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Looking back at the 6 years of our "space era,” we cannot but be gratified at the scientific progress already evident, even though the more difficult and really important experiments still lie ahead. Years are required for the scientist to master the difficult space techniques underlying wholly new classes of experiments But, the results of space science in the next 7 years, until the end of this decade should be far more striking, since we are now getting a firm hold on science in space. The more important experiments until culminate with increasing rapidity as time goes on.
Turning from science, we come to the civil applications of space. Most obvious are the potentials of space communications. I remind you that at the moment we now are limited to about 150 channels of narrow-band communications across the Atlantic. Each channel costs more than a million dollars. With the coming of satellite relay, this number of channels will be increased indefinitely, and at about one-tenth the cost when used to full capacity. Now, naturally, the cost won't drop all at once-it will take a long time to build up world use of this new opportunity to the point of fully utilizing this new communication capacity. Of course, worldwide dialing, radio and television of high quality can now be foreseen. But the implications of unlimited long-range communications capacity extend far beyond this—to highly integrated industrial systems in forms we now find it difficult to imagine. After all, the generation of business depends on communications.
Likewise, we all know of the promise ot the Tiros and the forthcoming Nimbus satellites, in their impact on meteorological science and forecasting. The whole world can be brought into view, every storm watched from genesis to decay, the variability of the cloud cover measured, and a variety of measures undertaken that improves meteorological work enormously. The variability of cloud cover may be the very basis of climatology. The "Reaper" satellite can collect and relay information from free-floating balloons at fixed levels in the atmosphere, and floating buoys on the surface of the sea, imbedded within the weather everywhere over the Earth. The civil potentialities of these advances in meteorological science, and consequent forecasting, climatology, and perhaps even control, are
Beyond the immediate applications of space devices is the fallout from the new technology of space in the creation of new industry and employment. Space pushes our technology of materials, of fuels, of electronics, of control, of navigation to their very limits. Out of these technological advances related to space are arising a whole series of revolutionary industrial opportunities that are not related to space at all, but which advance the general sophistication of society. As space expands the limits of our technology, the whole community benefits from the consequent technological stimulation, which is a reality in an ever-growing proportion of our industry.
In speaking of civil applications, we cannot forget transportation. It is a far cry from Shepard's first rocket flight to regular high-speed military or civil transport from point to point. Yet the groundwork has been laid, however crudely. The future use of rockets for quick point-to-point transport now is as certain as we now know scheduled 600-m.p.h. air transport had become after the demonstration at Kitty Hawk. Yet, less than 50 years ago, few men had the knowledge, imagination, and courage to predict what is now a major, useful, and reliable industry. (We might also recall parenthetically that many more men at that time, some of them among the so-called leaders, were free to predict that aviation had no future at all, except as a rather foolish and amateurish hobby that sensible men would ignore.) Without question, technological problems of regular rocket transport are enormous. But there is no known natural or scientific dictum that stands in the way of such transport on an efficient and regular basis. So, we can confidently predict that fast rocket transport will come, eventually, to give us 20-minute transatlantic schedules. As scientists, we can predict nothing but failure about any system that violates the laws of Nature, as we know them. But, within these limits, we reserve the right to ignore the gloomy predictions of the ill informed, arising out of their fears of a complex, but scientifically sound, future technology.
Finally, we turn to military applications in space. Here we see a whole spectrum of potentials-early warning reconnaisance, surveillance, intelligence, electromagnetic warfare, and interception, inspection, and destruction of unfriendly missiles and satellites. Moreover, the monitoring, capability that space can provide may well calm the nerves and reduce tensions in an otherwise jumpy and suspicious world, thereby furthering peaceful pursuits. Certainly satellites could be used as weapons carriers, though this seems a retrogressive application of the well-known point-to-point rocket techniques. The point is that an enemy can employ space techniques in a variety of ways that are inimical to our national interests. Therefore, we must develop the military capability not only to duplicate these techniques ourselves, but also to police them when employed by an enemy.
Now, when we look at this catalog of scientific, civil, and military potentialities of space, they look pretty impressive. But there is another motivation in space exploration that is so important that it cannot be ignored. That is the aspiration of men to reach out to the stars, to accomplish what men have not accomplished before. This is the very deep, driving force within man, responsible for his evolution from the animal and innate force that has caused him to rise to unparalleled social accomplishment. Now, some men would deny the reality of aspiration—the will to conquer the unconquered--as a fundamental force of great human motivation. Submerged in the artificial and complex responsibilities of living, the basic motivations of the human spirit become clouded. Employing the method of autosuggestion of Monsieur Coué, they repeat at each opportunity: "Day by day, in every way, I am convinced that our effort in space can't amount to anything, and at great cost, too.” And, after such self-induced brainwashing, they get to believe it. (This argument can, of course, be inverted. Yet, in support of its position, we have the extraordinary situation that man has uniquely emerged as a quasi-civilized being, in spite of recognizable contrary forces and the conspicuous lack of success of numerous other species).
