A Vision of Greatness

by Kathleen J. Murphy

We in the United States face an awesome challenge: NASA's role well into the next millennium must be decided now. The project goals to be achieved over the next quarter century need to be set in order now. Our scarce financial resources need to be allocated now to those projects that will maximize our long-term productivity.

NASA's course must be worthy, its execution impeccable, and its understanding of (and tolerance for) risk tailored to the unique developmental requirements of each situation.

Alternatives are abundant. The key to success, however, is our willingness as a nation to commit to a shared notion of greatness. Only steeled by such a commitment can we hope to make the wealth-creating technological advances and significant scientific discoveries to sustain our leadership into the 21 st century.

A lot has happened since the 1984 NASA summer study, and even since the 1989 declaration by President Bush-on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the landing on the Moon-that the U.S. space program will be redirected toward sustained exploration of space. Who would have imagined that in this short time peace would break out all over: that urgent longings for democracy would thrust China into a massive internal rebellion; that the yearnings of Eastern Europeans would thrash the Berlin Wall to dust; that in the space of a few weeks skeptical Romanian and Czechoslovakian people would shake off their totalitarian systems in completely decent and peaceful ways. The surprising occurrence of these monumental events fills one with awe and wonder at the changes that lie ahead as we near the end of a millennium. One can only imagine the truths we have yet to discover, the many realities yet to unfold.

Full of hopes, dreams, visions of where these blossomings may lead us as a global community, we are at the same time crushed by alarming realities at homeweighed down by our massive budget deficit, surprised at the growing political irrelevance and eroding commercial competitiveness of the United States in the world, and shattered and saddened by the problems plaguing the former hallmark of our technological prowess, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in the aftershock from the Space Shuttle Challenger disasterthe January 1986 explosion that thrust the organization into a massive reevaluation. And now an agenda is under consideration that is so broad, so costly, and so far beyond the scope of human experience to date that the risks are extraordinary. It is only with courage and humility that cost estimates of these yet uncharted courses can even be attempted, as the potential for unpredicted events is enormous.

In November 1989, NASA laid out five approaches to going to the Moon and Mars using techniques and technologies the agency had studied for years and sometimes decades. Implementation would take more than a quarter of a century at a cost of $400 billion. That is regarded by the current Administration as simply too long and too much (Hilts 1990b). Eager to arrive at a realizable agenda, the Bush Administration has commissioned exhaustive brainstorming to refocus and redirect the U.S. space program, under the guidance of the National Space Council and its head, Vice President Dan Quayle. How can the "Bush vision" be molded into a challenging, yet realizable, program supported by adequate, consistent funding? How can NASA best prepare itself to bring the Bush Administration's redirection to fruition? This paper assesses NASA from organizational, strategic, and financial perspectives to determine if it is well positioned to meet the challenges of space exploration and development on into the next millennium:

Section 1:
Defining a Worthy Vision
Leaders, through their visionary grasp of the possible, energize their followers and marshal them toward fulfillment of the goal. A vision is an energizing view of the future role or function of an organization, including its distinctive values, skills, and operating style. As a coherent directive, a vision statement provides focus: it provides a context for evaluating the appropriateness of potential missions and objectives; it suggests criteria for distinctive performance; and it empowers decisionmakers throughout the organization to raise issues, assess options, and make choices. Always articulating the value to be delivered to those having a stake in an organization, the vision statement further provides a standard against which to evaluate external competitive positioning of the organization over the long term.

The Bush Administration perceives that there is a crisis of vision. Vice President Dan Quayle has commented that "Despite our continued scientific and technological preeminence, our Government has not done as well as it could have in marshaling the resources and the leadership necessary to keep us ahead in space. Our competitive advantage in technology has disappeared" (Hilts 1990b). Such a perceived crisis of direction cannot be tolerated for long, because NASA, our spearhead of technological innovation, has a responsibility of critical strategic significance to our nation. To ensure that NASA is on a worthy course, a vision of NASA's future greatness must be clearly defined, the value to be delivered by NASA must be fully understood, and the skills and style required to execute the vision must be specifically identified.

