Historical Context of U.S.-European Cooperation
This chapter describes the historical context for cooperation in space science between the United States and Europe. The development of U.S.-European cooperation in space science is discussed in four stages: 1958-1973, 1974-1982, 1983-1992, and a fourth stage referred to as the post-Cold War period.1 The chapter also recognizes that cooperation developed in different ways and at varying rates for space sciences, Earth science, and microgravity research and life sciences (MRLS) because of their unique characteristics and traditions. This historical context sets the stage for the analysis of a small set of missions from which important lessons can be learned on how to improve future international cooperation.
Most of the early international cooperation in the space sciences was between the United States and Europe. Between 1958 and 1983, 33 of the 38 National Aeronautics and Space Adminstration (NASA) cooperative spacecraft projects were conducted with European entities, and 52 of 73 experiments with foreign principals involved Europeans.2 For the most part, the experience has been extraordinarily successful. However, some lessons have helped both sides learn how to better maximize a project's probability of success. The objective of this review of the U.S.-European experience is to clarify how the United States and Europe might expand and improve cooperation in space.
The U.S. Perspective
The U.S. position on space cooperation was first officially stated in the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, which is essentially the NASA charter. Included in its objectives is the following: "Cooperation by the United States with other nations and groups of nations in work done pursuant to this Act and in the peaceful
application of the results thereof."3 To its credit, NASA has actively embraced this objective for many years. The political environment within which cooperation has taken place, however, has helped determine what types of cooperative efforts would be supported by involved governments and where they would be conducted.
The reasons for an international approach to space activity from the U.S. perspective in the early years were quite clear. The more pragmatic reasons focused on the U.S. requirement for worldwide tracking locations. NASA wanted to create an international climate in which other countries would be favorably disposed toward allowing tracking sites on their territory.4 Beyond this immediate need, international cooperation helped promote certain economic and political objectives. The United States, for instance, wanted to create global markets for newly emerging communications and aerospace industries.
During the Cold War there was significant political goodwill to be gained by the United States through cooperation with Europe vis-à-vis the former Soviet Union. The NASA Task Force on International Cooperation in fact stated in 1987 that "international cooperation in space from the outset has been motivated primarily by foreign policy objectives." 5 Competition in space (including the space sciences) was part and parcel of concerted efforts made by the superpowers to convince other countries of their technical capabilities, and hence leadership. This leadership aspect was at one time sufficient reason to engage in a cooperative activity.
Finally, there were also scientific and technical objectives for cooperating. In this initial period, the benefits of technology acquisition flowed primarily from the United States to other countries. The United States, although willing to be (and indeed seeing benefit in being) generous in its cooperative efforts, nevertheless attempted to avoid unnecessary technology transfer. Space science, as a field within space activity, was deemed a benign and nonthreatening field for initial cooperative efforts.6
Basic scientific research, as opposed to applied science, has traditionally been considered a field in which open, cooperative work should be encouraged. Further, the desire of members of the international scientific community to work together to maximize the benefits accrued from each scientific effort engendered a unity of purpose that transcended national boundaries. During the first stage of U.S.-European cooperation, space science was therefore actively pursued as a cooperative venture. The initial guidelines set by NASA for cooperation were simple:7
- Having each participating government designate a civil government agency for the negotiation and supervision of joint efforts;
- Conducting projects and activities having scientific validity and of mutual interest;
- Agreeing on specific projects rather than generalized programs;
- Having each country accept financial responsibility for its own contributions to joint projects (no exchange of funds); and
- Providing for the widest and most practicable dissemination of the results of cooperative projects.
The focus of the guidelines reinforces the statement that scientific cooperation was what the United States envisioned; thus, cooperative space efforts took on multiple forms relatively quickly. These forms ranged from handshakes in space, with Apollo-Soyuz, to Spacelab and the International Space Station (ISS). The difference between what was originally envisioned and what eventually transpired was largely determined by fluctuating economic conditions as well as national interests.
This initial period encompasses the so-called Golden Age of the U.S. space program. It was dominated by the space race, with the United States having one key opponent and several peripheral players anxious to build their capabilities. Although the United States was competing with the former Soviet Union, it was seeking benign ways to cooperate with other nations. Because of the self-imposed Soviet isolation, the United States was able to assume a mentoring role with these other countries. The Cold War with the Soviets led the United States to want an open program, but a controlled one, so that military security and technology could be protected. For this reason, the guidelines and policies for international cooperation (even in science) were set not so much by the science community as by government science and security policy administrators, with a view toward keeping a balance between openness and U.S. security interests.8
The European Perspective
The European position actually begins from multiple national perspectives, rather than a single unified one. Involvement in the space program was considered essential, and the motivation for participation was simple: "the early realization that space activities might lead to advances in technology that could be important in the resurrection of Europe's economic and industrial development."9 Indeed, Europe considered it imperative to avoid a "technology gap" with the United States and saw space as a primary technology generator.10 Space meant technology and technology meant industrial development, which in turn meant economic growth. There was no doubt about Europe's pragmatic motivations for entering the space arena or its long-term intentions.
European goals were initially pursued through bilateral agreements with the United States, particularly by France, the United Kingdom, and Italy, where substantial national programs were already coming of age (Box 2.1). After the launch of Sputnik by the former Soviet Union and the rapid start-up of the U.S. program, it became apparent that the efforts of individual nations were inadequate to meet the increasing capabilities of the superpowers.11 The alternative was to create European space entities that would allow Europe to speak with one voice to the two leading space powers and, at the same time, build a competitive space program. Originally, those in Europe leaned toward creating two organizations—one entity dedicated to the development of launchers and one dedicated to space research—because of concerns that launcher development would repress scientific efforts and that regional cooperative effort would supplant national activities. The European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO) and the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO) were subsequently chartered in 1964.
Most Europeans acknowledged that there was only one road toward building a mature space program—working with the United States. Therefore, just as cooperation among European countries had proven necessary, so too had cooperation with the United States.12 It is interesting that during this time, European countries acquired more experience working with the United States than with each other, and consequently within Europe there were some difficult learning experiences.13 Working with the United States through bilateral agreements for experiments to be flown by NASA or for data exchange or guest investigator programs (and later, the launching of European spacecraft by NASA)14 proved less complex than multilateral European cooperation arrangements.
At the close of this first stage (see Box 2.1), the plan for NASA's post-Apollo program consisted of a large, multimodule space station, a reusable transportation system (the Shuttle), and an interorbital tug to operate in
During this first period, international cooperation in space science was a means to a political end for the United States, as well as a way researchers could increase scientific return on a specific activity or experiment. Scientists had increasingly recognized the benefits of working together, particularly after earlier efforts undertaken in conjunction with the International Geophysical Year (July 1957-December 1958). They saw that together they could achieve more using fewer individual or national resources. Although nationalistic concerns were not forsaken, national and international efforts were combined in various ways, with a deliberate attempt to integrate them into long-term international planning.
Before the creation of any European space organization (i.e., between 1958 and 1964), U.S.-European cooperative missions were initiated bilaterally, beginning with the early Ariel missions with the United Kingdom from 1962 to 1964, the first San Marco satellite with Italy and the Explorer 20 mission in 1964, the FR-1 mission with France in 1965, and the Orbiting Solar Observatory (OSO) mission with the United Kingdom and France in 1965 (with the second OSO mission following in 1967). Between 1962 and 1964, the ESRO and ELDO conventions were signed but not ratified. Multilateral U.S.-European cooperation therefore commenced on an unofficial basis and expanded after 1964 with the establishment of ESRO. For ESRO, NASA launched ESRO-II in May 1968 and ESRO-I in October 1968. The ESRO-II mission was an integrated study of solar radiation and cosmic rays, and ESRO-I was an integrated study of high-latitude energetic particles and their effects on the ionosphere. After 1975, the European Space Agency (ESA) replaced ESRO and ELDO, and ESA-NASA cooperation began. There has been bilateral and multilateral cooperation on science payloads since 1958, which continues today.
In the area of Earth observation, remote sensing from space began with the launch of Tiros 1 in 1960, which brought views of Earth's cloud cover to Earth. Tiros 1 was so successful that plans for an advanced research meteorological system were considered almost immediately. The first Nimbus was launched in 1964, becoming the test-bed platform for meteorological observations, with Tiros developing into the operational system. The Tiros satellites carried an Automatic Picture Transmission (APT) system that allowed for direct readout of meteorological data. European countries began accessing APT data in the early 1960s; this stimulated the development of an Earth science community in Europe, much as in the United States. Following the early success of the Tiros and Nimbus series, the scientific community began planning an array of Earth observation missions ranging across the spectrum of Earth science and applications. Applications, however, became the principal rationale for funding land remote sensing in the early period, whereas Earth science and technology focused on understanding what was being observed in various spectral regions and providing the space hardware.
