PIONEERING THE SPACE FRONTIER

An Exciting

Vision of Our Next Fifty

Years in Space

The Report of the National Commission on Space


DEDICATION

This report is dedicated to the crew of the

Space Shuttle Challenger, Flight 51-L:

FRANCIS R. SCOBEE

Mission Commander

MICHAEL J. SMITH

Pilot

JUDITH A. RESNIK

Mission Specialist

ELLISON S. ONIZUKA

Mission Specialist

RONALD E. McNAIR

Mission Specialist

GREGORY B. JARVIS

Payload Specialist

S. CHRISTA McAULIFFE

Payload Specialist

"They had a hunger to explore the Universe and discover its truths… They,

the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers… The future doesn't belong to

the faint-hearted. It belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the

future, and we'll continue to follow them."

-PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN


PIONEERING

THE

SPACE FRONTIER

The Report of the National Commission on Space

Bantam Books

TORONTO · NEW YORK · LONDON · SYDNEY · AUCKLAND


PIONEERING THE SPACE FRONTIER

A Bantam Book /May 1986
 
 

The Original artwork created for this report was not prepaid at

Cover. A settlement on Man in the 21st Century. Courtesy Robert McCall,
 
 
 
 

Book design by Barbara N. Cohen

Cover art and inside illustrations copyright @1986 by Bantam Books, Inc.

For information address: Bantam Books, Inc.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

United States National Commission on Space

Pioneering the space frontier

Bibliography: p. 203

1 Outer Space-Exploration-United States

2. Astronautics-United States I. Title.

TL789.8.U5U565.1986 629.4’0973 .86-7958

ISBN 0-533-34314-9

Published simultaneously in the United States and Canada


 
 

Bantam Books are published by Bantam Books, Inc., its trademark, consisting

of the Words "Bantam Books" and the portrayal of a rooster is Registered

in U.S. patent and Trademark Office and in other countries, Registrada.

Bantam Books, Inc., 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10103.

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

WAK 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

(MISSING PICTURES)


While predicting the future can be hazardous, sometimes it can be done. In 1951, Wernher von Braun and Chesley Bonestell predicted a future in space, above, with a reusable launch vehicle, a space telescope, and a rotating space station. Below is an illustration by Robert McCall which shows this, vision coming true. The space shuttle is a reality, the Hubble Space Telescope will be launched In the near future, and the Space Station wi11 be in operation by the mid-1990s.


(MISSING PICTURES)
 
 

LOOKING FIFTY YEARS INTO THE

FUTURE

The year is 1935. Pan American Airways is inaugurating trans-Pacific service, with additional flying boats on order to open trans-Atlantic service in 1939. The last Pony Express rider turns over his mail pouch to a young biplane pilot while newsreel cameras grind. Almost nobody expects to fly the Atlantic-that's for daredevils like Lindbergh-but half a million people per year cross in ocean liners. Washington's chief concern is the Federal Deficit: $30 billion in revenues versus $50 billion in outlays (1985 dollars).

The year is 1985. Could we explain to a visitor from 1935 that more than 25 million people now fly the Atlantic every year? That 16 years ago astronauts flew at 24,790 miles per hour to the Moon? That communication satellites are flashing color television signals around the world? That a spacecraft has transmitted pictures and data from Uranus across 1.8 billion miles , and is now flying on to Neptune? That supercomputers are being used to design next-generation spacecraft that will drastically reduce the cost of space travel? Washington's grappling with the Federal Budget deficit might sound familiar, but 50 years of cumulative technological advance would be beyond comprehension.

What will 2035 be like? The National Commission on Space has been charged by the Congress and the President to look into the future to propose civilian space goals for 21st-century America. It is as challenging for us today to envision the advanced world of 2035 as it was to foresee today's world back in 1935. Even the most visionary science fiction writer then failed to foresee the scale of the resources that would be needed to initiate the Space Age, and that no one imagined these would become available within 25 years. Looking to the future, we are confident that the next century will see pioneering men and women from many nations working and living throughout the inner Solar System. Space travel will be as safe and inexpensive for our grandchildren as jet travel is for us. Our vision and our recommendations are outlined in this report. Through vigorous leadership on the space frontier, America can make this happen.


CONTENTS

DECLARATION FOR SPACE

A PIONEERING MISSION FOR 21ST-CENTURY AMERICA 2

RATIONALE FOR EXPLORING AND SETTLING THE SOLAR SYSTEM 3

A NEW LONG-RANGE CIVILIAN SPACE PROGRAM 5

BENEFITS 18

I. CIVILIAN SPACE GOALS FOR 21st-CENTURY AMERICA

ADVANCING SCIENCE 25

EXPLORING, PROSPECTING, AND SETTLING THE SOLAR SYSTEM 59

SPACE ENTERPRISE 75

II. LOW-COST ACCESS TO THE SOLAR SYSTEM

BUILDING THE TECHNOLOGY BASE 95

HIGHWAY TO SPACE 107

BRIDGE BETWEEN WORLDS 131

III. OPENING THE SPACE FRONTIER: THE NEXT 20 YEARS

AN ECONOMICAL, PHASED APPROACH 145

CONDUCTING AN EFFECTIVE SCIENCE PROGRAM 149

GOVERNMENT POLICY AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR 153

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AND COMPETITION 157

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THE SPACE PROGRAM 169

IV. AMERICAN LEADERSHIP ON THE SPACE FRONTIER: THE NEXT 50 YEARS

21ST-CENTURY AMERICA 183

WHAT OUR RECOMMENDED PROGRAM WILL DO 192

CONTENTS (Continued)

APPENDIX

PHOTOGRAPHS OF COMMISSIONERS 194

NON-VOTING MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON SPACE 195

STAFF OF THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON SPACE 195

GLOSSARY 196

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 199

BIBLIOGRAPHY 203