1

Introduction

BACKGROUND

The United States' efforts in space began as a natural progression from national programs in aeronautics. In the 1950s, significant funding impetus for the space program resulted as an outgrowth of the Cold War, and continued national support was maintained as the space program became a visual symbol of U.S. technical competence. With the termination of the Cold War, the largest space development agencies, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), have been called upon to demonstrate the relevance and effectiveness of their space programs. The Cold War's end coincided with a period of unprecedented federal budget deficits. In a time of severely constrained budgets, the space program faces challenges of accomplishing significant scientific and technical goals while fulfilling international commitments, maintaining national security objectives, and maintaining a competitive commercial posture.

Recognizing the importance of national test and operational facilities in maintaining a strong aerospace sector, as well as the potential economic benefit from possible closings and consolidations, Daniel S. Goldin, Administrator of NASA, initiated the National Facilities Study in 1992. He contacted top officials in the DoD, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Commerce, and the National Science Foundation, inviting them to participate in the development of a comprehensive and integrated long-term plan for future aerospace facilities. The leadership of these government agencies nominated individuals to serve on an oversight group and to provide support to an interagency task team. The task team, organized into four task groups, was charged with developing a coordinated national plan for world-class aeronautical and space facilities that meet current and projected needs for commercial and government research and development (R&D) and space operations. 3

NASA and DoD subsequently requested that the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) of the National Research Council review and critique the requirements and facility approaches presented in the NFS. The board was asked to assess the extent to which the interagency task team considered alternative facility approaches and to recommend any further actions or studies that should be pursued by the interagency group. To address the space portions of this request, the National Research Council Committee on Space Facilities was formed. (The committee 's Statement of Task appears as Appendix A.)

This report responds to Phase 1 of the Statement of Task. It conveys the committee's findings, conclusions, and recommendations. 4

The committee has focused only on the relevant volumes of the NFS. These include Volume 1: Facilities Inventory, Volume 3: Mission and Requirements Model, Volume 4:

3  

See, “Terms of Reference, National Facility Plan Development”, National Facilities Study Summary Report, p. 24.

4

Phase 2 of the committee's Statement of Task may or may not be undertaken depending on the needs of the sponsor and any further work that may be done by the interagency task team.



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SPACE FACILITIES: MEETING FUTURE NEEDS FOR RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, AND OPERATIONS 1 Introduction BACKGROUND The United States' efforts in space began as a natural progression from national programs in aeronautics. In the 1950s, significant funding impetus for the space program resulted as an outgrowth of the Cold War, and continued national support was maintained as the space program became a visual symbol of U.S. technical competence. With the termination of the Cold War, the largest space development agencies, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), have been called upon to demonstrate the relevance and effectiveness of their space programs. The Cold War's end coincided with a period of unprecedented federal budget deficits. In a time of severely constrained budgets, the space program faces challenges of accomplishing significant scientific and technical goals while fulfilling international commitments, maintaining national security objectives, and maintaining a competitive commercial posture. Recognizing the importance of national test and operational facilities in maintaining a strong aerospace sector, as well as the potential economic benefit from possible closings and consolidations, Daniel S. Goldin, Administrator of NASA, initiated the National Facilities Study in 1992. He contacted top officials in the DoD, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Commerce, and the National Science Foundation, inviting them to participate in the development of a comprehensive and integrated long-term plan for future aerospace facilities. The leadership of these government agencies nominated individuals to serve on an oversight group and to provide support to an interagency task team. The task team, organized into four task groups, was charged with developing a coordinated national plan for world-class aeronautical and space facilities that meet current and projected needs for commercial and government research and development (R&D) and space operations. 3 NASA and DoD subsequently requested that the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) of the National Research Council review and critique the requirements and facility approaches presented in the NFS. The board was asked to assess the extent to which the interagency task team considered alternative facility approaches and to recommend any further actions or studies that should be pursued by the interagency group. To address the space portions of this request, the National Research Council Committee on Space Facilities was formed. (The committee 's Statement of Task appears as Appendix A.) This report responds to Phase 1 of the Statement of Task. It conveys the committee's findings, conclusions, and recommendations. 4 The committee has focused only on the relevant volumes of the NFS. These include Volume 1: Facilities Inventory, Volume 3: Mission and Requirements Model, Volume 4: 3   See, “Terms of Reference, National Facility Plan Development”, National Facilities Study Summary Report, p. 24. 4 Phase 2 of the committee's Statement of Task may or may not be undertaken depending on the needs of the sponsor and any further work that may be done by the interagency task team.

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SPACE FACILITIES: MEETING FUTURE NEEDS FOR RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, AND OPERATIONS Space Operations, and Volume 5: Space R&D. APPROACH In addressing its task, the Committee on Space Facilities met in Washington, D.C. on December 9-10, 1993; February 7-8, 1994; and March 9-10, 1994. The committee received briefings on the work of the interagency task team, on the progress of several studies regarding national launch needs that were underway at the time of the space facilities task groups' work, on congressional and administration interests, and from interested individuals in industry. Subsequently, drafts were exchanged and teleconferences held to finalize this report on the committee's findings and recommendations.