This possibility of Earth remote sensing particularly excited the geological community and a broad base of agriculture, timber, and water resource managers as well as engineers and business leaders with specific interests in land-based opportunities who saw useful applications of the technology. The U.S. Department of the Interior responded quickly to the new opportunities presented by land remote sensing from space and requested funding in 1968 for a long-range mission: the Earth Resources Observation Satellite (EROS). It was denied largely because the U.S. Department of Agriculture sensed the importance of this new technology and did not want the market cornered by mineral and water applications, and also because NASA did not want another civil agency to be empowered to conduct space missions. The administration settled this bureaucratic debate in NASA's favor. Thus, in 1972, NASA launched Landsat 1 (originally named the Earth Resources Technology Satellite) as an experimental research activity to explore the use of multispectral imagery of Earth's surface. Landsats 2 through 5 followed in 1975, 1978, 1982, and 1984.
An important aspect of U.S.-European cooperation in Earth science during this period was the launching of the Eole/FR-2 in 1971, preparatory work for which began in 1968. It was a NASA-CNES (Centre National d'Études Spatiales) cooperative mission to determine the location of balloons flying in the atmosphere of
the Southern Hemisphere and, hence, to measure winds. The important aspect is that Eole was in fact the precursor of the Advanced Research and Global Observations Satellite (ARGOS) localization system, which became operational on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellites. At that time, France was initiating studies for development of the European Geostationary Meteorological Satellite (METEOSAT), later proposed and accepted as a European program.
Microgravity Research and Life Sciences
Before 1970, there were no significant international programs in microgravity research and life sciences. In 1972, cooperation in the life sciences began with experiments on Apollo 16 and 17 on the Biostack I and II facilities. Biostack was a nuclear track detector system consisting of multilayers of thin plastic foils interspersed with monolayers of suitable microbiological organisms. The assembly allowed for the registration of tracks, especially of HZE (high-charge Z and high-energy) particles, with respect to the position of individual cells. The Apollo experiments allowed the direct action of HZE particles on individual cells to be studied for the first time.1
conjunction with the Space Station. This program included international cooperation as a deliberate policy meant to attract resources from other countries, particularly European ones. Involving other nations would also broaden the program's political base in the United States and help alleviate the financial burden. Quite apart from the substantial political, industrial, and financial implications that such participation would have on the evolving European space program, NASA's offer represented a new approach to cooperation because it foresaw Europe's substantial involvement. Europe studied different options. In the meantime, the large Space Station concept was dropped from the U.S. program, and the Shuttle was extensively redesigned. (A single-module manned space station, Skylab, was successfully orbited and operated for several years.)
On the U.S. side, the demise of the Space Station stimulated interest in finding the best possible replacement. This took the form of a space laboratory, or Spacelab, to be carried in the Shuttle cargo bay. NASA's emphasis on Spacelab, however, diminished interest in the tug, which had become particularly enticing for Europeans because of Europe's interest in developing the tug's technologies and in providing for its operational use. However, within European countries, there were widely diverging views, since it was clear that substantial participation in the space tug program would affect the possibility of European developments in the field of launchers and application satellites.15 The controversy over the availability of American launchers for European telecommunications satellites and the intervening negative stance NASA took on a European tug heightened interest in European efforts at launch autonomy.16 The modes of cooperation in the NASA program thus shifted toward the reusable laboratory, subsequently renamed Spacelab. The historic European Ministerial Conference in December 1972 sealed a package deal including four decisions: (1) the merger of ESRO and ELDO into a single European Space Agency (ESA); (2) the development of Spacelab; (3) the development of an independent European launcher, later named Ariane; and (4) the development of the maritime satellites, Marots.17 The conference represented a turning point
and had a lasting influence on the relationship between the United States and Europe and the respective positions they took in the space arena.
The second period of U.S.-European cooperation begins with Europe having a significantly matured, truly integrated regional program. For NASA, the post-Apollo period was one dominated by a search for a raison d'^etre in the face of less money and less political support. NASA had achieved the foreign policy goal of reaching the Moon, a goal it had been presented by the U.S. government and the American people, and then found itself to be a bureaucracy without clearly stated goals and objectives for the future.
The U.S. Perspective
The flagship of NASA's post-Apollo program was the Shuttle. With the original approval of the Shuttle had come a new demand for cost-effectiveness and return on investment. The Shuttle was promoted by NASA as a vehicle to bring down costs and increase efficiency because it could be reused. Prestige, leadership, and human destiny were no longer sufficient motivations for large government expenditures toward civil space ventures. It is ironic that the United States was moving toward the pragmatism that had earlier spurred the Europeans to engage in space activities.
Aside from the move toward cost-efficiency and justifiable expenses, NASA, as an agency, lacked clearly stated goals and objectives for the U.S. crewed space program during the post-Apollo period. In the absence of overall agency direction, the Shuttle became a transportation system without destinations or predetermined passengers. To make the Shuttle more cost-effective (in response to congressional pressure), NASA sought to focus all significant access to space on the Shuttle vehicle. Space scientists were therefore forced to design their experiments and spacecraft for Shuttle launch. As a result, the debate over crewed versus uncrewed missions in the space sciences, having emerged during the Apollo period, was once again at the forefront. Moving all NASA spacecraft to the Shuttle also created a dependence on the Shuttle and thus encouraged a "single-point failure" for the U.S. space program. Although the crewed mission program was having difficulty, NASA had some spectacular successes in its uncrewed missions, as evidenced by the Voyager program and the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE), which had international participation.
The American public gave strong rhetorical support to space activity, but in competition with other areas of funding, civil space efforts were often considered expendable (or at least protractible). NASA increasingly began looking to international participation as a way to strengthen its own uncertain domestic financial position. For the first time, encouraging international participation as a way to bolster political support for a program domestically began to rival promoting science as the principal rationale for international cooperation. Internationalizing a space program became an attempt to lend it stability and a higher degree of assurance of continuity than was available to strictly national programs. But this strategy would later prove problematic.
The European Perspective
Development of the Shuttle gave other countries the opportunity to participate in more fundamental cooperative roles, where previously cooperation had primarily meant having NASA launch a foreign spacecraft or placing an experiment on board one of NASA's. In the Shuttle program, full pieces of hardware were contributed by both Europe and Canada, with Europe providing Spacelab and Canada the robotic arm for the Shuttle. This new willingness of the United States to involve others in the development of key components of a U.S. system reflects changing U.S. economic and political imperatives and has been characterized as being a reaction, at least in part, to "sensitivity to the criticism that she [sic] aspired to technological domination of the Old Continent."18 Initially,
In this second stage, the ESA science program evolved into a largely independent one, with purely European projects such as the two GEOS (geostationary satellites), the two Highly Eccentric Orbit Satellites (HEOS), the Cosmic Ray Satellite B (COS-B), and the European X-Ray Observatory Satellite (EXO-SAT) missions. Only two projects were conducted in cooperation with NASA: the International Sun-Earth Explorer (ISEE) and the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE), with ESA in the position of junior partner. Several European countries participated in bilateral projects such as AEROS (United States-Germany), Helios (United States-Germany-Italy), IUE (United States-ESA-Great Britain), High-Energy Astronomical Observatory (HEAO; France-Germany), Solar Maximum Mission (SMM; United States-Netherlands-Great Britain), Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IAS; Netherlands-United States-Great Britain), Orbiting Astronomical Observatory (OAO-2), Copernicus (United States-Great Britain), Astronomical Netherlands Satellite (ANS; Netherlands-United States) and Active Magnetospheric Particle Tracer Explorer (AMPTE) (United States-Germany-Great Britain). However, major future cooperative efforts between ESA and NASA were negotiated in earnest during this period, namely the International Solar Polar Mission (ISPM) project (later renamed Ulysses),1 the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and a joint cometary mission. From the viewpoint of the learning process on NASA-ESA cooperation, this period is highly significant. These three NASA-ESA projects were all of great scientific value; the motivations for cooperation were the same; and all foresaw a substantial involvement of ESA, but each led to quite different results.
During this period, U.S.-European cooperation in Earth science from space focused mainly on data analysis. This gave both U.S. and European scientists the opportunity to build a common heritage of knowledge and practice.
For instance, the cooperation between the United States and Europe in the field of spaceborne thermal infrared and microwave remote sensing started with the Heat Capacity Mapping Mission (HCMM) and the Seasat project, respectively. Seasat, launched on June 27, 1978, was the first American satellite dedicated to studying the ocean surface. It carried a suite of microwave sensors, including a radar altimeter, synthetic
European proposals presented after Apollo were rejected by the United States as involving too much (or too sensitive) advanced technology. Spacelab, which was eventually approved by the United States, was, from the European perspective, "a project not without interest but, as far as technological sharing was concerned … a far cry from what the Europeans had hoped for when the negotiations got under way in 1969."19
The Spacelab experience was certainly a technical success.20 Whether each side got what it expected politically or economically is debatable. If NASA had bought three or four Spacelabs, allowing Europe to set up a production line, the Europeans would likely have viewed it as a success. When NASA bought only one, some considered it an economic and political disaster for Europe and especially for Germany, the European lead on the project. The need to clearly define goals and expectations in cooperative ventures so as to avoid misunderstandings later was becoming increasingly apparent.
