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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony Space Studies Board Annual Report—1991 5 Congressional Testimony 5.1 Testimony on the Report of the Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program Space Studies Board member Norman F. Ness delivered the following testimony before the Science, Space, and Technology Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives on January 29, 1991. Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, thank you for inviting the Space Studies Board to testify on the recently released Report of the Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program, chaired by Mr. Norman Augustine. Louis J. Lanzerotti, Chair of the Space Studies Board, is unable to be here because of a prior commitment. I am presenting this statement of the Board on his behalf. As many of you know, Dr. Lanzerotti served as a member of the REPORT MENU Advisory Committee. NOTICE FROM THE CHAIR The Space Studies Board was established in 1958 by the National CHAPTER 1 Academy of Sciences to provide guidance to NASA and other agencies CHAPTER 2 concerned with civil space research. Over the years, the Board has prepared and CHAPTER 3 released a large number of reports and research strategies intended to promote CHAPTER 4 the success and vitality of the Nation's civil space program. The Board's CHAPTER 5 recommendations are based on focused discussions among prominent APPENDIX researchers organized by discipline areas in the Board's standing committees and task groups. These committees and task groups have addressed, over the years, a broad sweep of space science and applications disciplines, including astronomy and astrophysics, space biology and medicine, microgravity research, solar and space physics, earth studies, and planetary and lunar exploration. We have been asked today to provide our assessment of the Augustine Report and to comment on its implementation. The Report covers an immense territory of technical, programmatic, and institutional concerns; it was prepared by a committee of distinguished scientists, engineers, industry executives, and politicians, and is based on testimony by nearly 400 experts in space science, technology, and management. I will confine my remarks to a selection of topics file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (1 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony that have been previously addressed by the Space Studies Board and by related special study groups convened by the Academy in recent years. Today's remarks will be related to (1) the priority of space research in the civil space program; (2) the role of a manned space station; (3) supporting theoretical and laboratory work and university participation; and (4) launch systems. The full implications of the Augustine Committee's Report are currently being evaluated by the Board, and will be the subject of additional discussion at our next meeting at the end of February. As I present the views of the Board, I will indicate a few areas that we expect to study further. SPACE SCIENCE: PRIMARY GOAL OF THE CIVIL SPACE PROGRAM The first concern noted in the Augustine Report is the deleterious effect of a lack of consensus in the civil space program. The National Research Council shares this concern, and clearly expressed the importance of shared national space goals in recommendations prepared for then President-elect Bush in 1988 (Toward a New Era in Space). The Board supports the Augustine Committee's statement of broad goals, and especially its assignment of top priority to space science. In its report, Space Science in the 21st Century, the Board proposed that the advance of science and its applications be assigned at least equal importance in America's space program as any other goal, such as the capability of expanding man's presence into space. The 21st Century report recommends that other related activities, such as the development of space technology, should be carried out so as to maximize scientific return, and states the view that beneficial applications of space technology are most likely to flourish if science is made the principal object of the civilian space program. Giving space research top priority in the civil space program has the important ramification that its financial support must be assured. To address this concern, the Augustine Committee's Recommendation #1 provides that space science should be assured a fixed minimum percentage of NASA's total budget to ensure stable funding. This is fully consistent with the NRC's recommendation in Toward a New Era in Space that a space science program be configured with a base program of balanced investigation, with major new enterprises funded separately as special initiatives. Two major issues arising from this overall approach are the prioritization of research objectives within the base program, and whether or not the nominal 20% portion recommended by the Augustine Committee is enough to adequately support space science as civil space's number one priority. A related topic is the important one of ensuring the most efficient use of these resources, as urged in the Committee's report. The Board is studying these questions now. ROLE OF A MANNED SPACE STATION file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (2 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony I would like to turn now to a second area of vital importance to the space research community: the role of a manned space station in space research. While the Augustine Committee concluded that microgravity research could benefit from human presence in space, it also stated that only a long-term program in life sciences could fully justify the construction of a space station. The scientific utility of a space station has been a concern of the Space Studies Board since 1983. In a statement to the NASA Administrator that year, the Board questioned the scientific need for a manned station before the beginning of the next (21st) century, while acknowledging a "special relationship" between the proposed station and space biological and medical research. In its report Toward a New Era in Space, the NRC recommended a shift away from microgravity research and "space manufacturing" and toward space biology and medicine as drivers for the space station program. This is fully consistent with the Augustine Report's conclusions. In our Board's report, A Strategy for Space Biology and Medical Science for the 1980s and 1990s, we appealed specifically for a station design emphasizing life sciences research. Based on this discipline's dual requirements for continuous access and manned intervention, the Board recommended that there be a dedicated Life Sciences Laboratory on the Space Station, and that a variable force centrifuge of the largest possible dimensions be designed, built and included in the initial operating configuration of this Life Sciences Laboratory. While Space Station Freedom's design remains in a state of flux at the present time, existing proposed configurations appear to diverge from these recommendations. The Board plans to assess the results of the