Notions of Greatness

The directive to explore and develop space is a boundless undertaking that is not likely to reach fruition in our lifetime (unless, of course, our technological breakthroughs advance at an exponential rate, or unless we have the good fortune to come to know other intelligence in the universe that has already figured everything out).

In contrast, the U.S. space program appears to have undergone short-term eras of leadership, demarcated by changes in President. The U.S. space program, framed by the President's vision perhaps more than any other program because of its discretionary financing, is often planned in terms of accomplishments realizable during that President's term in office. The implemented program is the result of an iterative process: The vision set by the President is constrained by the financial resources allocated by Congress, delimited by the technological capabilities held in hand by NASA (and other U.S. academic, commercial, and engineering institutions), and dependent on the willingness of the American people to sustain support over the project lifetime. There is an expense involved in this iterative process: Each change of vision creates new issues, alters priorities, and redefines standards. It is far more cost-effective to develop a strategy for human exploration of the solar system that can endure for at least 20 years, longer than the term of any one President, most members of Congress, or the average NASA manager (Aaron et al. 1989).

NASA has had at least three distinct directives since its inception in the 1960s, not counting the redirection under way since the Bush Administration took office (see table 1). This table shows the Proposed Strategic Eras and Program Effectiveness for the U.S. Manned Space Program from 1960-2000.) A brief review of these "strategic eras" demonstrates the impact of Presidential vision on the organization up to now and suggests parameters for the most effective vision statement for the 1990s and beyond.

The Kennedy Vision: Establish U.S. technological supremacy in the world.

President John F. Kennedy launched the space program with a bold vision and a determined foresight that have not been enjoyed since. Envisioning the U.S. space program as the established of U.S. technological supremacy in the world, he chose as the focused mission objective a race to place a man on the Moon and return him safely to the Earth before the end of the decade. The entire program was a masterful demonstration of management efficiency and control, as the mission, relying on hundreds of thousands of subcontractors, was completed on time and on budget. The Apollo Program (Photo of the Apollo 14 rollout Nov. 9, 1970) achieved the desired technology goals, as it reawakened interest in science and engineering, enhanced international competitiveness, preserved high technology industrial skills, and marshaled major advances in computers and micro-miniaturization (Sawyer 1989). The program was aweinspiring, enjoyed enormous funding support, and established a reputation for NASA that was to endure until it blew up with the Space Shuttle Challenger in January 1986.

The Nixon Vision: Provide economical access to space for military and commercial purposes.

President Richard M. Nixon chose a very specific vision which, if successful, would have provided important commercial benefits to the United States and, if realized during his term in office, would have been a credit to his administration. He envisioned NASA as providing economical access to space for military as well as commercial purposes. The mission which was specifically articulated, was to create a reusable transport vehicle that could capture 75 per cent of the commercial payloads worldwide. While a reusable Space Shuttle has been developed and put into operation, it has never achieved the economic objectives which were an essential component of the vision. the Shuttle will simply never be able to provide the cheap, versatile, and reliable access to space it was supposed to, because it is a complex sophisticated vehicle-a Ferrari, not a truck (Budiansky 1987-88). Nevertheless the National Academy of Sciences has noted that the Space Shuttle engine (A photo of the Lift-off of STS-1, April 12, 1981) was the only significant development in space propulsion technology in the past 20 years.

The Reagan Vision: Foster a private-sector space industry.

The directive to establish a permanently manned space station was a subsidiary mission in the Reagan era, subordinate to his vision of a Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). However, to be worth $30 billion, the space station should really serve some worthwhile national purpose. Commercial applications have obviously been grossly overstated, As companies have backed off space manufacturing since solutions have already been developed on Earth. Furthermore, such a mission had been rejected in favor of the lunar mission by President Kennedy in 1961, a space station (Rendering of Space Station Freedom by Al Chinchar) not being considered bold enough for the 1960s (Del Guidice 1989) (although Skylab was built, flown, and manned three times in the 1970s).

The Bush Vision: Establish the United States as the preeminent spacefaring nation.