See Box 2.2 for summary of U.S.-European cooperation during this period.
aperture radar (SAR), a wind scatterometer, and a multichannel microwave radiometer. Nimbus 7 was launched the same year, the last of the Nimbus series, providing the first ocean color measurements and the first daily mapping of ozone concentrations.
European scientists from 30 European laboratories working in remote sensing formed SURGE (Seasat Users Research Group of Europe) in 1977 and persuaded ESA to build a receiving station for Seasat in Oakhanger, England. Seasat data received at Oakhanger were extensively analyzed by European scientists. In particular, oceanographers extracted a wealth of information from these data. The highly successful U.S.-European cooperative effort on the Seasat project eventually triggered the European Earth Remote Sensing (ERS) satellite project.
From a European perspective, Earth observations began during this stage. ESA launched its first Earth observation satellite, METEOSAT, in 1977, which contributed to both the Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP) and the World Weather Watch (WWW). Later, when one of the U.S. geostationary weather satellites failed, a European METEOSAT satellite was lent to the United States to provide coverage of the Western Hemisphere and maintain WWW. ESA also started distributing Earth observation data from U.S. sources and providing European ground stations (e.g., for the HCMM and Landsat).
Microgravity Research and Life Sciences
Between 1974 and 1982, there were only limited international MRLS experiments in space. These used various facilities on the Shuttle and Soyuz, including Biostack. However, in this post-Apollo era, NASA decided that a more effective way of carrying out significant levels of MRLS experiments was needed. It decided to make use of a dedicated flying laboratory that could be transported to low Earth orbit on the Shuttle and could be used frequently for a multitude of experiments of different types. This was Spacelab, the European-provided laboratory module, which fitted into the Shuttle cargo bay and could be adapted for a wide variety of life science or microgravity science experiments by interchanging the equipment that it carried on board.
The third period begins in 1983 with the first operational launch of Ariane and an era of competition and partnership between Europe and the United States. The entry of the Ariane launcher into the commercial field ended the U.S. monopoly in commercial launch services. Focus on the Shuttle continued NASA's single-point failure mode of operation and led to the virtual reshaping of the agency.
The U.S. Perspective
During his first term in office President Reagan began to view space as an integral part of his technology-building campaign to put strong military and budgetary pressure on the Soviet Union and to strengthen the United States economically. Subsequently, he initiated multiple new large-scale space efforts, including the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) in 1983, the Space Station in 1984, and the National Aerospace Plane in 1986. Rhetorical support did not translate into program commitment, however, and the programs were faced with multiple political challenges. These efforts coincided with a push toward space commercialization, evidenced by NASA's creation of the Office of Commercial Programs in 1984. By the time the Space Shuttle became operational, the earlier emphasis on return on investment had evolved into one of ''space for profit." Unfortunately, it became difficult to maintain the premise and image of an active space program headed toward commercialization when the entire U.S. space fleet was basically grounded by spring 1986.
Politically, NASA could not escape a managerial, technical, and political tragedy of the dimension of Challenger unscathed. NASA's very integrity and capabilities were being questioned in the media. Criticism of NASA became almost a national pastime. Shuttle flights were halted until the cause of the accident—the O-ring problem—could be identified and corrected. The prior policy of forcing as many missions as possible onto the Shuttle to maximize the number of flights and spread the heavy overhead costs over as many launches as possible was reversed. Payloads were off-loaded to expendable launch vehicles, which suddenly were in short supply. (The military, however, had succeeded in acquiring funds for additional expendable launch vehicles, deciding earlier that the Shuttle was not reliable enough to be the sole carrier of their mission-critical satellites.) All of this caused lengthy delays for important national and international missions and drove up Shuttle costs substantially. At the same time that NASA was facing unprecedented domestic pressure as a result of Challenger, it was also under enormous pressure from abroad. Space had gone from being an elitist field dictated by the political aims of the superpowers to a pluralist community of competent players engaging in a variety of commercial and civil endeavors. NASA was facing competition and criticism on many fronts, and it was neither prepared for nor accustomed to such reactions.
The European Perspective
From its inception, ESA was conceptually separated from operational activities. The official statement of purpose in the ESA Convention reads: "The purpose of the Agency shall be to provide for and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and for space applications systems." Such an approach has kept ESA focused on certain essentials and helped it avoid having to run an operational system.21 When the Ariane launcher had become operational by 1982, for example, a private company called Arianespace, which had a special relationship with ESA, took on the responsibility of manufacturing, financing, marketing, and launching the Ariane vehicles.
Clearly, the Europeans had achieved their goals of launch independence. In its first four years of commercial operation, Ariane launched 12 satellites into orbit. NASA launched 30 in the same period, 9 aboard the Shuttle and the rest atop Delta and Atlas-Centaur rockets, which NASA sought to phase out at the time. Commercial competition in space transportation had become a reality—one accompanied by charges of unfair economic practices concerning subsidies leveled on both sides of the Atlantic. By the time of Challenger in 1986, the Shuttle and Ariane were virtually head-to-head in competition, with 44 launch contracts signed by Arianespace and the same number by the Shuttle. The Europeans and the Americans were having to learn to cooperate and compete simultaneously.
The nature of international cooperation changed during this period. Open-ended projects became more prevalent, where operations beyond data gathering were projected for long periods of time, necessitating larger, more complex infrastructures and commensurably higher operating costs. Basically, the scale and magnitude of operations changed dramatically, as exemplified in the Space Station and Hubble Space Telescope (HST) projects. NASA's bureaucracy had increased following the Apollo 204 fire, and with the addition of large, highly expensive operations of an extended nature, government and bureaucratic involvement intensified. In this way, the U.S. government became a more active participant rather than a facilitator, which had often been the case during the first period (1958-1973). However, during this latter period of U.S.-European cooperation, the balance also changed, with ESA becoming, for the first time, the lead partner with NASA, rather than European national space agencies, as had been the norm in the past. In this case, ESA was the lead partner with the United States and the former Soviet Union in the planetary sciences mission Giotto.
During Space Station negotiations, issues of management and jurisdiction were among the most difficult to agree upon. Politically, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) decision to insist in the midst of the negotiations
on inclusion of Space Station use for undefined "national security purposes" as part of the NASA negotiating proposal muddied the waters with international partners for some time. At one point, the negotiations even came perilously close to breaking down.22
In contrast, negotiations in the classic space sciences and Earth sciences, although occasionally tense and difficult, usually to not reach such dramatic levels. This is because they are more focused on common science objectives, whereas the Space Station involves a higher level of national commitment to a variety of nonscience goals.
The elements in the third period (see Box 2.3) that prompted the dual track of cooperation and competition were the technological maturing of the European space program and the institutional evolution of NASA. In the midst of this evolution, another arose: the end of the Cold War. This development in the global political environment changed the context of cooperation and competition enough to warrant (and indeed demand) that new parameters for future endeavors be outlined.
The Post–Cold War Years
Space and in particular space science are the province of the entire world. Progress in this realm can be demonstrated by the increasing number of countries and international entities involved in space activities during the past two decades. For example, the Inter-Agency Consultative Group (IACG) for space science continued after comet Halley receded and has focused on coordinating the armada of spacecraft involved in the International Solar-Terrestrial Physics (ISTP) program. In addition, the Space Agency Forum (SAF) has provided a forum where representatives of some 35 countries, agencies, and institutes engaged or entering into the space domain can meet annually for informal and timely exchange of information.
The U.S. Perspective
Since the end of the Cold War in early 1992, a number of important new factors (or old factors with new emphases) have come into play that have significantly affected U.S.-European cooperation in the space sciences:
- Opportunities for enhancing cooperation with the new republics of the former Soviet Union, particularly Russia, that simply did not exist before in the old, politically charged environment.
- Increasing emphasis in the United States on government-wide deficit and cost reduction, strongly supported across the political spectrum, which resulted in severe prospective budget reductions for NASA. This prospect has forced NASA to reorganize, moving many functions from NASA Headquarters to the field centers; downsizing its civil service and contractor work force; and moving to a "smaller, faster, cheaper" mode of operation that emphasizes smaller spacecraft that are developed more rapidly and feature new technologies. In addition, NASA's programs have been expected to be more relevant to national goals and priorities—for example, in foreign policy, putting a priority on cooperation with Russia and, in economics, emphasizing the development of technology with market potential to enhance American competitiveness.
- Placing important emphasis on small, rapid-turnaround, short-term missions such as those in the Discovery and Earth System Science Pathfinder programs,23 within the context of long-range space science planning.
In the space science area, this third period began with a controversial question of principle between ESA and NASA. Although Announcements of Opportunity (AOs) for scientific experiments on NASA missions had been traditionally open to anyone of any nationality, ESA restricted its AOs for noncooperative missions to European scientists, in line with its charter. American scientists objected and requested reciprocity of access on ESA missions. Some scientists thought that certain European experiments were being chosen over U.S. experiments for NASA missions because they were provided free to NASA, as opposed to NASA's having to pay the costs of the U.S. experiments.