congressionally mandated 90-day redesign once the results of this activity are available. The usability of the redesigned station for microgravity research between Orbiter visits during the station's man-tended phase is another topic we will be discussing. RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS AND THE UNIVERSITIES Mr. Chairman, the third area I wish to discuss today is the very important one of the status of research and analysis (R&A) funding and the role of the universities in our civil space effort. The Augustine Committee expressed the view that R&A programs, along with several other supporting programs, should be assigned the same importance as flight hardware programs themselves. On the same page, the Augustine Report urges that universities and other non-NASA Center organizations be tapped increasingly as "primes" for space research. The Board concurs strongly in these recommendations. The Board's 21st Century study focused on major space undertakings, but asserts that, if these undertakings are to succeed, they must be built on a solid foundation of supporting research and technology, and on small-scale exploratory projects such as the Explorer and suborbital (rocket- and balloon-borne) programs. Supporting research must include stable funding for vigorous theoretical and laboratory studies, which provide the framework for understanding data obtained from scientific missions. The Board's research strategy for exploration of the outer planets, for example, contends that proper support of laboratory and file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (3 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony theoretical studies is an integral part of any program of planetary exploration. This support must be sufficiently stable to maintain these activities at a professional level and to encourage participation of young investigators. LAUNCH SYSTEMS Mr. Chairman, my final topic for today is launch systems. The Augustine Committee recommends deferral of a fifth Orbiter, and supports an immediate start of development of an "unmanned, but man-rateable," heavy lift launch vehicle. While the NRC's recently published report, Human Exploration of Space: A Review of NASA's 90-Day Study and Alternatives, clearly supports the development of a modern launch system with heavy lift capability, the Space Studies Board has tended to be more concerned with assured access to space on vehicles appropriate to each research mission. If space research is to have the top priority within the future civil space program, it must influence the development of infrastructure, particularly space transportation. The Board believes that launch systems, delivery mechanisms, space platforms, and other such developments should never be looked upon as ends in themselves. Rather they should be treated as tools to support well-defined objectives. Where space research is concerned, the key desiderata for advanced launch systems are reliability (because payloads are costly to lose), a capacity for rapid processing (to ensure the timeliness of launches), low cost (allowing access to space for a wider community of users), and diversity and redundancy (so that failure of one element of the launch infrastructure does not shut down the nation's entire launch capability). These space science community concerns should be fully considered in launch system development planning. In closing my statement, I would like to emphasize that omission from these remarks of the Mission to Planet Earth and the Mission from Planet Earth should not suggest that the Board attaches low importance to them. On the contrary, we are now completing two reports in the earth studies area, one an assessment of the state of the discipline, and the other an assessment of the Earth Observing System program. Our Committee on Human Exploration is initiating a broad study of the role of science investigations in a future manned exploration program. The Board looks forward to the opportunity to share the results of these important activities with you at a future date. Thank you. I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have. 5.2 Testimony on the Space Station Freedom Program Space Studies Board Chair Louis J. Lanzerotti delivered the following file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (4 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony testimony before the Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space of the U.S. Senate, on April 16, 1991. Thank you for inviting me to testify on behalf of the Space Studies Board regarding Space Station Freedom. As you know, the Board recently sent a letter and an accompanying statement to Admiral Truly regarding this space endeavor.1 (See attached.) Since that time, a series of accounts have appeared in the press which have interpreted our statement with varying degrees of accuracy as to both the Board's intent in issuing the statement as well as to its contents. Since the Board's statement was released, we have met with a number of congressional and administration officials as well as with NASA's Administrator Admiral Truly and other senior NASA personnel regarding the issues and concerns raised in our statement. I am happy to report that these discussions have been very constructive and valuable for all individuals involved. The Board and NASA have agreed to continue this dialogue in a positive and open fashion in order to better define the objectives of a space station as a national objective, including its role in Mission from Planet Earth (MFPE). The beginning of this dialogue occurred at a meeting on April 8, when several members of the Board and of the Committee on Space Biology and Medicine met with Bill Lenoir, Associate Administrator for Space Flight, Dick Kohrs, Director of Space Station Freedom, Len Fisk, Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications, Bob Rhome, Director of Microgravity Sciences and Applications, and Arnauld Nicogossian, Director of Life Sciences. We hope this was just the first of an ongoing exchange between NASA and the Board on issues associated with the national goals of SSF. The first purpose of the meeting was to discuss in a broader forum issues raised in the Board's March statement and to apprise the Board and Committee members of relevant decisions and changes that have occurred since early March related to the proposed station. The most significant of these was a commitment in the week preceding our discussion on April 8, to providing an on-board 2.5-meter centrifuge in the first assembly flight following Permanently Manned Capability (PMC)-now scheduled for FY 2000. The purpose of the centrifuge is to support research associated with the national goal of MFPE as outlined in the Attachment 1 of the Board statement and will be discussed below. With the exception of the centrifuge commitment, both sides discerned some continuing disagreement as to the best way to achieve research return from the Station essential to supporting a long-term human space exploration as well as some uncertainties about the resources that will be available. These concerns, described in the Board's March statement, will