President George H. W. Bush's tentative vision for the U.S. space program is of "spacefarer," suggesting a navigator, one who sets or charts a course. His priority missions are to establish a permanent entity in space and begin sustained manned exploration of the solar system. At this writing, the mission agenda of the Bush Administration has not been finalized. Vice President Quayle has requested that the NASA Administrator, Richard H. Truly, ensure that our space exploration program is benefiting from a broad range of ideas about different architectures, new system concepts, and promising technologies (Concept of a lunar base), as well as opportunities to cut costs through expanding international cooperation. He asked Truly to query the best and most innovative minds in the country-in universities, at Federal research centers, within our aerospace industry, and elsewhere. NASA will take the lead in the search and will be responsible for evaluating ideas (Broad 1990a).

Alternate: The Havel Vision: Uncover the secrets of the universe.

In a 1990 interview (with Barbara Walters on the ABC television program 20-20) Vaclav Havel, President of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, stated that we still have a long way to go in our development, as we still have not yet "uncovered the secrets of the universe." It is interesting to select such an idea as an alternate vision, as a "control" to assess whether President Bush's notion of greatness goes far enough and is sustainable over the long term. Effectively, the difference between .. spacefaring" and "secret uncovering" is that between the means and the end, the journey and the arrival.

Vaclav Havel, a former political prisoner and a playwright, has demonstrated a clarity and a profundity in his political statements at Czechoslovakia's helm that are truly visionary and thought provoking. On the occasion of his visit to the U.S. Congress in February 1990, he articulated the pace of change: "The human face of the world is changing so rapidly that none of the familiar political speedometers are adequate. We playwrights, who have to cram a whole human life or an entire historical era into a two-hour play, can scarcely understand this rapidity ourselves." And he articulated his vision of the role of intellectuals in shaping the new Europe-which can be compared to the role of space technology and science in clearing the path for the space age: "The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness, and in human responsibility. The only genuine backbone of our actions-if they are to be moral is responsibility. Responsibility to something higher than my family, my country, my firm, my success" (quoted by Friedman 1990).

Recognizing that everything we know of any importance about the universe we've found out in the last 50 years or so (Wilford 1990a), it would not be unrealistic to expect great truths to be unfolded in the 50 years to come. Numerous projects on NASA's drawing boards today promise to unlock important secrets in the near future. For example, it is hard to imagine a more exciting secret than whether or not there is other intelligent life in the universe. The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), a proposed $100 million, 10-year project, funded by NASA but operated by an independent nonprofit group, plans to build a highly advanced radio receiver that will simultaneously scan 14 million channels of radio waves from existing radio telescopes around the world. The National Academy of Sciences has stated that it is hard to imagine a discovery that would have greater impact on human perceptions than the detection of extraterrestrial intelligence (Broad 1990b).

Expected Values

The vision statement conveys standards of excellence: "Be a technology leader." "Provide transportation economically." "Be an explorer, a navigator, a spacefarer." It determines which values are given precedence, thus providing a standard by which to determine relative degrees of excellence, usefulness, or worth of tasks performed within the organization. Each value to be delivered targets a potential competitive advantage or some economic leverage to be derived from realization of the vision. The purpose of a commercial organization is to create wealth for its shareholders. As a Government-sponsored institution, NASA has a value to its shareholders-the U.S. taxpayers that is much broader and more complex.

A review of the literature reveals a broad range of opinions held by the public regarding what NASA's value is. Probably the lively debate over the efficacy of the space program exists precisely because of this wide disagreement. The composite list of "values" that NASA "should" be delivering, which follows, seems remarkably similar to Maslow's hierarchy of needs (fig. 3), (Maslow's hierarchy of needs pyramid chart. His theory of human personality has become probably the most influential conceptual basis for employee motivation to be found in modern industry. The needs occur in the order in which they are presented, physiological first. Until one level of need is fairly well satisfied, the next higher need does not even emerge. Once a particular set of needs is fulfilled, it no longer motivates. Source Rush 1976). from the most basic physiological need for survival (deriving economic "bread" from commercial activities), through safety, social, and esteem needs, and finally to the peak experience of creativity and selfactualization. Maslow's theory postulates that the most basic needs must be satisfied before higher needs can be addressed.

Develop products and services with clear economic advantages.