But, the great bulk of the peoples of the world have not yet acquired this particular brand of sophistication. They appreciate and share our aspirations to reach to the stars, and find a satisfying excitement now that this seems almost within reach. This is the primitive instinct that has made man great. I cannot forget a night in the Mideastern desert, when a native grasped my sleeve and pointed excitedly to the sky, exclaiming: “Look, mister, look-American sputnik.” You may argue that an American Peace Corpsman might do more for this man as an individual; yet, lurking in the background, is the realization that the Peace Corpsman may have no opportunity to function at all, if our privilege to lead is eroded. Here lies an irreversible value judgment that only history can test.
Because of this very primitive and deep-seated instinct to conquer the unconquered, the space race between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. is inevitable.
Men everywhere see, in the conquest of space, the peaceful demonstration of the superiority of one of the two competing systems of economic organization-capitalism versus communism. The conquest of space has become a symbol of the challenge to each system to demonstrate its superiority—to "put up” or shut up. Now, some may deplore this situation as foolish, or ungentlemanly, or costly, or unintellectual-but that's the way it is, and we had better accept it if we want to retain our free system. The Russians recognize it with: first sputnik; first hit on the Moon; first man in space; first photographs of the back side of the Moon; first try (failed) to reach planets; first shot at Mars; and the heaviest payloadsall spectaculars. (I would add, parenthetically, moreover, that it may be better for both sides to shoot some dollars into space than to shoot them at each other.)
I would emphasize that the contest is not a contest for "prestige," in the intangible sense of pride or self-admiration. Used in this context, that word, as an obective, is ridiculous. Rather, this contest is a genuine test of technological capability in the sense that two contestants size up the potentialities of the other before making a major move. It is a test of technological capability, also, in the sense that the peoples of emerging nations size up the developing potentialities and inevitably back the winner. The implications of allowing our technology to fall to second-rate stature, with respect to space, are less a matter of personal pride and more a matter of technological posture in a "cold war”—a posture that is recognizable on all sides. This posture involves "prestige" only in the sense that genuine military strength involves prestige.
Moreover, if tensions are to be reduced by negotation, we must recall that genuine negotiation is possible only among equals. In a power-balanced world, acquisition of significant demonstrated capability by one side can destroy all hope of reasonable negotiation—not just in space, but in the whole international
It is in the irreversibility of this situation that lies the danger of irresponsible decision. If the pace of the program is to be altered, this should be the subject of international negotiation, accompanied by insurable guaranties, and not the subject of unilateral abandonment of the space field.
So, in addition to the scientific, civil, and military values of space, the conquest of space has, at this time, acquired an enormous international political value. The nation that can achieve and retain space superiority will have won the equiva
lent of a war in demonstrating the superior viability of his system in the eyes of the world. In this context, unlike an athletic contest, to be first in one phase is of relatively little long-range importance. But you must be in the running in all important aspects, you must have at least some “firsts,” and you can't afford to be very far behind in any department before you will be tagged as a second-rate and a failing power—an easy pushover with all the accompanying dangers. In accepting this challenge, America with its far more powerful economic apparatus, can maintain the pace of the contest with much less strain on its system,
Well, say the skeptics, why not accept the space race purely for the political race that it is, and
forget all about the science and so on. See how much money you could save. This, I submit, is a most superficial and unrealistic attitude. First of all, exploration of space means, by definition, the scientific exploration of space-the precise measurement and definition of what you have found, and accomplished. I point out that each Russian space spectacular has been accomplished by efforts toward real scientific objectives. Without the employment of the most advanced conceivable science as the tool for exploration, the space race would degenerate into an athletic contest-a “phony” recognizable by all peoples. There is no advantage to winning a “phony war. The scientific objectives are real and powerful by themselves; but they are also an integral part of the political objectives... Moreover, support of the required space science is only a "drop-inthe-bucket” compared to total costs. Our country saw a closely analogous situation in colonial days, when in the 1760's the race to measure the transit of Venus assumed political importance. Then as now purely scientific objectives were also unavoidably integrated with political objectives. Incidentally, our scientific accomplishments, then, gave us no small measure of confidence in our independent capabilities during our quarrel with King George III (cf. Brooke Hindle “The Pursuit of Science in Revolutionary America,” North Carolina Press, 1957).
