Page images
PDF
EPUB

ty to start to understand the use of space in industrialization. We did materials processing work, we did a lot of observation of the Earth and the Sun from Skylab, and we learned a lot which we are still drawing on to configure our programs in the current day and plans for the future.

Starting in 1972, we proceeded with the development of the Shuttle with the initial launch of that system last year. We have what we believe to be a very successful reusable system which will provide transportation to and from space for the next 20 years. We are proceeding with a number of programs in the use of the Shuttle, both scientifically and to provide further industrialization. Lots of various experiments will be carried on a space-available basis and on dedicated missions using the Spacelab which was designed and developed by the European Space Agency (ESA).

That, I think illustrates another important part of this program, and that is the very extensive international cooperation that we have had through the 25-year history of NASA.

In all, NASA has signed over 1000 agreements with 100 different countries for the sharing of data and joint space research and technology. Foreign countries have contributed significantly to many of our missions. The Spacelab, for example, which was an ESA initiative, involved the expenditure of over $1 billion on the development of that system. This system was presented to us a little over a year ago and will be our prime system for the scientific experimentation using the Shuttle.

We have proceeded on to a number of applications programs which have become commonplace. We all know about the meteorological satellites and the communications satellites-perhaps not so well known are the two that I have mentioned. The search and rescue activity will be a worldwide system enabling the location of in very, very short time periods, downed aircraft or ships in distress. That is another international program, a cooperative activity with the Soviet Union, the French, and the Canadians. The initial capability was put up by the Soviets and we have already rescued 19 people, most of whom would not have been found unless we had this capability.

We will be launching on STS-6 the first of our tracking and data relay satellites (TDRS). This will consist of a system in space to provide almost complete realtime coverage of all spacecraft in Earth orbit. We believe that it will be a very successful extension of our ground-based tracking activities into the 1990's and beyond. Landsat has been a very successful program of Earth observations. The Landsat-4 has the capability to obtain about 20 times the information content of the previous satellites. It is being used by a number on different groups or activities in this country including mineral exploration companies. Local and State governments use it for drawing such things as tax maps, as well as management of water resources and other activities.

Lastly, our contributions to civil aircraft and military aircraft have been extensive, not only for the 25 years that NASA has been in existence, but for the almost 70 years that our predecessor agency, the NACA, and now NASA has been in existence. Almost every civil aircraft and military aircraft currently in operation carries in it quite a lot of NASA technology. We continue a very close

partnership both with the civil aircraft and the military aircraft developers in order that we remain at the cutting edge of technology. Our aircraft are superior to any others developed in the world, and I believe they still are and will remain so for the future.

As you know, Mr. Chairman, the launch of STS-6 has been delayed from its original planned launch date of January 28 to a date early next month. The delay is as a result of the discovery of several small leaks in the Shuttle main engines. These leaks will be repaired on a set of engines which will be reinstalled in the Challenger. We should be able to proceed with STS-6 in April. In order to minimize delay of subsequent flights, we are developing operational tests and procedures to assure that future flights will not be subject to this type of delay.

Now, I would like to spend a few minutes discussing some of the achievements of the past year-achievements which have been very significant, indeed, and which would not have been possible without the strong and continued support of the Congress.

In 1982, the Space Shuttle orbiter Columbia made three successful orbital flights, and during each flight significant progress was made in understanding the operational features of the Shuttle system. This initial phase of the STS flight program culminated with the first operational flight in November 1982, when two commercial communications satellites were launched. There is no doubt in my mind, Mr. Chairman, that the investment this Nation has made in the Space Shuttle will pay off handsomely. We now know enough about the system so that I can make this statement with great confidence.

A new Earth observation satellite, Landsat-4, was placed in Earth orbit in July 1982. Its operations have been spectacularly successful until a recent anomaly occurred disrupting correct readout of the thematic mapper data through the spacecraft's X-band communication link. This link was to have transmitted thematic mapper data directly to the ground before the TDRSS became operational. In the event we are unable to correct this communication problem, information will be once again acquired when TDRSS becomes available later this year. The satellite's new thematic mapper has provided information of a quality exceeding the original specifications, including valuable information for the geophysical sciences as well as excellent data for mapping and Earth resources assessment.