be discussed in the following sections on life sciences and microgravity research. I note that the time available to us on April 8 was insufficient for us to clarify all of the space biology issues; we had no time to address any matters related to "microgravity" research. file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (5 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony BACKGROUND OF SPACE STUDIES BOARD POSITION ON A SPACE STATION Before I proceed with a summary of the Board's present views on requirements and issues associated with a space station program related to MFPE, I would like to take this opportunity to state clearly for the record that the Space Studies Board is not now, and has never in the past, been opposed to the concept of a space station or the national political goal of long-duration human spaceflight. There have been frequent references to a 1983 position of the Board on the scientific value of a space station.2 That statement, written in response to a request from NASA, assessed the possible utility of a space station to accomplishment of the major scientific objectives of all of the disciplines of space research (except microgravity3) and concluded that most of these goals could be met using other means, with the exception of those activities lying within the realm of space biology and human adaptability and survival in spaceflight. Concerning this latter research area, the Board unequivocally stated that, A commitment by the nation to long duration human space flight, whether in Earth orbit or beyond, calls for the establishment of a facility for space biological and medical research on the effects on individuals of very long exposure to the "low g" environment. In this sense, the relationship of the life sciences to a space station is a special one. In 1987, the Board's Committee on Space Biology and Medicine completed and published a major research advisory strategy in which the availability of a space station was described as pivotal.4 This strategy was developed, written and reviewed within the NRC in the same manner as all of the Board's space research strategies, which have formed the basis for the vigorous national U.S. programs in such fields as space astronomy and planetary exploration. Also in 1987, L. Dennis Smith, Chairman of the Board's Committee on Space Biology and Medicine, testified before the Senate HUD Appropriations Committee on the 1987 research strategy and issues associated with a space station. It is not an understatement for me to say that the strategy for space biology and medical research that we have recommended presumes the availability of a space station. While there are any number of experiments that can and should be conducted on the ground, their results only become meaningful when compared with those obtained in space.5 Last year, in testimony before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space, the Board discussed space station utilization issues associated with microgravity and life sciences research. With respect to implementing the recommendations made in the space biology and medicine file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (6 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony research strategy, the Board said, Two pivotal aspects of this strategy are recommendations that there be a dedicated Life Sciences Laboratory on the space station and that space biology and medicine be conducted as focused missions on the station. . . . In making these recommendations, the Committee and the Board concluded that they are critical to the successful implementation of the rationale on which the research strategy is based.6 I cite these examples of the Board's comments on a space station to illustrate that, contrary to some current accounts, the Board has never taken a position "against" a space station either in the past or in its recent statement. To the contrary, in the March statement, the Board declared, "The Space Studies Board strongly endorses the position that a space-based laboratory is required to study the physiological consequences of long-term spaceflight." SPACE STUDIES BOARD MARCH 1991 POSITION ON SPACE STATION FREEDOM UTILIZATION The following is a summary of the major issues and conclusions from the Board's March 1991 statement and a general description of the nature of life sciences and microgravity research. The Board's statement is restricted to an assessment of the Station's role in fulfilling the national goals for long-duration human spaceflight. The Board has also commented on the proposed use of the station for microgravity research. In these two cases, the conclusion that was reached is that, In the judgment of the Board, Space Station Freedom, at the present stage of redesign, does not meet the basic research requirements of the two principal scientific disciplines for which it is intended: (1) life sciences research necessary to support the national objective of long-term human exploration of space and (2) microgravity research and applications. As I continue to note, the Space Studies Board recognizes that there are national imperatives for building a space station other than purely scientific research-a conclusion that was articulated by Vice President Quayle in his letter authorizing NASA to go forward with the proposed "new concept design for Space Station Freedom, . . . to the Congress."7 In his letter to Admiral Truly, the Vice President noted, "It is vital, therefore, that the Space Station be considered an essential part of the larger Mission from Planet Earth. That mission includes the development of new infrastructures and the pursuit of new initiatives aimed at gaining scientific knowledge and establishing a permanent presence in space. This is the next vital step in the historic space mission America began over thirty years ago." With this articulated as a national goal, the Board emphasizes that file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (7 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony the conducting of life sciences research on a space station is not a purely scientific pursuit, but rather a, if not the, critical factor in determining the feasibility of the Vice President's vision of long-duration human space exploration. This is also the conclusion arrived at by the Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program.8 Space Biology and Medicine Research The Augustine Committee concluded that the primary objective of a space station should be life sciences research in order to ascertain the feasibility of long- duration human spaceflight. The Board endorses this position. A space-based laboratory is required to study the physiological consequences of long-term space flight. This research is critical to enabling the nation's Space Exploration Initiative. Nature of the Research Space biology and medicine constitute only a small segment of the broad reach of biomedical and biological research conducted in the U.S. today. In contrast to other research fields such as astronomy, space physics, or earth remote sensing, the broader life sciences research community does not depend on space as a laboratory or working