Many look to NASA as a wellspring of new product and service innovations that are expected to keep the U.S. economy competitive in the world. This economic focus expects a perfectly managed program (on the order of the Apollo days) with only outstanding economic results. Any news about the difficulties of engineering the highly complex technologies of today is not welcome. NASA is given causal responsibility for ensuring U.S. competitiveness in the world: "Space leadership and technological leadership are tied together. Just as technological leadership and American competitiveness are tied together" (Anderson 1988). Furthermore, NASA is expected to fuel as well as fully interact with the private sector in their joint development and spinoff efforts. "In the vastness of technology, mutual dependence between government and the private sector nourishes both"Thomas G. Pownall, Chairman, Martin Marietta (Rappleye 1986).

Uncover facts through the scientific method.

Others see NASA as a herald of science: both putting scientific knowledge to work in the engineering feats of space exploration and adding to our scientific understanding of the solar system. This view suggests an approach to space exploration that minimizes threats of loss of life or health, a highly disciplined approach grounded in the scientific method. Indeed, with the exception of the race to put the first man on the Moon, NASA has approached solar system exploration in a step-by-step fashion. And remarkable engineering and scientific accomplishments have been made by NASA's missions to the Moon (Ranger, Surveyor, Apollo) and to the planets (Mariner, Pioneer, Viking, Voyager). Scientist astronaut Sally Ride thinks NASA should continue in this tradition. She has stated that NASA should avoid a spectacular "race to Mars" and establish a lunar outpost as part of a measured exploration of the solar system. "We should adopt a strategy to continue an orderly expansion outward from the Earth ... a strategy of evolution and natural progression" (quoted by Broad 1989). Other space experts would like NASA's scientific focus to be inward toward the Earth. "We'd better pursue the things that work in space, like surveying the Earth's resources, weather patterns, climatic change things of direct and daily human importance" (Brown 1989).

Uplift mankind.

There are more emotionally motivated constituents who value NASA not for what it does scientifically but for the social, cultural, or political impact it has on our collective consciousness, whether national or global. The success of the space program as .,a cultural evolution may open many new options, including opportunities to ease global tensions, help the developing world, and create a new culture off our planet" (Lawler 1985). "The U.S. will again lead the world in developing space for the benefit of its citizens and future generations throughout the world" (Rockwell 1986). "Going to Mars is an international endeavor. Political benefits can be derived immediatelynot 30 years from now but every year, through a joint project with other countries, and the Soviet Union in particular" (Del Guidice 1989). Perhaps the most shining example of this ability of the space program to uplift and unite is the phenomenon of more than 600 million people who gathered at their local television sets around the world in July 1969 to witness the U.S. landing on the Moon 241 500 miles away.

Establish and sustain U.S. technological leadership.

Others view NASA as the determinant of our technological leadership in the world and therefore a source of esteem. "It is humanity's destiny to strive, to seek, to find ... it is America's destiny to lead" (Rosenthal 1989). Essentially, "we must either reaffirm U.S. preeminence in space or permit other nations to catch up or surpass us at the crucial juncture" (Gorton 1986). Under this value system, leadership can be dangerously misconstrued to mean "pay for everything." True opportunities for differentiated, competitive leadership need to be understood and aggressively pursued; however, the basis of world esteem for our space program should be authentic technological achievement and not simply financial daring.

Provide a religious or peak experience.

Finally, there is a profoundly fulfilling dimension to truly marvelous achievements and truly humbling failures. "There is something almost religious about man in space. The human exploration of the solar system appears quasi-religious, while automated exploration is 'pure science"' (Brown 1989).

Space exploration has a profound moral dimension that cannot be transgressed. The natural law, when followed, leads on to fulfillment of the mission but, when violated, leads to difficulties and even death. In these days of avarice and deception that seem to escape the heavy hand of justice, the joys and sorrows of space exploration are tied to a morality that does not play favorites. Compare the infamous Wall Street "junk bond" crisis or the savings and loan debacle, engineered by those who made their own rules and used the system for personal gain, violating all standards of fair play, to space explorers, who are obliged to uncover "the" rule and advance strictly within its limits. In spite of the wonderful heroism of the seven astronauts who rode the Challenger to its demise, the violation of the temperature limits of the "0" rings led to immediate ruin. It is the very discovery of the rule-how things work-that makes the quantum leap possible. Effective communication of this "truth" and "honor" of technological and scientific exploration is sure to shift prestige away from Wall Street and draw career candidates into engineering and science.