But aside from the importance of the scientific exploration of space both for scientific and for political reasons, there is another impelling reason to maintain space science at a high level. A straight engineering approach to space exploration will work until you encounter a serious failure arising from natural causes you don't clearly understand. Then you are brought to a shuddering and expensive halt. Common sense dictates that we must extend our scientific understanding of space as far as possible prior to every step. Then the probability of disastrous and unretrievable failure is vastly reduced for we will understand the space medium with which we deal.
In balancing these complex policy goals—the scientific, the civil, the military, and the political-our Government with its Space Council and Space Agency, acting together with the Congress, proceeded with extraordinary maturity in formulating our basic space policy in 1961. That policy puts reasonable emphasis on each aspect of the program. That policy recognizes the civil opportunities for deployment of space capability in communications, in meteorology, in navigation, perhaps later in transportation. It comprehends the spur of an advanced technology, essential in creating an advanced educational and industrial posture. It foresees the ultimate return of the space investment in innovation of new industry and consequent generation of employment. The policy recognizes that no leading nation can allow its military posture in space to deteriorate, particularly during the contest with communism. The policy recognizes that no space program could hope to achieve its goals successfully without emphasis on science, not only to circumvent failure, but also to make our space goals the real goals of scientific exploration. The policy comprehends that unless there is a valid scientific objective, political objectives lose their reality. It thereby recognizes that imperative need to keep American space science at the forefront. Above all, that policy realizes that success in space, out of the sum of these elements, represents a recognizable level of technological dexterity from which the world will judge the efficacy of our national capabilities. Now particularly, it realizes that should the communist powers possess a real and significant advantage in this capacity, they might readily be encouraged into irresponsible international adventure, perhaps leading to war, out of a false sense of superiority and rash overconfidence engendered from such unique successes in space. Therefore, to counteract the potential of a unique Soviet success, the contest for every major space objective becomes unavoidable.
In annunciating this policy, our Government generated certain goals directed toward a properly balanced program. These goals embraced the scientific, civil, military, and political objectives. Among them, and quite properly, was the objective, to land a man on the Moon. This was a genuine goal in itself, further enforced by the earlier Soviet declaration of their intention of proceeding vigorously toward this objective, with the scientific objective of lunar exploration.
In recent months there has been a growing tendency on the part of some to view this as the only goal of our space program. These views would force us to reduce and to warp the original goals, thus degenerating the space program to a mere athletic contest. Such degradation of the program could be extremely damaging to the whole Western position. Such action would ultimately lead to failure of the program.
As in all great social problems, it is impossible to unravel the complex interrelations between science in space, the civil and the military objectives, and the political goals. You cannot say that one is worth this much, another that much, etc., and that the sum of given parts should represent the total cost-or the total value. Each part of the package has strong reflections and interactions with the others--50 we cannot avoid commitment to the whole package. If science were the only objective of space exploration, the form of the debate would be quite different. It is not. Therefore the balance must be struck on space policy out of all factors, combining philosophical "value” judgments.
The only control available to us is the rate at which we can proceed. Our space leaders now say that our budgets are geared to "optimum' rate; that is the rate at which successive essential steps can reasonably and efficiently be taken without risking disastrous failure. The rate is geared to reasonably rapid test of ideas that can retain the interest of the “first team" of scientists and engineers. The only room for argument is about the application he word "optimum" to specific programs embraced in our total space effort. Here is plenty of room for constructive and informed discussions.
The NASA and the DOD have both acted with mature consideration in balancing these objectives as defined by congressional and executive policy. Quite clearly, they are endeavoring to maintain the delicate balance between science, engineering, and application, leading to optimum speed and effectiveness toward the political goals. There has been close consultation with the Space Science Board of the National Academy of Sciences on the basic scientific framework that constitutes an effective space science program. But a critical danger always lurks in the background that must be watched closely. Since to do a moon program at all, we must have a vehicle, budget cuts would tend to skim the cream of science off the top. I reiterate that this would ultimately deteriorate the program to an athletic contest, and end, either in complete failure for lack of ability to circumvent unforeseen roadblocks, or in failure with respect to both the scientific and the real political goals. Se we, as scientists, have a continuing responsibility to undertake quite critical analyses of the effects of such budget changes on the ultimate goals.
Let me turn then to one final policy matter. Many have said “Why send man on such a dangerous mission,', Wouldn't it be better to use instruments. Can't instruments do everything that man can do, and a lot cheaper. A man in space takes a huge weight in his life support systems just think what you can do with instruments of the same weight. See how much money you could save.