environment. While there are scientifically interesting life sciences experiments of a basic research nature in, for example, developmental biology and plant science, that could be conducted in a low- gravity environment, these experiments alone could not justify building a space station. The overwhelming research requirement for a space station is based on the need to perform the life sciences research necessary to support this country's goal of long-duration human space flight. Space biology and medicine investigate how individual organisms and small groups of organisms respond to the microgravity of space and how they adapt. It has been clear for some time that when humans go into space, many changes occur in their physiology. Several studies have also indicated that basic biological processes are altered in microgravity. It is not likely that the two processes are separable. Human physiology is predicated on the homeostatic functioning of organs that are composed of cells. All of these complex functioning systems have evolved in the presence of gravity, and when exposed to microgravity, they are forced to function in a new and novel environment. To understand a biological organism's adaptation to microgravity, scientists are forced to evaluate not only the clinical manifestations of an organismal response to the new environment, but also the underlying cellular and organ response. This requires an integrated approach that includes both basic research as well as the more operational aspects of clinical research. One strategy to understanding adaptation to microgravity involves file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (8 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony empirical research in which humans or appropriate animal models are subjected to the space environment for prolonged periods and are continuously monitored for changes. This approach might lead to the development of countermeasures that would provide a quick "fix" for problems encountered, but it is not likely to elucidate the basic mechanism(s) behind the biological response to microgravity. A more appropriate research strategy is to study basic mechanisms, and based on the knowledge acquired, to design appropriate countermeasures. The only way to execute such a research strategy is in space, with the ability to control the most critical variable-gravity. As described in the Committee on Space Biology and Medicine 1987 strategy report and a more recent assessment by the CSBM of the progress made in implementing advisory recommendations concerning life sciences research, moving forward with the Space Exploration Initiative will require not only the understanding and support of all of NASA, but the participation of other federal agencies as well.9 Because of its central mission, which is, in turn, supported by a vast network of qualified specialists, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers tremendous potential to contribute to space life sciences. The Board and the Committee on Space Biology and Medicine strongly encourages enhanced collaborative activities between NASA and the NIH in order to pursue the research required to establish the feasibility of long-duration human spaceflight. Space Biology and Medicine Research Requirements In addition to basic and operationally oriented experimentation in flight, there is also a need for coordinated ground-based investigations. In particular, issues in human behavior that may be critical for long-duration missions need to be explored in analog environments. The Board's March 1991 statement provided a summary of the fundamental requirements for conducting the necessary space biology and medicine research on a space station. The following reiterates and elaborates on those requirements. These requirements are described in detail in A Strategy for Space Biology and Medical Science for the 1980's and 1990's (NAP, Washington, D.C., 1987), hereafter referred to as the 1987 strategy report. Dedicated Life Sciences Laboratory The empirical nature of space biology and medicine research requires continuous access to space as well as the opportunity for manned intervention. Based on these key requirements, the strategy report recommended the following. Based on the dual requirements of continuous access and manned intervention, the committee recommends that there be a dedicated Life Sciences Laboratory (LSL) on the Space Station...Scientists must work closely with designers and file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (9 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony engineers at every stage in the development of the LSL and the equipment that is to be used within it. The laboratory must have the flexibility to be rapidly converted to accommodate the needs of different types of combinations of experiments. The existence of a dedicated LSL serving many different functions, requires that provision be made to insert, remove, or reconfigure equipment, racks, and dividing walls. (Page 186) We note that an internal NASA Committee advising on research on a space station (Task Force on the Scientific Uses of a Space Station, 1985 and 1986) also stressed the need for a dedicated life sciences laboratory. In the Board's March 1991 statement, a point is made concerning scientific return versus investment. Maximizing research return for the investment is the underlying rationale behind the recommendation for a dedicated Life Sciences Laboratory. Neither the Board nor the Committee on Space Biology and Medicine suggests that nothing of research value could be done on the proposed station, but rather that the limited amount of data that could be obtained that would improve our understanding of the human response to a low-gravity environment would be worth neither the time nor the money expended. We particularly note that many of the fundamental problems in life sciences research will require long periods of time for their pursuit and solution. The best and most efficient way to conduct this type of life sciences research is to maximize flexibility in a dedicated laboratory. The need for a dedicated Life Sciences Laboratory was discussed at some length at the April 8, 1991, meeting between NASA and members of the Board and the Committee on Space Biology and Medicine. At this point in time, it appears that there continues to be some disagreement between the Board and the agency as to whether this is a desired accommodation or an essential research requirement. Need for Focused Missions Integrally linked to the recommendation for a dedicated Life Sciences Laboratory is the Committee on Space Biology and Medicine's recommendation for focused missions. Again, the purpose of this research recommendation is to increase efficiency and to maximize research return. The field of space biology and medicine is far from a mature discipline. In the context of the Space Exploration Initiative, it will be necessary to make significant progress in understanding the effects of microgravity on living organisms. To this end, the CSBM's 1987 strategy recommended that . . . research time on the Space Station be divided into 3-6 month blocks, with