Space exploration will entail extraordinary adventure and discovery, but also enormous risk and personal sacrifice. The deep personal commitment that will be required to depart on the long journey replicates the religious motif of death and resurrection:

One might wonder how a Government sponsored research agency could possibly fulfill this broad range of expectations. In fact, excellent performance of the task which NASA does best-advancing technology and science will provide both practical and ennobling results.

It is the almost instantaneous globalization of technological innovations and the transformative impact on quality of life of scientific breakthroughs that contributes, day by day, to the emergence of a vision of one citizenry, one planet.

If this set of expected values is held up to the Bush and Havel visions, we see that the Bush vision may influence technology development and require the advancement of science to steer the course; the Bush journey may establish our leadership positionif we are the first to make it; the journey may require courage and thus be inspiring. But Bush's vision does not have the closure that Havel's vision has. If we make the journey in order to uncover the secrets of the universe and if we succeed in realizing that vision, it is certain that a peak experience filled with awe and wonder will be an integral part of "truth's" unfolding.

Elements of Excellent Execution

A worthy vision, excellently executed, reaps outstanding results. Skills form the bridge between strategy and execution. The expected values determine the kind of skills needed. American taxpayers look to their national space exploration and development program for highly competitive new products and services, scientific facts, an uplifting perspective, preeminent technological leadership, and ethical and moral fortitude.

Excellence, grace, skill in execution conveys an organization's essence or style. But NASA does many things. NASA is not a single business unit, but a broad, rich organization with activities under way on many levels. What does NASA do? NASA is a problemsolver, trying to diagnose the startling environmental symptoms occurring on Planet Earth; NASA is an innovative engineer of technological advances; NASA is a conceiver, designer, implementer of "big science" experiments and exploration projects; NASA is the developer of the Space Shuffle and Space Station Freedom and would like to be the developer of colonies on the Moon and Mars; and NASA is the operator of the Space Shuttle, although operations are clearly not within its charter. Each set of functional tasks requires a different set of skills and styles of management as well as distinctive guidelines and criteria for measuring results and assessing whether they are appropriately aligned with the overall vision. It is the vision, however, that pulls all of these incongruous tasks together and weaves their diverse contributions into a single recognizable achievement.

However, the vision must be decided upon: Which vision, "spacefarer" or ,.secret uncoverer," best focuses the NASA organization on worthy accomplishments over the next 20 to 30 years? My purpose here is not to promote one visionary concept over another but rather to demonstrate the role and function of a vision in coloring the entire decision-making process within an organization.

The Skilled Professional

Excellent performance of NASA's multitude of tasks requires a rich array of the very best skills available in America today. Nothing less than the very best minds should be brought to bear on this major potential to revitalize our nation. The critical skills essential to executing NASA's numerous tasks include

The notion of vision ranks these critical skills and determines who will implement the vision. If we want to be the preeminent spacefarers, then perhaps navigational skills and entrepreneurial judgment will be the critical skills required by the organization. However, if the pursuit is of truths about the universe, then perhaps the ability to solve problems and the ability to innovate, experiment, create will be the most critical skills required.

The skilled professional may be homegrown or hired with the appropriate experience or contracted to fill a short term need. But we will apply different evaluation criteria in searching for a "spacefarer" than in searching for a "secret uncoverer." To realize the "spacefarer" vision, we would look for the characteristics of an explorer, an adventurer, a risk taker. To accomplish the "secret uncoverer" vision, we would need a more rigorous expertise based on proven results in innovating, discovering, inventing. The first suggests a fortitude in facing the unknown. The second suggests facing the unknown, wrestling the unknown to the ground, and rising victorious with insight into its parts and how the parts relate to each other to create the whole. The criteria for selection become more rigorous; the measures of successful performance, more precise.

The only way to reduce the timeframe and cost of research and experimentation and maximize effectiveness is to bring the best minds to bear on critical problems. Even if a premium must be paid over industry rates to attract such talent, the resulting maximization of NASA's output with respect to its vision would more than compensate for the increased investment in human capital.