Although, strictly speaking, ESA could not be called on to reciprocate a policy that had been implemented by and large through bilateral agreements between NASA and individual member states, the ESA policy was changed by mutual consent in 1983. This was done after a spirited discussion within an ad hoc U.S.-European working group in which ESA acknowledged the ill will that this policy was causing. The first European proposal opened to non-ESA participants was the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO). Apparently NASA did not encourage American participation because ISO was considered a competitor of the proposed U.S. Space Infrared Telescope Facility.1
The ESA program in this period continued to show a prevalence of purely European projects, but the two major cooperative projects (HST and Ulysses) came of age. The bilateral cooperative missions launched in this period included AMPTE (United States-Germany-Great Britain), Galileo (United States-Germany), the Roentgen Satellite (Germany-United States-Great Britain), ASTROSPAS (United States-Germany), and the Gamma-Ray Observatory (GRO) (United States-Germany).
To strengthen and firmly establish the common European program, ESA made two fundamental moves in this period that also opened up new avenues to international cooperation: establishment and approval of the 20-year long-term plan, Horizon 2000, and creation of the Inter-Agency Consultative Group (IACG) for space science.
Horizon 2000, with its mix of "cornerstones" and smaller projects, reflects the distribution of interests and wishes of European scientists in different scientific disciplines. The plan won approval and increased funding from the political and financial authorities of ESA member states. It soon became a reference base for long-term planning and coordination among agencies worldwide and made possible the advanced coordination of major facilities.
The IACG was conceived in 1981 by science leaders at ESA to coordinate the scientific investigation of comet Halley. The spacecraft in the armada confronting the comet were the two from Japan (Sakigake and Suisei); the two Venus-Halley (VEGA) from the Soviet Union, which included a U.S. comet-dust experiment funded by NASA; and ESA's Giotto. The IACG successfully coordinated these projects and integrated the individual objectives in an overall strategy that was to the best advantage of scientific discovery. The IACG broke new ground and brought international cooperation and coordination to the planetary science level. It proved that this could be done to the benefit of all participants. The IACG concept succeeded because its goals were precisely determined, the interfaces and responsibilities clearly identified, the process informal, and the bureaucracy minimized.
In Earth observation, the 1983-1992 time frame was a turning point. After a period of discovering the potential of Earth observation from space, the development of new instruments opened two avenues for Earth observations other than the military one: practical applications with commercial outputs, and scientific programs. In all of these aspects, competition was clearly emerging. With the Landsat 4 launch in 1982, a new sensor, the Thematic Mapper (TM), was introduced. TM was a significant improvement over the Multispectral Scanner (MSS), providing greater spatial resolution in the visible and near-infrared
regions (30 m versus 80 m) and three additional spectral bands. Système Pour l'Observation de la Terre (SPOT-1) was launched in 1986 by France, and it soon became clear that the mission was a success. Its high-resolution images (10 m) were the best the civilian space program had ever produced, and SPOT's capability of producing stereoimagery gave it added value for geological sciences and mapping applications. At the same time in the late 1980s, Landsat 5 was observing Earth globally at 30-m resolution.
Scientific investigations had been accomplished with Landsat as they had been with the meteorological satellites Nimbus and Tiros; however, the rationale for Landsat was applications. It is not surprising that the issue of commercialization and/or privatization of Earth observation efforts should arise.
The 1980s also saw a fundamental shift in the U.S. policy toward Earth remote sensing. Intense discussion in the United States early in the decade focused on the question of the roles of government and the private sector in Earth remote sensing. One view was that all civilian Earth remote sensing—meteorological, oceanic, and land—should be conducted by the private sector. An opposing view was that Earth observation is a proper function of government, since it is for a common good. The compromise focused on the land, and with passage of the Land Remote Sensing Commercialization Act of 1984, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was charged with "operating" the Landsat system while transferring the data to the private sector for distribution through sales. The Earth Observing Satellite Company (EOSAT) was awarded a contract to sell Landsat data for 10 years, and it was expected that two more satellites would be flown.
The compromise that excluded meteorological satellites was driven by many forces. To state it simply, the tradition of free and open access to weather data, the stronger scientific linkage with Nimbus and Tiros in comparison to Landsat, and the appearance of the French commercial land remote sensing satellite, SPOT, all drove the United States toward commercialization of Landsat.
The high cost of both Landsat and SPOT scenes meant that the volume of research conducted with these two satellites remained minimal, except for research conducted by the government. Both SPOT and Landsat were "commercial" enterprises; there was intense competition instead of cooperation, with SPOT-Image ahead of EOSAT in sales and profits. Landsat's inability to compete with SPOT was largely the result of DOD objections to making the highest-resolution technology available to commercial markets, apparently out of concern that it would facilitate targeting of missiles by potential enemies.
One of the early challenges that faced the Bush administration was the essential breakdown of basic U.S. policies relating to the Landsat system. Shortly after President Bush took office, NOAA announced it could not continue Landsat operations after March 31, 1989. At the last minute, the National Space Council provided emergency funds; however, Landsat's status would remain an issue until nearly the end of President Bush's term in office. President Bush signed the Land Remote Sensing Act of 1992, which repealed the 1984 act and transferred Landsat oversight from NOAA to joint NASA-DOD Landsat Program Management. The switch was made on the grounds that a broad national user group had become dependent on Landsat observations in addition to similar observations from meteorological satellites. Since then the program has become, once again, a NASA effort and formally part of its Earth Science Enterprise program.
Earth observation was back where it began, but by 1992, the stage for land remote sensing from space was becoming crowded. SPOT was continuing with some enhanced capabilities, Japan launched its first in a series of Earth Resources Satellites (JERS-1) in February 1992, and India launched its first two land-imaging satellites in March 1988 and August 1991.
The early 1990s began a period of great progress in Earth science. The concerns that fostered this progress were many, and most had come to the fore in the 1980s. There were environmental issues: concern about ozone, tropical deforestation, the changing chemistry of rainfall, and the rise of greenhouse gases and potential global climate change; there were experimental ones, such as the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE). There were international concerns: the endorsement in 1986 by the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) of an International Geosphere-Biosphere Program, which would focus on human-induced changes in the planet's biogeochemical subsystem; and the World Climate Research Program, which would continue to concentrate on the other major component of the geosphere, the physical climate subsystem. Finally, there were the intellectual and conceptual issues that spoke to the
idea of the Earth system itself as the object of study. To meet these scientific challenges, a number of spacecraft were planned, such as NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) and ESA's Polar Orbit Earth Observation Mission (POEM) (later replaced with two satellites, Environmental Satellite [ENVISAT] and Meteorological Operational Satellite [METOP]), as well as a host of other missions. These activities dramatically shifted Earth remote sensing from one that was application centered to one that was science dominated.2
Microgravity Research and Life Sciences
In 1983 the first Spacelab flew, carrying experiments from NASA and ESA and ushering in the next period of U.S.-European space relationships. The European contribution to the Shuttle program, Spacelab, accommodated cooperative ventures in the life and microgravity sciences. Eventually, three types of Spacelab missions evolved. Several flights were strictly of U.S. composition and management. In three instances, a second type of mission was flown. Spacelab was contracted out to international partners, on the basis of a reduced cost for flying the mission in return for some involvement of U.S. scientists in the experiments. The three instances were the German D-1 mission, the German D-2 mission, and the Japanese SL-J mission. The manifest was prepared and managed by the contracting partner in all three cases. However, many of the scientific experiments were international in scope, involving principal investigators (PIs) and co-principal investigators from several different countries. The third type of mission, the International Microgravity Laboratory (IML), involved a mixture of experimental facilities and investigators from several countries but was managed by NASA. Each agency provided specific experimental facilities, paying for all the development costs of each facility provided. The individual agencies were also responsible for selecting their investigators to conduct experiments and were responsible for the costs of the specific investigations selected. Two missions of this type, IML-1 (1992) and IML-2 (1994), were planned and flown during this third period.
- Emphasizing the convergence of civil and military research, hardware, and systems to maximize resources, with space considered a particularly ripe area.
- Privatizing many of NASA's operational functions, such as the Space Shuttle.
- Declassifying U.S. reconnaissance satellite data from 1960 to 1972, as well as declassifying the fact that these data were used for mapping, charting, and geodesy, in addition to their intelligence applications.