each block largely devoted to a single research area. Missions in each subdiscipline should occur at least three times file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (10 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony each decade. (Page 187) The advantages to this approach include training of qualified specialists to conduct the experiments and simplification of mission planning and implementation because of common equipment and research subjects. The 1987 research strategy explained why this approach is desirable. The proposed mode of research resembles that which is carried out in the other space sciences. Each mission is devoted to a single, broadly conceived goal. Sufficient flight time is given to collect reliable results, to replicate experiments when necessary, and to change protocols as data are gathered and interpreted. If such a strategy is adopted, space biology and medicine can become a mature science within one to two decades. (Page 188) Flexibility in Spaceflight Experiments Providing for the flexibility needed to conduct life sciences research in terms of time, laboratory equipment, and research personnel makes it undesirable to plan for sharing a laboratory with other disciplines. The 1987 strategy report describes ways in which experimental flexibility can be enhanced: The first requirement is rapid feedback of results during the mission. This, in turn, implies an increase in on-board analytical capabilities and the ability to communicate the results in an understandable manner to both the crew doing the experiment and their ground-based colleagues. Second, it is important that the two groups be able to exchange data, information, and ideas. Third, there has to be flexibility in the availability of equipment and experimental organisms, as well as in the scheduling of experiments. (Page 193) General Facilities It is important to emphasize that much, if not all, of the equipment and support facilities such as refrigerators, freezers, growth chambers, incubators, and a centrifuge required for life sciences research must remain in operation at all times. Therefore, there must be sufficient power to support both this equipment and additional specialized apparatus associated with the conduct of specific experiments. There was some discussion concerning facilities and equipment at the April 8 meeting. Following these discussions, the Board continues to remain somewhat concerned and uncertain as to exactly what equipment and resources will be available for research. While we have been assured that there will be "sufficient power" for users, we have not been given specific information as to file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (11 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony Academy of Sciences to provide guidance to NASA and other agencies concerned with civil space research. Over the years, the Board has prepared and released numerous reports and research strategies intended to promote the success and vitality of the U.S. civil space program. Board recommendations are based on focused discussions among the prominent researchers who constitute its standing committees and task groups. These committees and task groups have addressed, over the years, a broad sweep of space science and applications disciplines, including astronomy and astrophysics, space biology and medicine, microgravity research, solar and space physics, earth studies, and planetary and lunar exploration. Mr. Chairman, I would like to divide my remarks today into three general parts: the first is an assessment of the overall funding proposal for NASA relative to the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program15 (the "Augustine Committee"); the second includes several consensus views on narrower topics from our February Board meeting; and the third concerns the restructured space station. GENERAL ASSESSMENT OF THE PROPOSED NASA FY92 BUDGET Before remarking on NASA's FY92 budget proposal, I would like to remind those present that I was a member of the Augustine Committee. Having said this, I would also like to state that the Space Studies Board concurs broadly with many of that committee's recommendations. The Augustine Committee recommended a near-term real dollar increase of 10% per year for NASA, a figure closely approximated by the currently proposed budget increase of 14%, once inflation is taken into account. Beyond endorsing the proposed aggregate budget increase, the Board is solidly supportive of the primary importance assigned by the Augustine Committee's report to the role of space science as the "fulcrum" of our civil space program. Although there has been some discussion within the Board as to whether the present fraction of the total budget adequately reflects the primacy of this role, the Board strongly endorses the principle of the statement. The recommendation that the Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE) and the Mission from Planet Earth (MFPE) be undertaken in that priority order was also sympathetically received by the Board. I would like to call attention, however, to an important related suggestion made in the Augustine Committee's report: The large size, broad scope and national importance of the U.S. Global Change Research Program also suggest that the EOS funding be provided as a line item, separate from other science programs.16 The Board is concerned that if MTPE programs are not isolated from core file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (26 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony elements of the Office of Space Science and Applications (OSSA) program, the long duration and vast scope of the EOS and precursor missions, taken together, could seriously impact the resources available to these core research programs. HUBBLE REPAIR, SPACE ROBOTICS TECHNOLOGY, AND RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS FUNDING Having expressed the Board's overall satisfaction with the proposed growth in NASA funding, I would like to turn now to several concerns that emerged during the Board's discussions at our meeting in February. Hubble Repair First, decisions will soon be made on the technical approach for correcting the optical deficiencies of the Hubble Space Telescope. The Board believes that evaluation of the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR) repair option, and any decision on its implementation, should consider not only its cost, schedule, and engineering feasibility, but also trade-offs with, and impacts on, second-generation Hubble instruments. The costs of Hubble repairs and upgrades subsequently undertaken should be closely monitored and controlled to minimize effects on other OSSA programs. Space Robotics Technology Second, advances in robotics capability are essential to NASA's space science and applications programs. The value of robotics to the unmanned exploration program has significant demonstrated benefits to scientific research, irrespective of the status or existence of a human exploration program. The Board is concerned about the deletion of robotic exploration technology funding for planetary rover, sample acquisition, and