To be able to respond agilely to problems and projects as they arise, NASA should be exempt from certain Civil Service regulations and be given flexibility in personnel hiring, advancement, retirement, and the assembling and disbanding of teams, as well as the resources to reward truly significant, ground-breaking, wealth-creating contributions. The Pivotal Job

The pivotal jobs are those that are critical to demonstrating the vision. Those holding such jobs are effectively the delegated vision actualizers who, given sufficient leeway, exercise their judgment, intuition, and responsibility in service of the vision.

Jobs are considered pivotal if they are essential to convincing the American taxpayer that NASA is producing the desired result or achieving the desired strategic objective. They demonstrate that the vision is becoming actualized. Pivotal jobs might include

If we are to be a nation of spacefarers, it is the astronaut who holds the pivotal job of demonstrating to the American people that we are indeed venturing out into space, navigating beyond Planet Earth. However, if we are to uncover the secrets of the universe, the engineer, the scientist, the brainstormer or communicator might hold the pivotal job, as such tasks embody the exhaustive search for unnoticed relationships and their significance.

The Focused Team The projects on NASA's drawing board are beyond the ability of any single organization to implement, let alone single individuals. So, although it is critical that each individual represent the very best human potential our country has to offer, each must also have the uncanny ability to enrich, nourish, and apply that expertise in pursuit of a common goal, through highly focused teamwork. The end product parameters must be clearly defined, and the accumulating insight must be continously shared among team members.

An individual professional's skill permits ready execution of a task at a high level of competence. An issue of concern is the potential dichotomy between the highly specialized professional and the highly synergistic team. Each specialist has his own vision of quality achievement and his own sphere of personal interests. Only through an over-articulated, single noble vision can sufficient energy be unleashed to inspire all toward a common goal. Such approaches as establishing broad spheres of responsibility, using teams extensively, and searching for job rotation opportunities continuously can nourish an ability to see connections and implications and foster more efficient, decentralized decision-making.

As an example, Ingersoll-Rand collapsed the design cycle of a new handtool to 1 year-one-third the normal development time-by breaking down the barriers within the entrepreneurial team and allowing sales, marketing, engineering, and manufacturing to work in unison; i.e., getting everyone to "play in the same sandbox." To avoid the "notinvented-here" syndrome, a core team representing all functional areas held weekly meetings to ensure that, among other things, all members had a stake in every step and it was a team project (Kleinfield 1990).

Staying centered on the creative process and remaining always fresh and innovative requires the ability to focus. The Bureau d'Economie Theorique et Appliquee (BETA) research group believes that innovation is, above all, a process. BETA has conducted four large research programs in the past 10 years, including a study of the space program to illustrate technological learning or change within an industrial network. They have concluded that innovation is an evolutionary phenomenon rather than a sudden happening (Zuscovitch, Heraud, and Cohendet 1988). A compromising environment may get the journey under way, but it will not lead to the fullness of "truth." Such pressures as scoring achievements within a term-in-office timeframe; restricting a project to certain cost limits dictated by the national debt; establishing premature international collaboration simply because we are broke; sticking to known and established technologies no matter how inapplicable they may be; readily accepting unproven technologies because they're supposed to be cheaper-all these pressures constrain the investigative process and lead to half-baked results. If we are going to conduct an exploration program, we should provide the time and money to do the job right.

Where does one begin? How to achieve change, how to start the change process, how to assess whether members of the organization are prepared for change, how to handle obstacles to progress-these are all issues of concern, yet they are all surmountable. The important point to keep in mind is that organizations change all the time. Change readiness can be assessed at all levels of the organization, jobs can be redesigned, skills can be built, and any vision, eagerly embraced, can be brought to fruition.

The Coordination of Complexity The most significant feature of the NASA space program, as compared to all the other programs on Earth today, is the enormous complexity of each individual project and the cumulative complexity of the program in its entirety. The simple experience of engaging our minds in the mastery of such mega-scale products, processes, and projects creates an expertise that serves us well in all aspects of our economic endeavors and in our global competitive positioning. In other words, this managerial experience-in itself provides a unique competitive advantage to our nation.

