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NASA AUTHORIZATION FOR FISCAL YEAR 1984
TUESDAY, MARCH 8, 1983
SUBCOMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND SPACE, COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION, Washington, D.C.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:40 a.m., in room 253, Russell Senate Office Building, Hon. Slade Gorton (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Staff members assigned to these hearings: Peter Perkins, professional staff member, and Steven Flajser, minority professional staff member.
OPENING STATEMENT BY SENATOR GORTON
Senator GORTON. I call to order this authorization hearing for National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA] of the Science, Technology, and Space Subcommittee of the Committee on Commerce.
The Congress recognized the dual civilian and defense of the Nation in space and aeronautics in establishing NASA in 1958.
Among the policies of the act was that aeronautical and space activities, and I quote:
Shall be the responsibility of, and shall be directed by, a civilian agency except that activities peculiar to or primarily associated with the development of weapons systems, military operations, in 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 (DOD)."
In a less convoluted and more succinct fashion, the act's objectives for national aeronautical and space activities included: Making available to our national defense agencies "discoveries that have military value or significance"; and furnishing information to NASA from our national defense agencies about discoveries that have civilian mission significance.
The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has specific jurisdiction for "nonmilitary aeronautical and space sciences," which means in particular the authorization for NASA.
It is in the course of developing our fiscal year 1984 authorization for NASA and in recognition of the close relationship of our civilian and defense aeronautical and space activities that we are holding this hearing today.
This is the 25th anniversary of NASA. For most of that time our Nation has enjoyed preeminence in both aeronautics and space in both the civilian and defense realms.
In the last 2 years that I have been in the Congress the Space Shuttle has progressed from its stunning maiden voyae to an operational system. There is at this time no equal in the world to this unique capability for science, civilian applications and national defense. Our success has been a tribute to the balanced relationship which has been maintained between NASA and DOD.
We now face new challenges which require an appraisal of that relationship if we are to meet the competition in space, science and applications, in commercialization of space, and in the threat of militarization of space.
Our purpose in today's hearing is to review our national defense activities in aeronautics and space in order to determine how these impact or are impacted by the proposed fiscal year 1984 NASA pro
The issues of mutual concern are many: the composition of our national space transportation system; the requirements for a permanent manned space platform; the equitable support of space activities by our civilian and space agencies; the development of mutually appropriate upper stages for the space shuttle; and the continued advancement of both military and civilian aeronautics.
There can be no question that the decisions which are made in response to these concerns will be as difficult and critical as any which have been faced in the past. Certainly our position in aeronautics and space is more directly and aggressively challenged than ever before.
With these thoughts in minds, I am pleased to welcome to this hearing Dr. Richard DeLauer, Under Secretary for Research and Engineering in the DOD, and Dr. Robert Cooper, Director of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency. Both of these gentlemen have appeared before this subcommittee previously and I welcome them here today.
Dr. DeLauer, we will be happy to hear from you right now.
STATEMENT OF RICHARD D. DeLAUER, UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, ACCOMPANIED BY DR. ROBERT COOPER, DIRECTOR OF ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY
Dr. DELAUER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We are happy to be here again. We always like to come before this committee and tell you how we are working together with NASA on areas that both Bob Cooper and I have a deep personal interest in, and that is the whole question of aeronautical research and space research in this country.
I have a formal statement and I would like to ask your permission to submit it for the record, summarize it briefly and then let you ask us some questions.
Senator GORTON. Your full statement will be included in the record, and you may proceed to summarize.
Dr. DELAUER. As mentioned in your opening statement, DOD and NASA have a strong working relationship, not only in the basis of our organizations, but personally. Hans Mark and Jim Beggs and the people in NASA are colleagues of long standing, and we have a very comfortable relationship with one another. We talk
to each other on many subjects and as a consequence, I think that we get to the heart of the issues very quickly.
Just to reiterate, you know we do have quite a few joint efforts going on right now. The shuttle is certainly the most important, but we are collaborating on Centaur G. The work we are doing at Vandenberg, which will benefit both DOD and NASA, is continuing. Then one of the more exciting advances in aeronautical research is the advanced fighter technology integration program at Edwards, which is a joint program. It is kind of exciting to see the Air Force, Navy, and NASA, all of us together out there working on that particular project.
If you have an interest in it, the committee ought to take time to go out and take a look at it. It is quite an airplane. That is if you can believe an airplane will rotate about a center without banking, will translate, will go up and down without pitching, it is quite a sight. The pilots that fly it say it is sure a different world than they have been used to. But it is an exciting program and I think a lot is going to come out of it.
Under Bob's direction and leadership, we are proceeding with the forward swept wing advanced development demonstrator up at Grumman. I was up there a week or so ago and the first one is in final assembly. Since we had some pieces and parts around, we decided to complete the second one, and that is well on its way in final assembly.
The JVX program is one that we are proceeding to work together on. This is the tilt rotor concept. The program has some programmatic problems within DOD because being a joint program, you know, you start about 10 yards behind the starting line. This happens because what is high in one service's priority list isn't high on another one and the job is to make them all see the light.
I am very proud of the fact that I have a memorandum of understanding framed on the wall of my office signed by the three Service Secretaries on the JVX program. I have to admit that that particular memorandum of understanding has a half life of about 90 days.
So we are in the process of still struggling in the light of some economic affordability issues between the Army and the Navy particularly.
