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this emerging capability been anticipated by DOD in this time context, and does it alter in any way your plans for using our space shuttle?
Dr. DELAUER. I think if you examine the intelligence estimates over the last few years, we knew they were working on something like this.
As you know, we are making every effort to provide to certain members of the committee access to some further evidence of their effort, and I think that Mr. Beggs might have that available to him. We can't do it even at this classification at the present time. [Deleted.]
Senator GORTON. You spoke in your testimony of a unique element of the Soviet effort being its manned space program. By the same token Dr. Keyworth has downplayed the necessity of man in space and suggest that the Soviets are forced to this course by technological limitations. Do you want to comment on that?
Dr. DELAUER. I am not going to get into an argument with the White House. On the other hand, we are supporting NASA's current space station activities. There could be some very useful capability in the future from DOD's standpoint-particularly the building blocks that are necessary to do it.
I think Bob has an additional comment on that.
Dr. COOPER. I think that there is a technical asymmetry between the Soviet Union'sd capability and ours which may make it more necessary for them to rely on man in space, and that is that they are definitely not as advanced as we are in automation technology generally. Automation technology is based on micorelectronic circuits and computer science, areas where the United States has been classically very strong. So we can rely on automation to do many of the complex tasks that must be done in space, whereas the Soviets in order to accomplish similar kinds of missions may have to rely on a human being there making judgments and controlling systems in order to accomplish similar missions.
Senator GORTON. Dr. DeLauer, following up on that, or Dr. Cooper either, you did speak of the fact that the Soviets recently set a new record for time in space on the part of an individual.
I understand that the physical consequences to those individuals was rather adverse. What comments do you have on that? Have we learned anything from the long time in space on the part of the Soviet astronauts, in addition to whatever physical consequences there may be when they return to earth? Does it have any apparent impact on their ability to carry out these tasks some of which apparently we automate?
Dr. DELAUER. I will let my whiz answer this one.
Dr. COOPER. Yes, it is true that both very short times in space and very long times in space seem to be deleterious to functioning in complex tasks in space. In the space shuttle program we have experienced some problems
Dr. DELAUER. Short term.
Dr. COOPER [continuing]. With astronauts becoming ill for a few hours initially while they are in space and the Soviets have experienced similar circumstances.
Then there are debilitating long-term effects from being in space that have to do with certain upsets in the body chemistry of people who are subjected to zero gravity for long periods of time.
Now the Soviets have mounted a major effort to study the effects of space flight on human beings, and we have benefited from that program because we do have a cooperative exchange of information program with the Soviets in this general area. Although we haven't had as many man-hours in space as the Soviets have now, we have had considerable long duration exposure in space experience and have gained some insights there. But clearly there are medical problems to be overcome to keep astronauts in zero gravity for extended periods of time. We do need to understand more about that, particularly if we are to rely on military man in space for any substantial important missions in the most distant future that require long durations in space. The Soviets have stated a goal for year long invasions.
Senator GORTON. Well, we are still simply on the learning edge I take it in this respect. You haven't developed a rule that you wouldn't want someone up more than x number of days or under certain circumstances or the like?
Dr. COOPER. No, there is no rule like that, as you say, but there is a certain body of understanding about the effects and some things that can be done to counteract those effects. I think that is what we need to do, is to better understand the physics and the chemistry of the effects to better understand what actions can be taken to either delay or diminish the onset of those effects.
Senator GORTON. Do you all agree with NASA that a space station should be the next major American space initiative?
Dr. DELAUER. Yes, I think we agree with them that that is the next civil effort that ought to be done. I think there may be a difference in time scale between us, but that generally is a consequence of having to pony up the costs. So we are just very cautious about being too bullish on space stations until we really know what it looks like as a program and that is NASA's responsibility to lay it out but we have supported their planning. I think the Secretary has written Jim Beggs a letter saying look, we support your activity.
Senator GORTON. Is it likely that the defense requirements will be so different from NASA's civilian requirements in that respect that DOD will require a separate program and schedule?
Dr. DELAUER. I don't believe so in the beginning. I think the earliest efforts will be on finding programmatic ways to establish a space station more than its utilization at the outset.