The Brilliant Achievement

What makes an achievement stand out in our mind as brilliant is colored by our vision. The Apollo landing on the Moon is an example of an impeccable journey. The project was perfectly timed, sequenced, and costed out to run like clockwork. In contrast, the Hubble Space Telescope (fig. 4) has had a sporadic history-on again, off again-over a period of 40 years. It was championed by one person, Dr. Lyman Spitzer, from 1940 to 1950. Project Stratosphere, a prototype 12-inch telescope carried by balloon, was launched in the 1950s. NASA took over in the 1960s and successfully launched two precursor observation launches. Finally completed and launched in April 1990 at the cost of $1.5 billion, more than three times the original projected cost of $435 million, the Hubble telescope has been riddled with difficulties, including the discovery that one of the mirrors was apparently ground to the wrong curvature. Yet the vision remained the same throughout (Wilford 1990c).

Dr. Lyman Spitzer, now 75, wrote in his first proposal for a space telescope over 40 years ago that, "The chief contribution of such a radically new and more powerful instrument would be, not to supplement our present ideas of the universe we live in, but rather to uncover new phenomena not yet imagined, and perhaps to modify profoundly our basic concepts of space and time" (Wilford 1990c).

Under the vision of spacefaring, this project might be regarded as a disaster, because the spacefaring vision focuses on the quality of the journey. In fact, the journey was terrible. The project was subject to numerous postponements, overruns, and delays, and it still (1990) has serious problems even after launch. Yet when the first insightful photograph returns from the telescope, if one of the answers to the three key questions-How fast is the universe expanding? How old is the universe? What is the fate of the universe?-is disclosed, then, under the secret uncovering vision, this project will have been a tremendous success.

Section 2: Scoping a Strategically Significant Mission Agenda

The space program promises to provide a chance to restore Planet Earth to abundant health, a running start on technology leaps beyond our imagination, and access to boundless resources.

The United States has been a trailblazer in space development. Since the heady days of Apollo, the United States has enjoyed a reputation for unprecedented large-scale project management expertise, long-lasting unmanned planetary exploration, a deep institutional experience base in NASA, and unparalleled aerospace leadership-all decisive competitive advantages that have benefited commercial, as well as public endeavors.

However, 20 to 30 years ago, space exploration and development programs were narrowly focused. The science and engineering problems faced today, such as alloys, fuels, distances, are much more complex than those wrestled with during the Apollo Program. A strategy needs to be formulated that effectively allocates finite resources among carefully selected objectives in a sequence that maximizes results. Important strategic insights can be derived from examining several potential mission scenarios for NASA.

Remarkably, a close examination of NASA demonstrates that the agency has been active in promoting and nurturing initiatives across the board in every strategic space development segment. President Bush seems to want to continue a tradition of independent, full-scale initiatives. While the notion of international participation was not entirely absent from Bush's July 20, 1989, speech, it was heavily overshadowed by a nationalistic message: "What Americans dream Americans can do." We should pursue these goals "because it is America's destiny to lead." This phrasing suggests that America is going to pay the first 100 percent, and, if others want to add on top of that, they can (Chandler 1989). Such a posture needs careful evaluation.

This paper reviews three segmentations of the space development arena to demonstrate potential areas of strategic leverage for NASA, as the agency seeks to clarify its role and function within the global space development industry:

  1. Consumer-driven innovation:
    The entrepreneurial traits of customer-driven innovation and incessant scrutiny of the marketplace are essential components of effective market focused strategy development. The only real "consumers" of the space program are the citizens of Planet Earth. It is eminently wise to focus on their needs as buyers their higher needs for a healthy planet for their children and their children's children. The ability to scrutinize profoundly the resource components of Planet Earth and to begin to understand the interaction of economic and natural variables promises to provide a contribution by NASA and other national space agencies around the world that is unprecedented.
  2. Capability-driven innovation:
    There are specific gaps in our tools, products, and processes that prevent prompt exploitation of space. Nothing short of major technological leaps must be masterminded. The originators of such technological breakthroughs have typically seen them spin off into lucrative commercial ventures.
  3. Destination-driven Innovation:
    The prospect of setting up colonies on such forbidding planetary bodies as the Moon and Mars makes sense only when the colony is viewed as a base from which to exploit resources. To access the rich resources of our neighboring planets, to capitalize on manufacturing breakthroughs achieved only in low gravity conditions, to test the possibility of transferring some of our heavily polluting industries off Planet Earth (taking care not to pollute our neighboring planets)-these tasks require a supporting infrastructure that includes the advancement of megaproject management expertise. The colonization of the Moon and Mars effectively requires the creation of entirely new industry and infrastructure sectors, which will invariably have a profound impact on our lifestyle and business approaches on Earth.