But the interaction with NASA continues. We work very closely with their centers and with our R&D labs. We have a committee that meets about four times a year, a board which is cochaired by Hans Mark and myself. While we missed this year's first meeting because of the snow storm, we are going to have it at the end of the month primarily for the purposes of being sure that we know what the action items are and we have the right people working on them. In the past these meetings have pretty much emphasized the Shuttle, but this year we are looking at some of the aeronautical issues.
In keeping with the interests of this committee on how things are going in space with our adversaries, I have included a reasonably detailed summary of the Soviet space activities.
Let me just briefly recap that. I would best characterize it by the fact that it is large. It is ambitious and they know the value of space, both for military purposes as well as political propaganda,
and they have done an awful lot of work. 1982 was a big year for Soviet space activities. I will not mention the details of their launch activity, but they cover the full spectrum: antisatellite interceptors, which they test operationally, radar satellites for the purpose of sea surveillance, a full array of the photo and electronics intelligence payloads, both for strategic and tactical applications. They have essentially an early warning, a missile detection capability, as we do, and of course they are expanding their communications satellite activity.
They are extending their military satellite network to include, as are we, navigation and meteorology as well as weapons support activities. Their manned program has continued without any real slacking off. They have focused on space stations and space station modules and ferrying cosmonauts back and forth to it and have been very successful.
In 1982 the Soviets had a record high of [deleted] attempted space launches placing [deleted] payloads in orbit. A very ambitious program. Their rate reflects the large number of programs and expansions and capability to support their military forces.
On any given day 70 to 110 Soviet satellites are in active use to support military forces. Development continued in 1982 on some new capabilities for them. Two new space boosters, one, a heavy lift vehicle in the Saturn 5 class, second, a medium lift vehicle, [deleted]. Reusable transport systems, one, a U.S. shuttle type orbiter, which we assume will be operational in the mid- or late-1980's, and then another small space plane, with a [deleted] assessment as probable operational deployment.
The RORSAT activity, I mentioned, [deleted].
They contine to power their RORSAT with nuclear reactors. They had problems with Cosmos 1402. It made the front pages but they will likely continue to use nuclear reactors in space. I don't think we are going to deter them one bit by the fact that they had the problems with that particular system. Since they have the ability to be able to break it up into two major components, if they have problems with it, they are just going to go ahead with that design. I don't see them doing an awful lot to change it. They are going to accept the risk.
You know they went 211 days in a manned space station. It is a new record in extended missions. One of the things that bothers me probably the most is the fact that they have launched the lifting body type reusable space craft designated Cosmos 1373. [Deleted.]
DOD SPACE ACTIVITIES
We requested $9.3 billion for this authorization for the 1984 budget. This is above the $8.5 billion that Congress gave us in 1983. We are increasing the size of the DOD's space budget and the cause is by many factors. One of them has been the increase in cost of DOD's portion of the Shuttle launching. As you might be well aware, we have just finished renegotiating the user fee and, like everything else, the price of transportation has gone up. Just at the time that fuel costs are coming down in the rest of the world, DOD is ending up paying more money to put payloads into space. But I
think it was a proper thing to do. I think it is more equitable with what NASA has incurred for the launches. So we are proceeding to do all our planning on this higher user charge.
We strongly support the President's policy on maintaining the orbiter production and we will continue to do that.
I have talked about the repricing. We are in the process of completing construction for the Vandenberg operations. That cost us more money than we had intended. We are proceeding with our program for the consolidad Space Operation Center (CSOC) in Colorado Springs. We think with Completion of the CSOC that we will overcome some of the objections that Joint Chiefs of Staff have with existing limitations on the satellite operational capability that now exists.
We need a secure environment in which to conduct DOD space missions and we think that the CSOC will do that.
There have been a number of inquiries by Congress concerning the adequacy of the CSOC planning and the way we are procuring our equipment there. Let me assure you that we are trying to be prudent and have the best management possible to be sure that we have the right equipment in that system, that we will not duplicate obsolete equipment, as has been alleged. We intend to have a reasonably complete system development concept rather than providing government furnished software and then just trying to assemble the system. We will go out with the request for proposal on the shuttle operations and planning center probably in a little over a year from now.
We expect the satellite mission control center to be operational in 1986 and we are strongly committed to the Shuttle.
Now a brief word about our aeronautical activities. The budget for research development, test and evaluation for aircraft and related equipment in DOD in the 1984 submission is $4.1 billion. Of this about a half a billion dollars is devoted to aeronautical technology development, which is a portion of our program most closely alined to NASA.
We are continuing to explore the benefits of an integrated flight fire control concept on a modified F-15.
We are joint with NASA, as I mentioned before, on the advanced fighter program, which is in an airframe of an F-16. That is the one I urged you, if you have time, to take a look at.
The JVX of course is the advanced concept on tilt rotor. We are also carrying out in ARPA a strong program on an advanced Xwing configuration rotorcraft concept. We have a program where we will fabricate and test an X-wing rotor combination.
Propulsion is another area that we are working on and we are looking at opportunities for potentially a 15- to 20-percent increase in thrust and about a 15-percent reduction in fuel consumption and we hope we can have a reduction in some of the other aspects of the design.
We have tested carbon-carbon exhause nozzle liners and it looks like we can get over 300 hours in such a nozzle liner for an F-100 engine. That has some high hope for some of the advanced materials in lightweight engine development.