Senator GORTON. Your written testimony says, and I quote, "To constrain ourselves prematurely to a four-orbiter fleet would erode confidence in the space transportation system as a dependable space transportation system.
Dr. Keyworth seems to feel that a four-orbiter fleet is more than adequate for any foreseeable national needs. Can you comment on the difference between you?
Dr. DELAUER. I think there is a difference between whether the glass is half empty or half full, and somebody says look, the four orbiter fleet can match what we have to do and therefore that is adequate. We tend to be a little bit more cautious from a military
standpoint. If we are going to count on the shuttle for activities, we want to be sure that we have got enough capability available to say look, it is a reliable launching system. Therefore an additional vehicle looks to us as a good insurance policy.
Senator GORTON. What do you understand the President's position to be on this issue?
Dr. DELAUER. Well, right now they haven't approved the fifth one. So I guess I stand on the record, so to speak. I think it has to do with how we do in the future and see what happens.
Senator GORTON. Your testimony indicates that our spares posture for the orbiter fleet is tenuous and inadequate. Does that mean that the $100 million proposed for spares in the fiscal year 1984 NASA budget is too small?
Dr. DELAUER. Yes, I think it is too small if we start having some problems like we are having now.
Senator GORTON. Can you give me any insight into what you think a more adequate level or appropriate level would be?
Dr. DELAUER. I would hesitate to give you that number right now. We can get it for you. Why don't we try to get it for you. Have you got it?
Dr. COOPER. No. I think it is better that we should look at the problem and give you a judgment for the record.
Senator GORTON. Is there any inclination on the part of DOD to fund part of the spares inventory if NASA can't do it?
Dr. DELAUER. We don't volunteer anything right now, but we are always reasonable men as far as working with NASA.
[The following information was subsequently received for the record:]
I was describing our current spares posture as "tenuous to inadequate" as evidenced by the current unavailability of serviceable Shuttle main engines. This situation is the result of insufficient resources previously applied to spares, and the impact of funds requested in the fiscal year 1984 budget will not be felt for several years due to lead times.
With respect to the appropriate level of funding for Orbiter spares, we defer this determination to NASA who has the responsibility for this element of the Shuttle program. We are encouraged by recent increased attention to this issue by NASA management, and have made available to them trained DoD Logisticians to assist in this difficult task.
From our perspective, the most important consideration in determining spares funding levels is achievement of the capability to responsively support user requirements. A corollary requirement is to maintain spares production capacity to enable efficient production of additional Orbiters if circumstances warrant.
Funding of Orbiter spares is a NASA responsibility under the NASA-DoD agreement for use of shuttle and is a reimbursable cost element. We believe that the recently renegotiated price per flight for use by the DoD reflects the cost projection for additional spares procurement by NASA. Under this agreement the DoD cost per flight has increased significantly from $12.2 million to $29.8 million in the post 1985 period (all costs in fiscal year 1975 dollars). DoD does fund for all spares associated with DoD operated elements of the system, such as Vandenberg AFB Shuttle facilities.
Senator GORTON. What are the prospects that DOD might require that an orbiter be reserved for its missions only?
Dr. DELAUER. Well, you know that is hard to say because right now we do have some spare booster capability which kind of gives you a little warm feeling. But once those are consumed, why I think we have to re-examine the whole question of emergency needs. We are looking at a broad based capability of ho you woul
really handle an extended requirement for emergency replacement of satellites.
Dr. COOPER. Specifically though, sir, we have no particular technical requirement that would require a separate orbiter just for some specific technical military purpose. We can use the general capability that is in the STS system now for all of our future projected missions.
Senator GORTON. Do you see a point at which DOD payload rates will exceed the launch capacity of the shuttle?
Dr. DELAUER. Not in the foreseeable future.
Dr. COOPER. Certainly not in the foreseeable future.
Dr. DELAUER. Hell, no. We have to be sure that it fits.