autonomous rendezvous, docking, and landing. The Board recommends that support for these efforts be restored, and, if possible, augmented. Research and Analysis Third, the Board reaffirms its position that vigorous research and analysis (R&A) and suborbital research programs are essential to the overall vitality of the national space research agenda.17 The Augustine Committee also emphasized the importance of these programs.18 NASA should take steps to ensure healthy file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (27 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony growth in these budgets and to protect them from encroachment by troubled major flight projects. In particular, the Board strongly supports the proposed targeted increases in life sciences and planetary exploration R&A. THE RESTRUCTURED SPACE STATION As you know, the Board recently released a statement expressing serious reservations about the science capabilities of the restructured space station design.19 This statement has unfortunately been misinterpreted in some quarters. I would like to take this opportunity to state clearly, for the record, that the Space Studies Board is not now, and has never been in the past, opposed to the concept of a space station or to a national goal of long-duration human spaceflight. A 1983 position of the Board on the scientific value of a space station, written in response to a request from NASA, assessed the possible utility of a space station for accomplishment of the major scientific objectives of all space research disciplines (except microgravity research). The Board concluded that most of these goals could be met using other means, with the exception of space biology and research on human adaptation and survival in long-duration spaceflight. The Board published a research strategy for space biology and medicine in 198720 in which the requirement for a space station for this discipline was described as pivotal. The Board has also testified before Congress on science requirements for a space station on several occasions. In May 1990, the Board expressed " . . . continuing concern about the utility of the space station as now planned, for microgravity, life sciences, and for the research necessary [to support] long duration spaceflight."21 I cite these examples of the Board's comments on a space station to illustrate that, contrary to some current accounts, the Board has never taken a position "against" a space station either in the past or in its March 1991 statement. On the contrary, in the March statement, the Board declared, "The Space Studies Board strongly endorses the position that a space-based laboratory is required to study the physiological consequences of long-term space flight." In the context of Mission from Planet Earth as a national goal, the Board emphasizes that the driving force for space station life sciences research is not based on abstract scientific merit, but rather on its role as a, if not the, critical factor in determining the feasibility of the Administration's vision of human space exploration. The primary research requirement for a space station is therefore based on the need to perform the life sciences research necessary to support a national goal of long-duration human spaceflight. This was also the conclusion of the Augustine Committee. While there may be unrelated, but scientifically interesting, life sciences experiments that could be conducted in a low-gravity environment, these experiments alone could not justify building a space station. There are, however, several absolutely critical requirements for an effective and efficient program of the necessary space biology and medicine research. The Board notes particularly that investigation and solution of many of the file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (28 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony fundamental problems in space life sciences will require long periods of time. The critical research requirements are described in detail in the Board's 1987 research strategy.22 Briefly, they include the following: 1. A Dedicated Life Sciences Laboratory-because of the need for continuous access and human intervention; 2. Focused Missions-which would allow sufficient flight time to collect reliable results, to replicate experiments when necessary, and to change protocols as data are gathered and interpreted; 3. Flexibility-in terms of equipment, experimental organisms, and scheduling of experiments; 4. Facilities-(a) a variable force centrifuge; (b) a research animal holding facility and a plant growth chamber, including supporting analytical equipment for handling and analysis of cell and tissue specimens, and a system for preservation and storage of blood, urine, and stool samples; and (c) computational facilities; 5. Research Personnel-well-trained, skilled scientists in appropriate disciplines and in sufficient numbers to produce reliable results; 6. Research Animals-as subjects for experiments to study adaptation to microgravity and to develop countermeasures for microgravity's effects. Since the release of the Board's March statement, NASA has informed us that it is now committed to providing a 2.5-meter centrifuge on the first assembly flight following permanently manned capability (PMC). This was a welcome announcement because of the centrifuge's absolutely critical role in the conduct of meaningful research. It is important to note for the record, however, that under this plan, research critical to planning for Mission from Planet Earth cannot be started until after 2000, when the centrifuge becomes available. In recent testimony before the Senate, NASA's Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications, Dr. Lennard Fisk, stated that, even in an optimistic scenario, fully validated life science results bearing on long-duration human spaceflight would not become available until 2007. Further, development of the centrifuge and supporting facilities will require a significant infusion of new funds that are not identified in the existing budget agreement for the station. It is this inconsistency between the accepted principal mission of the space station program and the existing planning and funding approach that I would like to highlight for this subcommittee. I would like to note also that, aside from concerns about the centrifuge, other concerns raised by the Board in its March statement still remain- insufficiently defined power requirements and availability, lack of adequate crew to conduct experiments and serve as subjects, and the absence of either a dedicated laboratory or plans for focused missions. NASA and the Board have file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (29 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony agreed to continue to meet to discuss these matters further. SUMMARY In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, the Space Studies Board has found much to like in NASA's FY92 budget proposal. Some valuable progress is evident in important areas, such as the growth in R&A budgets for life sciences and planetary exploration. There are some areas of concern, however, particularly in technology support for unmanned missions and in a perceived serious mismatch between space station development plans and objectives. The members of the Space Studies Board and of its discipline committees are committed to working with NASA and the national space policy community to help bring about the most productive, cost-effective, and exciting space program the taxpayers' investment can deliver. 