration and use of space in support of national well-being. To carry out its responsibilities in connection with that commitment, NASA maintains a process for conductiny its program planning that involves its senior officials and managers, integrates the most advancea thinking available throughout the Agency, and incorporates suggestions and recommendations from many outside persons and organizations such as the NASA Advisory Council and advisory boards sponsored by the National Academies. That planning has identified projects that should be undertaken in all of NASA's traditional areas of science and technology through FY 1988 and, in some cases, to anu beyond the end of the century. A report on that planning is in process.
Question 22: Alabama Space and Rocket Center conducts a program called the United States Space Camp. The Camp will this Summer provide 1,400 boys and girls from 45 states a chance to see today's space program up close and to visit research laboratories that support the space program. Space Camp permits our younger generation to become excited and motivated to take additional science and math courses.
As the total number of 18 year olds in the population continues to decrease into the 1990's, we must ensure that talented students will want to enter science and engineering to meet future needs. At the Space Camp the students spend five days learning about rockets, astronaut training, Space Shuttle, computers, and design theory as well as career opportunities. What role does NASA play in the Space Camp, and what role will it play in the future?
Answer 22: The NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) Public Affairs Office assisted in the planning and design of the initial curriculum for Space Camp in 1982. Our operational support to the camp included briefings at the Neutral Buoyancy Simulator, Payload Crew Training Complex, and the Beam Builder. Lectures were provided at the Marshall Center and at the camp on Materials Processing in Space, Technology Transfer, the Shuttle Student Experiment Program, and Large Space Structures. There was also an evening "rap session" on engineering led by a young engineer from MSFC. NASA provided space hardware and lunar samples foL demonstrations, and furnished films and educational literature. All support was provided on the basis tnat it did not interfere with normal MSFC work, and some support was provided after duty hours on a voluntary basis by Center employees. Assistance to the Space Camp in 1983 and in future years is planned to continue as above. We are also assisting the planning and curriculum design for an Advanced Space Camp.