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Assessment of Programs in Solar and Space Physics 1991 (Chapter 3) Assessment of Programs in Solar and Space Physics 1991 3 Conclusions During the past decade, major scientific progress has been made throughout the solar, solar-terrestrial, and space plasma physics disciplines. The bulk of these advances has stemmed from projects and programs started and/or planned in the 1970s, prior to the NRC recommendations considered in this report. With regard to the NRC recommendations of the 1980s, progress has generally been slow at best and in some cases nonexistent. Interminable delays and major programmatic restructuring have been characteristic of agency responses to the NRC recommendations. The perception is that although initial agency responses have been positive, actions in the implementation phases have not been carried through to achieve the goals embodied in the recommendations. For example, entire spacecraft were cut from the UARS, Ulysses, and ISTP projects. The launch of Ulysses was delayed three years by problems with the Shuttle launch capability and another four years as the result of REPORT MENU the Challenger accident. The Orbiting solar Laboratory (OSL) still does not have NOTICE a new start, more than a decade after the basic program was defined (first as the MEMBERSHIP Solar Optical Telescope, later as the High Resolution Solar Observatory, and FOREWORD currently as OSL). Cost overruns have led to delays in the launches of Explorers. SUMMARY Many experiments (e.g., Spartans, active magnetospheric experiments, MAX'91 CHAPTER 1 balloon experiments, and attached payloads for Space Station Freedom) have CHAPTER 2 been selected and then not funded or canceled after significant work had been CHAPTER 3 done. These cycles of first raising then dashing the hopes of the scientific BIBLIOGRAPHY community have had a demoralizing effect. ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS APPENDIX A In view of these stretchouts, the scientific goals and most of the specific APPENDIX B recommendations for each of the subdisciplines remain valid. The highest priority APPENDIX C scientific questions given in the NRC reports of the 1980s remain at the scientific forefront. Some of the issues have become better focused because of advances in theoretical work and analysis of data resulting from programs initiated in the 1970s. The role of the NRC committees has traditionally been to develop scientific strategies and measurement goals, but to leave the development of strategic plans for the implementation of the scientific programs to the file:///C|/SSB_old_web/ssp91ch3.htm (1 of 3) [6/18/2004 2:02:42 PM]
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Assessment of Programs in Solar and Space Physics 1991 (Chapter 3) implementing agencies. An exception to this traditional division of responsibility was the Krimigis report (SSB, 1985b) which laid out an implementation plan for solar and space physics activities beginning in 1985. Parts of that plan are now obsolete. Neither the Global Change Program nor the Space Exploration Initiative were on the scene in 1985. Furthermore, in the post-Challenger environment, the community would no longer endorse a recommendation such as "Enhance current Shuttle/Spacelab programs in this discipline." As another example, the Krimigis report shows no post-ISTP magnetospheric missions except Explorers and Shuttle or Space Station experiments. NASA has now stepped back into its traditional role and has sponsored a series of workshops to develop a new mission strategy for solar and space physics and for their other science disciplines. The CSSP and CSTR intend to review that plan as part of the national program in solar, solar-terrestrial, and space plasma physics for consistency with the NRC science strategies. At this time, CSSP and CSTR do not recommend that the NRC take on the task of updating the mission strategy recommended in the Krimigis report (SSB, 1985b). Last update 12/13/00 at 12:03 am file:///C|/SSB_old_web/ssp91ch3.htm (2 of 3) [6/18/2004 2:02:42 PM]