15Report of the Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program, Superintendent of Documents (GPO), December 1990. 16Reference 15, p. 27. 17Space Science in the 21st Century-Overview (NAP), 1988, p. 82. 18Reference 15, p. 26. 19SpaceStudies Board Position on Proposed Redesign of Space Station Freedom, March 1991. 20AStrategy for Space Biology and Medical Science for the 1980s and 1990s (NAP), 1987. 21Testimonyto the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space, May 1990. 22Reference 20. 5.5 Testimony on the NASA Fiscal Year 1992 Budget Proposal (Senate) Space Studies Board Chair Louis J. Lanzerotti delivered the following file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (30 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony testimony before the Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies of the Committee on Appropriations of the U.S. Senate on May 17, 1991. Thank you for inviting the Space Studies Board to testify on NASA's FY92 budget proposal. The Board was briefed by NASA officials on the budget during a Board meeting in late February; our testimony today is based on ensuing Board discussion on these and other matters related to the U.S. civil space program. The Space Studies Board was established in 1958 by the National Academy of Sciences to provide guidance to NASA and other agencies concerned with civil space research. Over the years, the Board has prepared and released numerous reports and research strategies intended to promote the success and vitality of the U.S. civil space program. Board recommendations are based on focused discussions among the prominent researchers who constitute its standing committees and task groups. These committees and task groups have addressed, over the years, a broad sweep of space science and applications disciplines, including astronomy and astrophysics, space biology and medicine, microgravity research, solar and space physics, earth studies, and planetary and lunar exploration. I would like to divide my remarks today into three general parts: the first is an assessment of the overall funding proposal for NASA relative to the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program23 (the "Augustine Committee"); the second includes several consensus views on narrower topics from our February Board meeting; and the third concerns the restructured space station. GENERAL ASSESSMENT OF THE PROPOSED NASA FY92 BUDGET Before remarking on NASA's FY92 budget proposal, I would like to remind those present that I was a member of the Augustine Committee. Having said this, I would also like to state that the Space Studies Board concurs broadly with many of that committee's recommendations. The Augustine Committee recommended a near-term real dollar increase of 10% per year for NASA, a figure closely approximated by the currently proposed budget increase of 14%, once inflation is taken into account. Beyond endorsing the proposed aggregate budget increase, the Board is solidly supportive of the primary importance assigned by the Augustine Committee's report to the role of space science as the "fulcrum" of our civil space program. Although there has been some discussion within the Board as to whether the present fraction of the total budget adequately reflects the primacy of this role, the Board strongly endorses the principle of the statement. The recommendation that the Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE) and the Mission from Planet Earth (MFPE) be undertaken in that priority order was also file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (31 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony sympathetically received by the Board. I would like to call attention, however, to an important related suggestion made in the Augustine Committee's report: The large size, broad scope and national importance of the U.S. Global Change Research Program also suggest that the EOS funding be provided as a line item, separate from other science programs.24 The Board is concerned that if MTPE programs are not isolated from core elements of the Office of Space Science and Applications (OSSA) program, the long duration and vast scope of the EOS and precursor missions, taken together, could seriously impact the resources available to these core research programs. HUBBLE REPAIR, SPACE ROBOTICS TECHNOLOGY, AND RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS FUNDING Having expressed the Board's overall satisfaction with the proposed growth in NASA funding, I would like to turn now to several concerns that emerged during the Board's discussions at our meeting in February. Hubble Repair First, decisions will soon be made on the technical approach for correcting the optical deficiencies of the Hubble Space Telescope. The Board believes that evaluation of the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR) repair option, and any decision on its implementation, should consider not only its cost, schedule, and engineering feasibility, but also trade-offs with, and impacts on, second-generation Hubble instruments. The costs of Hubble repairs and upgrades subsequently undertaken should be closely monitored and controlled to minimize effects on other OSSA programs. Space Robotics Technology Second, advances in robotics capability are essential to NASA's space science and applications programs. The value of robotics to the unmanned exploration program has significant demonstrated benefits to scientific research, irrespective of the status or existence of a human exploration program. The Board is concerned about the deletion of robotic exploration technology funding for planetary rover, sample acquisition, and autonomous rendezvous, docking, and landing. The Board recommends that support for these efforts be restored, and, if possible, augmented. file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (32 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony Research and Analysis Third, the Board reaffirms its position that vigorous research and analysis (R&A) and suborbital research programs are essential to the overall vitality of the national space research agenda.25 The Augustine Committee also emphasized the importance of these programs.26 NASA should take steps to ensure healthy growth in these budgets and to protect them from encroachment by troubled major flight projects. In particular, the Board strongly supports the proposed targeted increases in life sciences and planetary exploration R&A. THE RESTRUCTURED SPACE STATION As you know, the Board recently released a statement expressing serious reservations about the science capabilities of the restructured space station design.27 This statement has unfortunately been misinterpreted in some quarters. I would like to take this