Of course, the preliminary unmanned surveys are planned with scientific instruments to define the frame of reference in which future work must be done. There are now planned a whole series of unmanned tests precedent to manned landing, and both unmanned and manned studies and circumlunar surveys of the lunar geography and environment. And, present scientific studies of our atmosphere and interplanetary space are providing the knowledge which will make the manned venture a safe one. Out of this knowledge later and more sophisticated studies will be conceived and conducted.
As we approach the more advanced studies we need means of broad comprehension to tell us which studies will be most productive in a relatively unknown horizon. We need a skilled interpretation of the broad situation from which alternative courses of action can be weighed objectively. If we were to try to design an instrument to exercises this broad comprehension, I suspect it would look surprisingly like a man. And we don't know how to make such an instru; ment. So we have little alternative at the more sophisticated experimental level but to use man, himself, to direct our own studies and experiments into the right frame of reference. Again, we see that political and scientific objectives overlap.
In its report, last summer's Study Group of the National Academy of Sciences recommended that young but highly skilled scientists be included in the program for astronaut training. I believe this to be essential if space exploration is to be deeply scientific and not phony.. Failure to do this in my opinion would turn out to be a major national "butch" for the sophisticated level of scientific judgment needed for this mission is not something that you learn in a few lessons, like flying an airplane. And there is no reason why highly skilled and carefully
selected scientists cannot be trained and qualified to take their place on the astronaut team.
To do a genuine job, the astronaut team must be a well-rounded team including great scientific skills. So we should get on with training some scientist-astronauts without delay. From my reading of the Russians, I am positive they will do so. Our failure to provide the maximum scientific capability on the astronaut teamsa capability whose comprehension and critical observations can steer future space science into the really effective channels—would greatly strengthen the argument of those who would do the job with instruments alone. For these reasons, the recent statement of the Administrator of NASA takes on the greatest significance: “It is apparent that the views of the scientists that trained scientific personnel should participate is valid, and that at the earliest appropriate stage in the program, scientists will be included on Apollo missions."
I believe that plans, selection, and training for scientific participation should be initiated at once. I could mention other specific weaknesses in the program that I feel sure can and will be worked out. For example, we have not brought the full power of the biological sciences to bear on either the problem of manned space flight, or on the major problems of exo-biology, Aerospace adds a third dimension to man's existence, and with that new dimension, altogether new orders of velocity, acceleration, temperature, and a host of other new ecologic limits. Where before, man's range of adaptation involved no serious limits, our new world of aerospace finds man's adaptive capability as a limiting parameter. Consequently, not only man's gross physiological and psychological response to extreme environments must be understood, but also the detailed comprehension of the underlying responses of each element of man's organization to extremes of environment, we can hope to perceive means of broadening his adaptive capability.
We must not be deluded by our successes into believing that we have these problems solved since we have scarcely ventured into this new environment.
We have not yet fully_faced the difficult physiological problems of adaptation of man to his vehicle. We have not given sufficient thought to the psychological problems of the necessary ease and reliability of command of the vehicle, or of the confidence that must be engendered in the space explorer if he is to face the most difficult problems of all time without, just plain "going to pieces." We have not fully explored the problems of those men as they must go calmly about making critical and reliable observations and recording them in the face of a cruel environment. These, with a hundred other problems of space, should force us to ask quite new questions of space, should force us to ask quite new questions of nature, from which begin to view our natural environment in quite new perspectives. Therefore, I would hope for an alliance between NASA, the National Institutes of Health, and the biological strengths of our universities, in attacking these problems more adequately.
Nevertheless, important as these matters may be, they are details of a much more massive program.
In looking at our whole space program critically, one cannot but conclude that our Nation has approached and undertaken the program with great intelligence. With respect to the details, we have the opportunity to be be heard, and to have our case weighed. But considering our late start, considering the complexity of the problem and difficult technologies to be mastered, the program has been planned with extraordinary foresight. It seems to me that many of the critics of the program appear unduly harsh, and, I must say singularly uninformed, some in spite of positions of national leadership. Particularly in scientific circles, broad criticism seems appropriate only after most thorough study and mastery of the situation, I would hope that in the critical discussions of some of the alternative details of the space program, we do not seem to indict the whole program without thorough knowledge of it.
, For example, we have always known that there are four major systems approaches to landing on the moon. There are proponents of each. Each system offers quite different difficulties and complexities, and they are difficult to compare until we have acquired actual experience in flying energy and rocket complexity but requires perfection of the major capability of rendezvous in lunar orbit. Likewise, each of the other systems require solution of major technological problems.
Now it is understandable that there should be justifiable differences of opinion regarding the selection of a particular system from among four possible systems. Quite obviously, since we can't use all four, for reasons of cost if nothing else, a selection of one has had to be made. The decision was made only after exhaustive study, and it is now time to unite behind that decision and get on with the job.