In aeronautics, the Department of Defense (DOD) has recognized the importance of NASA's technical contributions by considering NASA's tilt-rotor aircraft concept as a prime contender for the new joint service JVX vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. Also, two large new aeronautical facilities are nearing completion-the National Transonic Facility at the Langley Research Center and the new 80- by 120-foot addition to the 40- by 80-foot subsonic wind tunnel at the Ames Research Center. Completion of operational tests and checkout of the new 80- by 120-foot leg has recently suffered a setback, however, because of an accident during testing. The facility is expected to be operational in about 2 years.

This is just a brief overview of a few of the technical achievements of 1982. The list is really much longer. I will talk in more

detail about some of the things that have been accomplished later

on.

On July 4, 1982, President Reagan issued a policy statement which outlines basic U.S. goals for activities in space. These goals are to strengthen the security of the United States, to maintain U.S. space leadership, to obtain economical and scientific benefits through the exploitation of space, to expand U.S. private sector investment and involvement in civil space and space-related activities, to promote international cooperative activities in the national interest, and, finally, to cooperate with other nations in maintaining freedom of space for activities which enhance the security and welfare of mankind.

The NASA budget request for fiscal year 1984, which I am addressing today, is designed to achieve the objectives outlined in President Reagan's space policy. The key to leadership in space is to have efficient and effective ways of getting there. The President's space policy strongly supports the Space Shuttle program and calls the Shuttle the primary space launch system for both U.S. national security and civil government missions.

NASA's proposed fiscal year 1984 budget fully supports a fourorbiter fleet with enough structural and subsystem spares to make certain the fleet is able to survive serious delays or accidents. Our proposal will also reduce the leadtime for expansion or replacement of the four-orbiter fleet if and when operational demands require.

NASA's first priority, Mr. Chairman, remains to make the Space Shuttle system fully operational as rapidly as possible. We will also continue to explore new ways of employing the full capability of the Shuttle. Later on this year, we are scheduled to fly the first Spacelab mission, which is an important demonstration of new capabilities represented by the Space Shuttle The Spacelab, developed and contributed to NASA by the European Space Agency, represents an important international activity consistent with the President's space policy. NASA policy has recently been revised to expand opportunities for the sponsors of Shuttle payloads to nominate the payload specialists to fly with them. President Reagan has invited Brazilian and Japanese payload specialists to fly aboard the Shuttle. In addition, Australia plans to fly one, and Canada is considering NASA's offer to fly one.

In my testimony before this committee last year, I said that the Space Telescope will be the most important scientific instrument we have ever flown. I continue to believe that this is true, and NASA's fiscal year 1984 budget request provides priority support to this very important development effort.

As might be expected in a program of this complexity, we are continuing to experience technical problems, particularly in the optical telescope assembly development activities, which will most likely impact the scheduled launch and runout cost of the Space Telescope. We are currently reviewing a range of alternatives for rephasing the work to minimize the cost and the schedule impact. As soon as our evaluation is completed, we will inform the committee of our proposed actions.

Another measure of leadership in space is the continued enterprise of planetary exploration. We have includ the proposed

fiscal year 1984 budget the initiation of a new program to map the surface of the planet Venus, using radar-imaging techniques. Within our overall strategy for planetary exploration, this initiative, the Venus radar mapper, estimated to cost in the $350 million range, replaces at a much lower cost the Venus orbiting imaging radar mission authorized by the Congress to begin in fiscal year 1982.

The advanced communications technology Satellite (ACTS) calls for development and flight testing of the high risk technology needed to insure continued U.S. preeminence in the field of satellite communication. The decision to propose the ACTS program is the result of extensive consultation with the communications carriers and satellite system suppliers, coupled with support from the Congress. The ACTS program will involve a novel procurement approach including a cost/risk-sharing arrangement with industry which is expected to provide significant cost savings to the Government.