opportunity to state clearly, for the record, that the Space Studies Board is not now, and has never been in the past, opposed to the concept of a space station or to a national goal of long-duration human spaceflight. A 1983 position of the Board on the scientific value of a space station, written in response to a request from NASA, assessed the possible utility of a space station for accomplishment of the major scientific objectives of all space research disciplines (except microgravity research). The Board concluded that most of these goals could be met using other means, with the exception of space biology and research on human adaptation and survival in long-duration spaceflight. The Board published a research strategy for space biology and medicine in 198728 in which the requirement for a space station for this discipline was described as pivotal. The Board has also testified before Congress on science requirements for a space station on several occasions. In May 1990, the Board expressed " . . . continuing concern about the utility of the space station as now planned, for microgravity, life sciences, and for the research necessary [to support] long duration spaceflight."29 I cite these examples of the Board's comments on a space station to illustrate that, contrary to some current accounts, the Board has never taken a position "against" a space station either in the past or in its March 1991 statement. On the contrary, in the March statement, the Board declared, "The Space Studies Board strongly endorses the position that a space-based laboratory is required to study the physiological consequences of long-term space flight." In the context of Mission from Planet Earth as a national goal, the Board emphasizes that the driving force for space station life sciences research is not based on abstract scientific merit, but rather on its role as a, if not the, critical factor in determining the feasibility of the Administration's vision of human space file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (33 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony exploration. The primary research requirement for a space station is therefore based on the need to perform the life sciences research necessary to support a national goal of long-duration human spaceflight. This was also the conclusion of the Augustine Committee. While there may be unrelated, but scientifically interesting, life sciences experiments that could be conducted in a low-gravity environment, these experiments alone could not justify building a space station. There are, however, several absolutely critical requirements for an effective and efficient program of the necessary space biology and medicine research. The Board notes particularly that investigation and solution of many of the fundamental problems in space life sciences will require long periods of time. The critical research requirements are described in detail in the Board's 1987 research strategy.30 Briefly, they include the following: 1. A Dedicated Life Sciences Laboratory-because of the need for continuous access and human intervention; 2. Focused Missions-which would allow sufficient flight time to collect reliable results, to replicate experiments when necessary, and to change protocols as data are gathered and interpreted; 3. Flexibility-in terms of equipment, experimental organisms, and scheduling of experiments; 4. Facilities-(a) a variable force centrifuge; (b) a research animal holding facility and a plant growth chamber, including supporting analytical equipment for handling and analysis of cell and tissue specimens, and a system for preservation and storage of blood, urine, and stool samples; and (c) computational facilities; 5. Research Personnel-well-trained, skilled scientists in appropriate disciplines and in sufficient numbers to produce reliable results; 6. Research Animals-as subjects for experiments to study adaptation to microgravity and to develop countermeasures for microgravity's effects. Since the release of the Board's March statement, NASA has informed us that it is now committed to providing a 2.5-meter centrifuge on the first assembly flight following permanently manned capability (PMC). This was a welcome announcement because of the centrifuge's absolutely critical role in the conduct of meaningful research. It is important to note for the record, however, that under this plan, research critical to planning for Mission from Planet Earth cannot be started until after 2000, when the centrifuge becomes available. In recent testimony before the Senate, NASA's Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications, Dr. Lennard Fisk, stated that, even in an optimistic scenario, fully validated life science results bearing on long-duration human spaceflight would not become available until 2007. Further, development of the centrifuge and supporting facilities will require a significant infusion of new funds that are not identified in the existing budget agreement for the station. It is this inconsistency file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (34 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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Annual Report 1991: Congressional Testimony between the accepted principal mission of the space station program and the existing planning and funding approach that I would like to highlight for this subcommittee. I would like to note also that, aside from concerns about the centrifuge, other concerns raised by the Board in its March statement still remain- insufficiently defined power requirements and availability, lack of adequate crew to conduct experiments and serve as subjects, and the absence of either a dedicated laboratory or plans for focused missions. NASA and the Board have agreed to continue to meet to discuss these matters further. SUMMARY In conclusion, the Space Studies Board has found much to like in NASA's FY92 budget proposal. Some valuable progress is evident in important areas, such as the growth in R&A budgets for life sciences and planetary exploration. There are some areas of concern, however, particularly in technology support for unmanned missions and in a perceived serious mismatch between space station development plans and objectives. The members of the Space Studies Board and of its discipline committees are committed to working with NASA and the national space policy community to help bring about the most productive, cost- effective, and exciting space program the taxpayers' investment can deliver. 23Report of the Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program, Superintendent of Documents (GPO), December 1990. 24Reference 23, p. 27. 25Space Science in the 21st Century-Overview (NAP), 1988, p. 82. 26Reference 23, p. 26. 27SpaceStudies Board Position on Proposed Redesign of Space Station Freedom, March 1991. 28AStrategy for Space Biology and Medical Science for the 1980s and 1990s (NAP), 1987. 29Testimonyto the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space, May 1990. 30Reference 29. file:///C|/SSB_old_web/an91ch5.htm (35 of 36) [6/18/2004 10:27:16 AM]

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