The National Space Society was disappointed to learn of
President Clinton's recent line-item vetoes of several small
military space programs.
Clementine 2 asteroid intercept mission, as with Clementine 1,
would have been the most cost-effective approach to combining
important technology demonstrations with real scientific missions.
Data on the mechanical strength of asteroid Toutatis would have
provided vital input to the construction of weapons capable of
deflecting asteroids or comets on a collision course with Earth.
The threat of worldwide devastation from this kind of impact should
very much be a Department of Defense (DoD)
line-item veto also cancelled funding for the military space plane.
While the National Space Society cannot address the merits of any
missions for which the space plane might have been used, we do
recognize the ability of the DoD's project to address a specific
combination of needs related to lowering the cost to access space.
Even though NASA is developing space plane-related technology, this
combination -- global range, extremely fast response, very low cost
per flight, and small support and ops crews -- cannot be addressed
by current NASA, commercial technology or development
National Space Society encourages the Congress, the Administration
and the DoD to re-examine the status of these vetoed programs, in
particular Clementine 2, in order to identify options to reinstate