Emphasizing these factors means that the current era—1992 to the present—is distinctly different from previous ones. Acknowledging this fact is critical to planning future international cooperative efforts, and such
acknowledgment is well under way. In assessing the external environment in its February 1996 strategic plan, NASA succinctly states the situation: "Over the past few years, the environment in which NASA operates has changed significantly. The Cold War has ended, but we find ourselves in the midst of vigorous global economic competition. There are also increased demands on Federal Resources.… With increased emphasis on pressing domestic needs, we will be required to ensure the relevance of our programs to national technological priorities and to other domestic goals in areas such as the environment, health, education, aviation and fundamental science."24
The period of FY 1992 through FY 1994 was one of transition, in which earlier expectations of growth that formed the basis for program planning were not realized. The consequences were dramatic: Approved programs were canceled or drastically restructured, supporting programs had losses, and plans for new missions went unfulfilled. The situation is now becoming even more drastic. Space science budgets are expected to be under severe stress through 2001, if not longer.25
In recognition of these fiscal parameters, program adjustments have been made in the Earth and space sciences. Programs such as Cassini, the Advanced X-ray Astronomy Facility (AXAF), the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopy Explorer (FUSE), the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF), and the EOS have been restructured. As previously mentioned, NASA instituted the Discovery program (among other new initiatives) to provide a framework for partnerships with an emphasis on other U.S. government agencies, industry, and academia. Although international cooperation is certainly not excluded, the short time lines involved make it more difficult to negotiate the parameters necessary for an international project and to respond in time to the NASA program approval process. This trend toward smaller, PI-type26 missions is likely to continue to undercut the infrastructure of collaboration and cooperation that has developed over time. Since 1992, Earth science in general has been affected by the changing political and economic environment as many new national players have entered the field and commercial remote sensing efforts have increased significantly. More broadly, commercial trends have clouded agreements on rules for the release or exchange of data and made them more complex. The increasing emphasis on commercial remote sensing may further exacerbate data rights for science as Congress considers a new Commercial Space Act that would require NASA to procure Earth science data from commercial companies.
Significant changes have occurred in the area of microgravity research and life sciences (MRLS) as well. Opportunities to make use of the Mir space station have opened up. This has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are that the Russians have had extensive experience in using Mir for the past 10 years and in conducting experiments in space, and the Mir station is already in space. A disadvantage is that Mir is unsuitable for much MRLS research because it does not have the microgravity environment, equipment, or capabilities for many modern experiments. The second major change is the advant of the International Space Station (ISS). Construction of the ISS not only preempts use of the Shuttles for science purposes, but continuing overruns in Space Station development costs may also negatively affect the development of the science to be performed there.27 Therefore, projections for a strong MRLS science program in the United States into the next century are not promising.
The European Perspective
The sophistication achieved by space science, as well as the technological developments connected with it and the high costs and generally shrinking budgets for space activities, would suggest more than ever that long-term
plans be established well in advance. Long-term planning would allow high-level coordination at an early stage to avoid duplication of programs, encourage cooperation on specific projects, coordinate the planning of major facilities, increase data sharing, and thereby achieve an economy of scale and optimum scientific output. Despite increasing budget pressure, the ESA science program has responded to this changing environment with a follow-on of the Horizon 2000 plan, which extends to 2009 and defines broad objectives through 2016.
The perspective based on the Horizon 2000 plan has framed the European standing in the international space community. Although the ESA member nations could not meet the optimistic goals generated at the 1987 Ministerial Conference in The Hague, the long-term plans have still produced a series of missions that are at the forefront of their respective fields.
Toward the mid-1990s, the budget cuts of both the ESA science program and the national agencies (which are responsible for providing payloads and for scientific exploitation of the missions) threatened to erode the program so that its survival could now be in jeopardy. The Ministerial Conference in Toulouse (1995) had welcomed the extension of Horizon 2000 by Horizon 2000 Plus but had also reduced ESA's budget for the next 3 years by 3 percent annually.
In turn, European space scientists have struggled to maintain the long-term program. By enacting efficiency measures and by stretching the schedule of Horizons 2000 as much as possible, they have managed until now to maintain the integrity of the plans and with this, the solidarity within the research community. This solidarity has been important in establishing a Cluster backup mission, following the failure of Ariane 501 and the loss of the Cluster payload.
The ESA science program is adapting to external circumstances facing the agency. In light of NASA's new approach of heightening visibility though small and frequent missions, ESA has recently adapted the Horizon 2000 plan to include two types of missions to replace the old medium (M) class: The smart (S) missions are aimed at providing the technologies needed in the cornerstone missions; the flexy (F) mission (for half the price of the previous Ms) should maintain the program's flexibilities under severe budgetary conditions.
Other external circumstances affecting Europe's space programs include NASA's increased potential to make use for civil purposes of the large investments made in the United States military space sector. This has created a technological gap with Europe that could limit rather than expand cooperation among the space-faring countries of the world. This gap may also affect cooperative projects because the specific focus and time constraints presented in NASA's Announcements of Opportunity (AOs) for "smaller, faster, cheaper" missions make it difficult for Europeans to respond and participate.28
During this period, ESA has also restructured its Earth observation programs to accommodate science and applications. The scientific part is based on a series of Earth Explorer missions supported by ESA, and the applications part is based on Earth Watch missions, defined on a case-by-case basis and supported mainly by the user community. This process was approved by the ESA Ministerial Conference of Toulouse in 1995 and is now being implemented by ESA.
Cooperation in the Post–Cold War Era
With the end of the Cold War, certain national security concerns have abated. The convergence of civil and military research, hardware, and systems has in fact been encouraged in the United States to maximize resources, with space considered a particularly strong area. These efforts in research areas such as meteorology have opened up new possibilities for cooperative space work but have also complicated the process by adding new players with differing motivations.
The influence of politics as a motivation for cooperation has not ebbed; indeed, it has increased. However, the simplicity of the Golden Age of cooperation—with science as the focus; a hierarchy of players; near-term, closedend projects; and minimal interfacing between partners—is gone. External factors will increasingly, shape the
major directions taken in space: "In the post-Cold War era, the foreign policy aspect of the civil space program will focus on a spirit of expanded cooperation with our traditional partners and the forging of new partnerships."29 The opportunities are exciting, but the complexities inherent in working together should not be taken lightly. Many insights into easing the cooperative process may lie in an increased understanding and appreciation of the difference in structure, funding, and decision-making on space issues between the United States and Europe.
The United States And Europe: Structure, Funding, Decision Making
Cooperation obviously depends on many issues. Some of these issues will always be murky; however, others could be clarified if there were greater understanding of the decision-making process at NASA and ESA. Although NASA, European agencies (ESA, ESRO), and European national bilateral agreements have existed for some 35 years, understanding of the prioritization, decision-making, and funding processes of the governments and agencies involved has sometimes been acquired through a painful learning process. The guidelines and legal constructs devised for international agreements, although generally familiar, do not always educate partners on the idiosyncrasies of cooperative projects.
U.S. Government System and Structure
One aspect of NASA's decision-making process involves seeking advice and identifying scientific goals. Internal and external bodies establish the direction for scientific disciplines, and based on these inputs, planning and prioritization follow. Scientific questions and goals are translated into defined mission concepts and research programs. Depending on the discipline, the link between scientific goals and mission platforms varies.
National Aeronautics and Space Agency
Advisory System. The NASA advisory process involves the National Research Council (NRC), which provides external independent counsel to the agency. The NRC Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) typically undertakes technology and design-related studies, whereas the Space Studies Board (SSB) advises on space science-related disciplines. Committees of leading scientists within these umbrella groups identify scientific goals and research priorities and focus mission evaluations and feedback to the agency on other scientific and programmatic issues (Figure 2.1).
Within NASA, each science office runs an interdisciplinary advisory system composed of experts from the external community as well as discipline-specific subcommittees. A top-level NASA Advisory Council includes the chairs from each program office advisory committee. Unlike the NRC, NASA's internal advisory groups provide advice on program planning and tactics (e.g., schedule, management, design, budget) in addition to science and research concerns.
Funding Process. Advice from internal and external sources may provide sound input for prioritizing goals and planning missions. However, these mechanisms cannot ultimately guarantee NASA's selection of or commitment to particular missions or research programs. Agency missions must compete for annual funding within the agency and against other government programs.
NASA's interaction with the U.S. budget cycle begins in April of year 1. At this point, NASA, like other federal agencies, receives general guidance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a part of the Executive Office of the President. The agency asks the various NASA components for their proposals for the budget to be submitted by the president to Congress in January or early February of year 2 to cover federal spending from October 1 of year 2 to September 30 of year 3 (Figure 2.2). With NASA's comptroller acting as
manager of the process, the budget requests from the several components of NASA are presented to the administrator and top management in midsummer of year 1. Typically the requests will total more than NASA's top management knows OMB will allow, and priorities are established in a series of meetings among the NASA administrator and top management. With the administrator ultimately making the final decisions at this stage, NASA proposes an agency budget to OMB at the end of August or beginning of September in year 1.
At this point, budget examiners at OMB specializing in NASA programs review its proposal. There is a good deal of back and forth between the examiners and NASA personnel until the final OMB decision at the end of November or beginning of December in year 1 about what is to be included in the president's budget. This decision is known as the "pass-back" to the agency.
The agency has the right to appeal to the president about OMB's pass-back. However, such appeals are not undertaken lightly. Most presidents do not relish having to settle disputes between their top appointees (e.g., the OMB director and the NASA administrator). Nor do agencies wish to earn the ill will of the OMB budget examiners who will be reviewing their future budget requests. However, such appeals do occur, and NASA has appealed OMB budget decisions.
