DANIEL GOLDIN: My gut reaction is no. But I really do not know for sure. Aerospatiale and Airiane want to wipe out the U.S. launch market. We should call it what it is. What do we want? We want to win that marketshare back.
We have to talk straight. There is nothing wrong with competition. But we could certainly work together on the space station. Maybe we could choose to compete on launch vehicles. But we cannot be squeamish about competition.
Competition is wonderful. It builds moral integrity and strength. And it is okay for us to want to beat the Europeans with a new revolutionary launch vehicle instead of having a 5 percent improvement. But I am not sure that Aerospatiale should be involved.
PARTICIPANT: Within the environment of advocacy, how do you make successful decisions about which R&D is the most productive for the long term, and how is NASA participating in that process?
DANIEL GOLDIN: We have to be very careful here. If you are talking about scientifically productive, NASA is qualified to do it. If you are talking about economically productive, NASA has to be told what to do.
We will do fundamental things. We will do ultraviolet scanning of the heavens to understand the matter between the stars and Earth. When we develop a process defect and come up with a fullerine, we will work hard to see how to make fullerines.
But under no condition is NASA going to develop products and get them to industry so that we can get more money from the government. Basic research is essential. I contend that we do not have enough peer review inside NASA. Many of the NASA scientists do not have to compete. They do not feel the heat of competition; this is not good.
At NASA we are starting to transition NASA science into an institute where we have a partnership with industry and academia, and get them on the board of trustees of this particular outfit.
At NASA we are making unilateral decisions about how to balance our budgets between human space flight and robotic space flight and aeronautics technology. It would be nice to get some objective holistic input.
It cannot be done overnight. The problem we have in America is that everyone wants the quick fix. And if you get the quick fix, it is a disaster. Therefore, we have designed our budget to ensure some stability.