Another goal of the President's space policy is to expand private sector investment and involvement in space activities. NASA has received proposals from the private sector to fund and/or operate launch vehicles. We are reviewing these proposals very carefully to determine cost and benefits, launch and tracking requirements, safety and security as well as international considerations.

In November 1982, the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy released a document entitled, "Aeronautical Research and Technology Policy." The aeronautics program included in the NASA fiscal year 1984 budget request reflects many recommendations contained in this important policy statement. The most important facet of the administration's new aeronautics policy is the recognition that a strong aeronautics industry is absolutely essential for both the national security and health of our economy. In concert with this policy, we are submitting a fiscal year 1984 budget request which continues to emphasize a strong aeronautical research and technology program including a strengthened fundamental research program which will continue to provide the technical base upon which our future aircraft designs can be based.

The centerpiece of our proposed aeronautics program in fiscal year 1984 is the new numerical aerodynamical simulation (NAS) activity which will be developed over the course of the next few years. The NAS capability will include a large computer system which will make it possible to perform most of the calculations required to design new aircraft with sufficient accuracy and reliability to significantly reduce the long and expensive process of wind tunnel and flight testing now necessary. The investment made in NAS will provide incentives for various elements of the computer industry to produce machines which will be able to take advantage of major commercial applications. Development of this kind will enhance the competitive posture of the United States in this important international market.

In the fiscal year 1984 budget before you, there is a substantial increase in funding for construction of facilities; $150 million as compared to approximately $100 million in fiscal year 1983. We also are proposing the maintenance of the same number of civil service positions in fiscal year 1984 as we have in fiscal year 1983.

In the past year, Mr. Chairman, concern has been expressed in the press and in the Congress about the appropriate relationship between NASA and those elements of the national security establishment with responsibility for space operations. I would like to take this opportunity to state categorically that this administration is strongly committed to separate space programs, one dealing with the civil sector operations and the other with those related to national security. The President's space policy is very clear on this point, stating that the U.S. space program will be comprised of two separate and distinct but strongly interacting programs, national security and civil. Close coordination, cooperation, and information exchange will be maintained among these programs to avoid unnecessary duplication. We have continued to maintain separate programs and to have separate policies governing these programs. We have also developed a number of new interactive relationships to promote efficient coordination and management while protecting the integrity of NASA programs. We have just finalized a renegotiated Shuttle pricing agreement with the Department of Defense. This new agreement will provide NASA with increased reimbursements of approximately $1 billion during the next 5 years over the amount that the agency would have received under the previous policy agreed to in 1977. This revised policy will raise the Shuttle launch cost to DOD, and for launches in fiscal year 1986 through fiscal year 1988, this results in an increase of almost 150 percent above the previously set launch price.

I would be remiss, Mr. Chairman, if I did not conclude this portion of my testimony by talking about the future. The President's space policy recognizes the importance of developing new concepts which provide a strong vision of the future, not only for our space program, but for the Nation as a whole. In his space policy, the President requires NASA to continue to explore the requirements, operational concepts, and technology associated with permanent space facilities. The Space Shuttle makes it easier to establish larger permanent facilities in space. NASA's proposed fiscal year 1984 budget includes modest funding for definition and planning efforts which will allow us to understand, in greater detail, how such permanent facilities might be developed and maintained in Earth orbit. These studies will provide a basis for considering possible future proposals to establish a permanent manned station in Earth orbit.

Mr. Chairman, I have discussed some of the important highlights. I would be happy to answer any questions.

Senator GORTON. Could I get your comment on the Washington Post story, to which I referred in my opening statement? Do we look forward to serious competition in fields in which NASA has been preeminent from the Japanese in the foreseeable future?

Mr. BEGGS. The Japanese are very active and have made a national commitment both in the aeronautics and space arenas; and, they have increased their budget in both those areas significantly over the past 4 or 5 years.

I would expect that in the commercial aspects of space, which is where they generally concentrate their activities, that we will see more of them. We are beginning to run into them on the international market from time to time, and in the commercial side. They

« PreviousContinue »