The president sends the administration's budget request to Congress in January or early February of year 2; the budget request covers the period from October 1 of year 2 to September 30 of year 3. It also covers five "outyears," but such outyear recommendations are not binding on the administration or future Congresses.30
At this point the congressional process begins. The initial step is enactment of a budget resolution, which provides for the total amount to be spent, the total amount to be raised through taxes and other government revenues, and the resultant surplus or deficit. (There are also five-year outyear projections.) In addition, the resolution breaks down the spending into 19 functional categories; one of the categories covers NASA and some but not all of the other science spending. The budget resolution process is managed by the respective budget committees in the House and Senate, assisted by the Congressional Budget Office. The budget resolution is supposed to be passed by early spring in year 2 but is often delayed. The budget resolution must be agreed on by the House and Senate. It is not subject to a presidential veto because it is not a law but simply serves as a rule governing subsequent budget action in Congress.
Technically, the next step in the process would be an action by the authorizing committees in the House and Senate, which originate the legislation enacted by Congress to provide the statutory framework in which specific federal government activities occur and to authorize appropriations for particular activities up to an amount set forth in the authorizing legislation. Authorizing legislation, including the authorization of appropriations, may be for a single year or for more than 1 year.
The authorizing committees for NASA are the Science Committee (before 1995, the Science, Space, and Technology Committee) in the House and the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee in the Senate. The House Science Committee has generally been prompt in producing an annual authorization bill for NASA. For example, it reported out the FY 1998 NASA authorization on April 16, 1997, and the bill was passed by the House on April 24, 1997.
However, the Senate committee more often than not does not produce an authorization bill, and the Senate therefore relies on the appropriations process to deal with policy issues. Of course, House action does provide a "sense of the House" to its Appropriations Committee and subsequently to NASA. However, House procedure can permit a specific appropriation to be considered without authorization. In the Senate, the same result can be obtained by agreement among senators.
Though there is typically a good bit of debate about how spending is to be divided among the 19 functional categories, this portion of the budget resolution is not binding. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees are bound by the budget resolution's limit on total appropriated spending, but they are free to allocate this sum among their 13 subcommittees as they wish.31 Moreover, the appropriations subcommittee jurisdictions are not
congruent with the 19 budget resolution functional categories. NASA's appropriations are initiated by the Veterans Affairs (VA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Independent Agencies Appropriations subcommittees in the House and Senate, whose jurisdiction extends, although not exclusively, across almost half of the 19 budget categories: Subcommittees are free to allocate the funds among the agencies within their jurisdiction as they wish (subject, of course, to the subsequent legislative process). Each VA-HUD-Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, with rare exceptions, produces a single bill that includes its proposed appropriations for NASA and the other agencies in its jurisdiction. These other agencies include the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and some dozen smaller agencies such as the Consumer Products Safety Commission.
After the respective House and Senate subcommittees complete their bills, they are passed on by the full Appropriations Committees and then by the House and Senate, respectively. Differences between the House and Senate are reconciled in a conference between the two subcommittees. What is produced must either be agreeable to the president, who can veto it, or able to command a two-thirds vote in both houses to override the veto.32
Not infrequently, Congress and the president are unable to agree on the appropriations bills by the October 1 start of the U.S. fiscal year. In this case, a Continuing Resolution is generally agreed to by Congress and the president (often after a certain amount of rancor) that provides for continuation of programs, usually at the lowest level contemplated by the House, the Senate, or the president, until a full-year appropriation can be agreed on.
Obviously large-scale NASA projects involve longer time frames than the annual budget process. Proposals for long-term projects must be evaluated, costed out, and compared with competing projects before they even show up as a line item in a NASA budget. Time scales here involve the development of novel equipment, planetary orbits, solar activity cycles, and so forth. NASA gets a substantial research and program management appropriation ($2,052.8 million in FY 1996) to cover its overhead and this preliminary work.
Typically such a large, long-term project has an initial "wedge," a midprogram "bulge" as the space vehicle is designed and built, and a declining "tail" dealing with transmission and receipt of data (although in the Office of Earth Science, data transmission, analysis, and provision of access to the larger Earth science community may be a major expense of the program). NASA tries cumulatively to schedule such programs so that they come and go within an envelope that represents the maximum NASA believes OMB will approve year by year. (NASA's share of the federal budget is a sore point within the agency; as Administrator Daniel Goldin noted in his testimony before the House VA-HUD-Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee,33 NASA has dropped from 4.5 percent of the federal budget in the Apollo years to 0.9 percent today.) Only when a proposed large program gets to the point in the queue at which NASA is ready to give it the go does it move from the research and development line to become its own line item in the budget.
A typical appropriation must be obligated during the fiscal year for which it was enacted or funding lapses. Thus, enactment of the initial appropriation is not a guarantee that future funding will be provided. Even after an appropriation is enacted, its spending can be deferred or rescinded. Deferral (postponement of spending until a later fiscal year) can be accomplished by the president, subject to congressional override; rescission (cancellation of an appropriation) requires that Congress approve the presidential proposal.
It should be understood that nothing in the current process prevents multiyear commitments. Congress can and does from time to time provide for such commitments. Even these can be canceled, as by rescission; but where there has been a contract with a third party (e.g., to procure a launch vehicle), its cancellation "for the convenience of the government" will be more expensive than cancellation of contracts that are by their terms subject to annual appropriation. The Clinton administration in its FY 1997 budget proposals sought to extend the multiyear commitment practice by requesting "full upfront funding" for projects in a number of agencies. In the case of
NASA, these projects included $342 million for the New Millennium Program (''a coordinated NASA/commercial partnership incorporating next generation technologies such as lightweight, low-cost instruments which improve performance and decrease mission costs in the future") and $558 million for the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite replenishment.34
Cost overruns have been a major issue with NASA. In his April 25, 1996, testimony to the House VA-HUD-Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, Administrator Goldin noted that "the GAO [General Accounting Office] conducted a survey a few years ago which showed NASA programs averaging 77 percent cost growth from their initial estimates." Goldin did not state any disagreement with the GAO findings (though he did go on to say, "Today, we are underrunning our program cost estimates from last year").35 It can be argued that the annual appropriations process drives up costs, and this presumably is the reason for the administration's multiyear funding requests. However, the annual appropriations process was well known to NASA when it submitted its budget estimates and should have been allowed for in these estimates. It should also be noted that the percentage of cost overruns generally exceeded the 20 to 40 percent limits that let nations terminate participation in (20 percent) or generally result in cancellation of (40 percent) ESA projects.36 Better cost estimates of projects in which NASA has the lead role will have to be a significant part of U.S.-European cooperation in space.
European Systems and Structures
In the space domain as well as any other, Europe cannot be visualized as a homogeneous entity. ESA is the only research and development space agency of Europe but not the only one in Europe. National space organizations coexist with ESA and interact with it in different ways.
Figure 2.3 illustrates the diversity of national organizations that contribute to funding ESA; European representatives determine the policy of the agency through participation in various decision-making bodies. This figure does not (and could not) represent the numerous bilateral agreements of varying time frames established among scientific institutions or national agencies.
The ESA Convention stipulates that national programs should be progressively integrated in the ESA. However, this goal has been difficult to achieve and remains, if at all desirable, a distant aim. In the present circumstances and more realistically, the goal is to achieve coordination among ESA and national programs, with ESA undertaking major missions of a scale larger than a single country could manage. In the space science area, effective coordination has become reality through ESA's long-term Horizon 2000 plan. This plan had a considerable impact on the development of space science in Europe and contributed to improved cooperation with European countries. Horizon 2000 has become the reference for national planning of space missions. A further tool to expand coordination is the biennial "Capri meetings," at which representatives present national initiatives to the other ESA countries and expand on possibilities for cooperation.
In space science the key players are, naturally, scientists. A 1992 estimate indicates that about 2,000 western European scientists are directly involved in space activities. The European Space Science Committee (ESSC) of the European Science Foundation (ESF), the coauthor of this report, performs the important role of synthesizing, promoting, and coordinating advice on European space science and policy from the space science community in Europe. In the general space area, interacting with ESA and with national organizations are a host of other institutions that, as in the United States, play a significant and sometimes, powerful role in European space policy. These are primarily the industrial complexes (particularly, the prime contractors), intergovernmental operational organizations such as the European Telecommunications Satellite Organization (EUTELSAT), European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), and private firms such as Arianespace and SPOT-Image. Furthermore, the European Union (EU) through its three organs—Parliament, the Commission, and the Council—is playing a more active role in space affairs and in the establishment of space
policy. The industrial policy rules of the EU, which aim at full liberalization of the market, may ultimately have a significant effect on the space industrial landscape of Europe.