Dr. COOPER. You see, there are two aspects to that problem, Mr. Chairman. One is the weight-lifting capability and the other is the volumetric capability of the shuttle. We see no missions in the near term that would exceed the weight-lifting capability. In the more distant term if we do develop a need for high-powered lasers in space as weapons, our projections are that systems weights are likely to exceed the weight-lifting capability of a single shuttle flight.
As far as volumetric capacity goes, the shuttle now is marginally adequate for all projected missions to carry the volume of both the upper stage and the spacecraft into orbit. It is likely that there will be some missions in the future where we will have to go to great pains to shoehorn those missions volumetrically into the shuttle payload volume.
Senator GORTON. Given this set of marginal or inadequate capabilities, are you considering an alternative launch vehicle?
Dr. DELAUER. No.
Dr. COOPER. No. The alternative to the limitation is to assemble pieces of spacecraft in space. Both NASA and DOD are looking in a conceptual way and to a certain extent in a technical development program at ways of doing space assembly.
Senator GORTON. Has consideration been given by DOD to bumping STS-9 to assure the scheduled launch of STS-10?
Dr. DELAUER. I don't think so. That hasn't come to my attention, Mr. Chairman. Now whether they are doing some planning in the organization, particularly with the user, we haven't seen it surface. Dr. COOPER. Currently the schedule for STS-10 is in November of this year. That flight has been scheduled for a number of years to occur in November, and we still have a need to have that flight occur in November. We are hopeful that the difficulties that the shuttle is having now will be cleared up and that the missions preceding flight 10 will be launched with dispatch so that we can actually have that mission occur on time in November, without disrupting the rest of the schedule.
Now how NASA intends to handle that problem and how successful they will be at it is an operational matter for NASA.
Senator GORTON. What are the cost penalties that we are going to face if we keep on deferring a decision on the fifth orbiter and eventually decide to go ahead with it for 1 year, 2 or 3 years, whatever?
Dr. DELAUER. Well, I would think off the top you are going to get stuck with inflation. While it has been reduced at this point in time, it is not zero. So we will have that problem.
Senator GORTON. You will have more than that though, won't you?
Dr. DELAUER. It probably will. It depends on where the work force sits at the time you make the decision. If you are going to put a gap in the shuttle work force, it is going to cost you more money. That is probably the biggest impact that we might be facing. So it is up to NASA to really look at how the layout is, particularly at the suppliers and see whether or not we are going to be paying for both a drawdown and then a buildup in people. That is the biggest cost facing us.
Senator GORTON. Is private sector funding for the fifth orbiter an acceptable alternative as far as DOD is concerned?
Dr. DELAUER. Again, just like we are talking about having adequate controls on other civilian controlled space assets, we would try to insure that we would have adequate control of an orbiter that was privately financed.
Senator GORTON. But the concept itself doesn't bother you?
Dr. DELAUER. No.
Senator GORTON. Does the pricing schedule in the memorandum of agreement for shuttle launch services by NASA for DOD represent the full cost of those services?
Dr. DELAUER. I think they are the full cost if you take into account the relevant effort that we have within the manpower. I think there is a difference in cost at the Cape than, say, there would be at Vandenberg because of the different employment of people.
Senator GORTON. Expan on that a little. What kind of difference? Dr. DELAUER. Well, I think you have more support personnel that are military in one, and their costs are covered in the military budget and therefore you wouldn't have to handle that particular aspect of it, than if you go to a different place. I think it will be different a little bit, too, when the time comes as to whether or not we use all of the Johnson capability or we start using the CSOC capability for some of the control.
But I think the concept of the pricing is pretty much agreed to and I think it is fair.
Senator GORTON. How do the charges of DOD differ from those which NASA assesses to commercial users?
Dr. DELAUER. I think it is probably the utilization of the people more than anything else, isn't it, Bob?
Dr. COOPER. It is just exactly the same, except for the charges for people.
Dr. DELAUER. You know, the credit for providing additional labor and things like that.
Senator GORTON. What does DOD see as the main advantages to be gained from your shuttle processing contract which is expected to be awarded by NASA late this year?
Dr. COOPER. Well, we think that contract will be a good contract. The major benefit to both NASA and DOD will be the use of a common contractor on both the east and the west coast for services