The European Countries
Surveying the 14 or more national space agencies in western Europe to describe their individual selection and funding procedures would be complicated. Those agencies of the former Soviet bloc countries would now have to be added. Furthermore, agency procedures and priorities are in continuous flux to accommodate the shifting political, scientific, and industrial scenario in Europe. Compared with international organizations such as ESA, where conflicting national interests may lead to impasses and rigidity in decisions and management, the national space agencies have a higher degree of flexibility because of their ability to make autonomous decisions. However, despite its rigidity, the ESA mandatory scientific program has had an important impact on the scientific space policy of ESA member states and forced them to unite in their efforts toward joint goals. In addition to participation in ESA cooperative programs, most if not all of the European space-faring countries have bilateral programs, particularly but not exclusively with NASA and of course among themselves.
European countries have different policies regarding the proportion of funds each allocates to national, bilateral, and multinational (e.g., ESA) programs. There is no guiding principle, and countries of different sizes can have comparable allocations to national and joint space programs. However, major criteria for allocations include whether or not a particular country has a national space organization and the fraction of gross national product (GNP) that it commits to space activities. Countries with large national space programs and organizations tend to be less dependent on ESA to achieve their goals but typically have a decisive influence on ESA's policy decisions. Other countries in Europe have opted to let ESA be their principal focus of space activities and tend to contribute strongly to the establishment and cohesiveness of a joint European space policy. These countries essentially consider ESA a substitute national entity and therefore use its advisory, administrative, and financial structures as vehicles through which to channel national funds to their own institutes and industries (e.g., the Scientific Experiment Development [PRODEX] Programme).37
The European Space Agency (ESA)
Within the European Space Agency, the scientific program concerns only space science; scientific research in Earth observation, microgravity, and life sciences, as well as Earth observation applications, has different structures and processes.
Space Science: The Mandatory Scientific Program. The scientific program is the core of ESA's mandatory activities (which also include technological research, future project studies, shared technical investment, information systems, and training programs). This is the program for which ESRO was established. The ESA Council, which is composed of representatives from each member state, refers matters related to the ESA scientific program to an official Science Programme Committee (SPC). The SPC maintains a privileged position within the ESA body because it is the only program committee under Council authority to be specifically identified in ESA's Convention.
Funding Process. The scientific program budget is based on the mandatory contributions of the member states. These contributions follow a key related to countries' respective GNPs. The two concepts—mandatory and GNP-related contributions—are central to the management practice governing the science program. From a procedural point of view, financing of the science program is determined through a 5-year level of resources, which the Council must approve unanimously and which is reviewed every 3 years. Annual budgets proposed by
the SPC have to be consistent with the overall level of resources and must be approved every year by the Council by a two-thirds majority.
One characteristic of the scientific program by which ESA differs substantially from other agencies such as NASA is that payload elements selected through competition by the SPC to fly on an ESA spacecraft are financed nationally rather than from ESA's science budget, which funds spacecraft and such common facilities as the telescope optics or cryogenic systems. This has been ESRO and ESA policy over the years and has encouraged a high degree of involvement and initiative within scientific groups that could not take funding for granted. As far as the data are concerned, it is the task of ESA to ensure that all scientific results are published after prior use by the investigators responsible for payload elements.
Selection Procedures. The fundamental rule of ESRO, and subsequently ESA, has been that ESA exists to serve scientists and that its science policy must be driven by the scientific community, not vice versa. This principle has profound implications for relations between the scientific community and ESA and explains the determining influence that ESA's advisory structure has on the definition and evolution of the scientific program. Currently, the advisory bodies in space science are the Space Science Advisory Committee (SSAC) and its two related working groups, the Astronomy Working Group (AWG) and the Solar System Working Group (SSWG). They advise the director general and the director of the scientific program on all scientific matters, and their recommendations are independently reported to the SPC. Ad hoc working groups may also be appointed to advise on particular subjects. For example, in 1993, a special ad hoc working group in fundamental physics and general relativity was formed to advise ESA on selection of the Satellite to Test the Equivalence Principle (STEP) project. Another was the so-called survey committee, which formulated the long-term plan for space science (i.e., the Horizon 2000 program) on the basis of input contributed by the European scientific community.
Membership on the scientific advisory bodies is for 3 years, and the chairs of the AWG and SSWG are de jure members of the SSAC. One of the main tasks of these bodies is competitive selection of scientific projects that will best meet the scientific objectives of the long-term program, which was designed over a decade or so to satisfy different disciplines that compete for funding. The recommendations of the discipline working groups (AWG and SSWG), each of which usually selects one project out of two or three competitors, are presented to the SSAC, which covers the ensemble of space-oriented disciplines. The SSAC, on the basis of these recommendations and taking into consideration scientific, programmatic, and financial elements, makes the final choice among competing projects. The SSAC recommendation, although not legally binding, is usually accepted by the ESA executive and is included in its own proposal to the SPC. The SPC is the final decision-making body for the scientific program. It is important to emphasize that SSAC decisions are the result of a balancing act between scientific arguments and verification that the budget, financial plan, and schedule for project development are compatible. The SSAC and SPC establish a strong connection between the project and its allotted financial envelope, which is the multiyear total cost at completion (CAC) for a project. The CAC, an integral part of ESA's decision-making procedure, allows for multiyear planning. (NASA's funding procedure, in which financial considerations weigh heavily on project appropriations in the upcoming fiscal year, limits the certainty of long-term planning.)
The SSAC formed the core of the survey committee. The membership of the survey committee, in addition to the SSAC, included representatives from international organizations related to ESA's scientific disciplines: the European Science Foundation, Centre d'Études et de Recherches Nucléaires (CERN), the European Southern Observatory (ESO), and the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Additional scientific teams were added to encompass all the disciplines in solar system exploration, astronomy, and astrophysics. This same committee reexamined Horizon 2000 and its successors (the Horizon 2000 Plus programs) following the budget resulting from the ministerial conference held in 1995.
Figure 2.4 is a flow chart summarizing the planning and implementation of ESA's science program. At all stages in the implementation process, the ESA executive keeps the SPC informed of both the progress and the problems encountered. After the approval of Phase B, the technical and financial evolution of the approved project is reviewed at least three times each year, the SPC being entitled, but not obliged, to stop it if the budget overruns its approved CAC by more than 10 percent.
Earth Observation and Microgravity Research and Life Sciences: Optional Programs. An optional program means that each member state has the right to decide if it will participate or not and at what level (the industrial fair return [juste retour] rule is applied according to the financial participation). The basic layout is as follows, based on ESA's Convention, Article V 1.b, and Annex III, Articles I, II, and III:
- If a proposal for carrying out an optional program is made, it is discussed by the Council. If approved, an enabling resolution is established, authorizing the start of discussions by potential participants. Member states that do not intent to take part in the program have 3 months to formally say so.
- A declaration is drawn up by the potential participants to set out the undertaking of the program (i.e., phases and schedule, technical and budgetary aspects, level of contribution of each participating member state). The declaration is a legally binding document and is completed by a set of implementing rules. Both of these documents are established on the basis of a program proposal prepared by the ESA executive.
Optional programs are managed by ESA, which awards contracts to industry. The latest ESA Ministerial Council (March 1997) initiated a process, which will be implemented gradually until 1999, in which more
flexibility is being fed into the system. Essentially, all participating member states are committed to continue in the program unless the cumulative cost overrun is greater than 20 percent of the initial financial envelope, or of the revised one in the case of price-level variations. This is established by regular reassessment of the program cost. If the program does exceed the 20 percent margin over budget, any participating member state may decide to withdraw from it. Participating states that nevertheless wish to continue with the program can consult among themselves and determine the arrangements for continuation. The philosophy of this policy is that the decision to approve a new program is difficult, but after a decision has been made, it is almost impossible for one country or a few countries to cancel it unless the program is much more expensive than planned (or unless a two-thirds majority of all participating member states decide to cancel it, providing this majority represents at least two-thirds of the contribution to the program).
The microgravity research program, an optional program that at ESA includes MRLS, has had a continuous history since its establishment in 1985 with the science programs EMIR 1 and 2 (ESA microgravity program) and the microgravity facility for Columbus. The program is based on an advisory structure, consisting of two working groups (Life Sciences Working Group and Physical Sciences Working Group), the Microgravity Advisory Committee, and the Microgravity Program Board. Selection of experiments is done by peer review. In the past few years, an inter-agency working group (NASA, National Space Development Agency [NASDA; Japan], Canadian Space Agency [CSA], ESA, CNES, DLR) was established for life sciences, with the aim of jointly issuing AOs for experiments and joint peer review for selection of experiments.
The Earth observation program, another optional program, was recently restructured and split between two directorates. All Earth observation programs currently under development or with corresponding platforms currently in orbit (i.e., European Remote Sensing Satellite [ERS], Environmental Satellite [ENVISAT], Meteorological Operational Satellite [METOP], METEOSAT Second Generation [MSG], and Earth Observation Preparatory Programme [EOPP]) are the responsibility of the Directorate of Application Programmes (D/APP) and include telecommunications. Future Earth observation (EO) missions and their strategy and implementation are being defined within the Directorate of Scientific Programmes (D/SCI). D/SCI has therefore integrated the existing Earth Sciences Division at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) with its scientific advisory committee, the Earth Science Advisory Committee (ESAC). This committee consists of scientists who represent the main disciplines and representatives of European scientific bodies (the European Science Foundation and the European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories). In concert with the scientific community, the committee makes recommendations to ESA D/SCI regarding the missions to be launched and their prioritization. These recommendations are submitted for consideration by D/SCI to the Programme Board for Earth observation, which includes representatives of ESA member nations. Unlike the mandatory program, there is not yet a multiyear scientific program for Earth science in ESA, which makes the programmatic and the prioritization processes difficult. Such a multiyear program has been strongly recommended; an external scientific body38 and ESA are now preparing the implementation of an envelope program for EO missions (including, in particular, necessary funding for the Earth Explorer program).39 Unlike the mandatory program, instruments for most Earth observation programs are funded and developed by ESA. A few instruments are proposed by PIs in response to particular AOs. Instruments under ESA's aegis are prepared during Pre-Phase A and Phase A within the Earth Observation Preparatory Programme (EOPP) (which is again an optional program); EOPP's budget is also approved by the Programme Board for Earth Observation.
In summary, the main characteristics of the ESA decision-making and funding processes are the following:
- Recommendations and resolutions (in the ESA approval cycle);
- Two types of programs: the ESA mandatory program (for space science, called the scientific program) and the ESA optional program(s) (à la carte for Earth science and for microgravity and life sciences);
- The mandatory program assured of a 5-year level of resources approved by the ESA Council (with each country contributing an amount calculated as a function of its GNP); and
- The optional program for Earth science, microgravity, and life sciences, in which participation on each project is optional, and the level of funding depends on national decisions and interest.
The following are ESA contributions to instruments and research:
- Space science. ESA-provides spacecraft, general use facilities (e.g., telescopes, large cooling systems), launching, tracking, and operations and data processing through engineering calibration. National agencies provide the experiments, scientific data processing, and research funding.
- Earth observation. Ninety percent of the instrumentation is provided by ESA (this is not a rigid rule). The other 10 percent is provided nationally in response to specific AOs (e.g., Along-Track Scanning Radiometer and Precise Range and Range-rate Equipment [PRARE] on the ERS 1 and 2). Data processing for scientific purposes up to level 2 (geophysical products, when applicable) is provided by ESA. ESA does not fund research covered by member states on a national or multinational basis.
- Microgravity. Facilities are provided by ESA. Experiments to be performed at the facilities are provided on a national basis.
Differences In U.S. And European Views Regarding Cooperation On Science Projects
It is clear that there are major differences between the way Europe and the United States approve, fund, and conduct their space programs. Since these could be the subject of separate studies in themselves, the purpose of this section is to highlight major differences.
Value of cooperation. In the United States, the value of cooperation on science projects will depend on the foreign policy and market potential aspects, the ability to attract partner nations' resources to help carry out projects, the avoidance of competition, the added security in the annual congressional budget approval procedure, and the scientific and technological content.
In Europe, the value of such cooperation will be in the possibility of access to an otherwise unavailable facility; the scientific and technological content; the spreading of costs among all partners, leading to individual cost reductions; and, in the case of national bilateral projects, the foreign policy benefits.
Space organizations and responsibilities. NASA normally funds the development of spacecraft, scientific experiments, and research performed with the resulting data. With regard to science, ESA normally funds the spacecraft, but funding of scientific experiments and research is the responsibility of national (usually space) agencies. In other words, unlike NASA, ESA has no money for conducting research and data analysis, which is the responsibility of its member states. This raises the issue of how to reconcile scientific priorities in the scientific programs of member states with ESA's priorities. The situation is different for microgravity and Earth observation. Although both ESA and NASA are fundamentally R&D agencies, NASA has had a much stronger operational component because of its Space Shuttle operations. The tension between operations and R&D will increase in both NASA and ESA as operations on the International Space Station begin.
In Europe, ESA's charter emphasizes space research and technology for "exclusively peaceful purposes" and does not include participation in any military space programs. However, there is a move to interpret this charter more liberally and allow ESA involvement in "dual-use technologies" as long as they are for nonmilitary purposes (e.g., monitoring or security rather than weapons systems.) In the United States, although NASA is charged by the Space Act to direct and control nonmilitary aeronautical and space activities, the prohibition against participating
- in or supporting military programs is not as clear-cut or strong. However, "activities peculiar to or primarily associated with the development of weapons systems, military operations, or the defense of the United States" are clearly the purview of DOD. Furthermore, NASA has a strong aeronautics R&D component, which does not have a European multinational counterpart.40
Funding procedures. Funding procedures are the overriding and overarching differences that affect cooperation between ESA and NASA. This does not necessarily apply to bilateral Europe-NASA cases, because all nations have different procedures. In the United States, projects are generally a line item in the annual budget proposal and are thus exposed to the lingering threat of reductions or outright cancellation, particularly in the years of strictest budget discipline, typically before presidential elections. Congress, of course, has the power to approve multiyear appropriations, but this does not happen often.
At ESA, projects are approved for development at a certain cost at completion (CAC) and endowed with the corresponding multiyear funding. During the annual budget approval process, projects that are fulfilling financial predictions, within defined limits and accepted tolerances, are not threatened. (Unforeseen external political or financial events, such as the default of a partner, however, can call for revision of the entire program.)
Legal documents. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been, in the ESA space science area, the highest-level formal document used with NASA in cooperative projects. It establishes respective responsibilities in the hardware and operational phases, management tasks, consultation procedures, settlement of disputes, and schedule and time validity of the agreement. The MOU is signed for ESA, on unanimous approval of all member states, by the director general who acts within the framework of an international agreement ratified by all national parliaments and thus formally commits ESA to carrying out the MOU.
In the United States, the MOU is an executive agreement, a document whereby the separation of rights and duties of both partners is established. This falls short of the level of commitment to execution of the project that the ESA Council decision lends to the director general's signature. The disparity between the U.S. and European approaches to MOUs, which was dramatically evidenced in the case of the International Solar Polar Mission (ISPM), is in fact quite natural since the MOU commits, at best, NASA but not the U.S. administration, let alone Congress. Higher level agreements would thus be necessary to secure a level of commitment from the United States comparable to that given by ESA through the MOU.
- Decision-making processes. In Europe, ESA's space science projects are recommended by the Space Science Advisory Committee and selected by the SPC according to a long-term plan and within a funding envelope established by the council. Each part of the Earth observation and microgravity and life science programs has to be funded by the member states willing to contribute. This is decided within program boards for Earth observation and microgravity, respectively. In the United States, comparable planning involves the annual deliberations of NASA, its science advisory committees, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), OMB, and Congress. The more extensive and more frequent involvement of the political and budget processes in Washington can result in more outside perturbations to NASA's planning process than is the case with ESA in Europe.
- Involvement of military agencies. In the United States, DOD is an important player in OSTP's space policy deliberations. Through it (as well as directly with NASA and less formally through Congress), DOD can exert a strong influence on the U.S. civil space program. In Europe, no military agency has a comparable impact on ESA.
- Timing constraints on planning horizons. There are positive and negative aspects to ESA's and NASA's planning processes, which are tightly linked to funding cycles. Although both NASA and ESA have long-term plans for their space science programs, NASA's year-to-year budget appropriations can lessen the stability of its
In its aeronautics research program, NASA clearly conducts research aimed at advancing military and civilian aviation.
- long-term plans. NASA can often reprogram funds to cover budget changes in the smaller missions, giving it the flexibility for new initiatives and a "smaller, faster, cheaper" approach. The ESA system, although benefitting major missions that require long-term funding stability, is less flexible in short-term planning and less conducive to conducting smaller and medium-size missions. However, it should be noted that ESA was created to undertake satellite programs too expensive to be funded by any single country; this tends to inhibit it from undertaking small satellite programs.
- Industrial policy. ESA has a policy oriented toward supporting European industry through the juste retour concept, whereas NASA has a much more flexible approach in this area. ESA's industrial policy has been reexamined by member states to allow more flexibility, still maintaining a juste retour.41
Commercial and/or competitive forces. In the area of Earth observation from space, where commercial interests are strongest, NASA's present priority is science first and commercial interests second. At ESA, with the currently proposed Earth Explorer program, which is primarily scientifically oriented, and the Earth Watch program, which is more oriented to applications and service, the situation will be different. This difference is reflected in the specific data policy defined for each of these programs: the data policy for Earth Explorer, which will be defined by ESA, and the policy for data acquired by satellites in the Earth Watch category, which will be defined by ESA partners that contribute to the missions. With regard to individual countries, there is only Système Pour l'Observation de la Terre (SPOT), an operational land remote sensing program, designed and developed largely by France. Although SPOT data may be used for scientific purposes, they are sold commercially. In France, research laboratories are subsidized by the government to acquire these data.