In 1988 the National Academy of Sciences recommended that the United States undertake a multi billion-dollar space science initiative that would redirect the U.S. space program in the early 21st century. They recommended that

  1. An intense, continuous program be established to monitor Earth's climate, resources, and numerous other factors important to the planet's health.
  2. A search for planets in distant solar systems be given a high priority.
  3. A number of sample-return missions be sent to nearby space bodies.
  4. Many new missions in space biology and medicine be undertaken.
The first recommendation supports the Mission to Planet Earth, the second and third support exploration efforts which are preliminary to selecting a destination, and the fourth recommendation encourages regenerative life support technology-a capability to be developed. These proposals, in the report "Space Science in the 21st Century- Imperatives for Decades 1995-2015," would require NASA's budget to grow significantly (Covault 1988).

Consumer-Driven Innovation: The Business of Protecting Planet Earth
The "Planet Earth" consumer is literally consuming the planet:

More alarmingly, further growth is essential: A fivefold to tenfold increase in economic activity is required over the next 50 years to meet the needs and aspirations of the world population and reduce poverty. This will place a colossal new burden on the ecosphere (MacNeil 1989).

Space science has already proven that it can contribute substantially to our understanding of Earth's problems: the greenhouse effect on Venus and ozone depletion on Mars provided insights that alerted us to potential dangers in our own atmosphere. Imagine how potent direct focus by the international space establishment on Planet Earth promises to be. The Apollo 8 (photo of our planet afloat in space) showed us that, as Buckminster Fuller put it, we are passengers on Spaceship Earth. The Earth is all we've got-at least for now.

All products brought to market on Planet Earth follow a similar activity flow from analyzing the market and customer need, through designing the product, purchasing or sourcing the raw materials, and manufacturing, to distributing and selling the product (see table 2 a schematic for bringing a market to market on planet Earth.). There are three critical roles that NASA could play in the United States, other national space agencies could play in their respective countries, and all these agencies could play jointly on Planet Earth to align business activities with ecology-preserving systems:

Market Research: Point the way to save the planet
Growth must be structured in ways that keep its enormous potential for environmental transformation within safe limits which are yet to be determined. Clearly defining the parameters within which Planet Earth can be restored to health can provide powerful directives. For example, one author states that to stabilize concentrations of carbon dioxide at present levels, an immediate reduction in global manmade emissions-chiefly from the burning of such fossil fuels as coal and oil-by 60 to 80 percent would be necessary (Shabecoff 1990a).

NASA has a project under way which may identify just such degrees of tolerance: The Mission to Planet Earth is a "global habitability mission" (Brown 1989) involving a very substantial purely scientific component directed toward real human problems. It is intended to point the way to save the planet. Also referred to as Earth Observing System (EOS), it is an international initiative consisting of five giant orbiting platforms [two from NASA, two from the European Space Agency (ESA), and one from the National Space Development Agency (NASDA) of Japan], each carrying the largest and most sophisticated array of remote sensing instruments ever assembled. The mission will begin a 15-year period of observation in the mid-1990s. This will become one of the largest space science projects ever, costing the United States $1 billion per year (Cook 1989).

The list of critical processes that impact Planet Earth's ecological system and must be monitored is extensive, including changes in concentrations of greenhouse gases and their impact on temperature; the effect of ocean circulation on the timing and distribution of climatic changes; the role of vegetation in regulating the flux of water between land and atmosphere; global circulation and processing of major chemical elements such as carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur-principal components of life-as well as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide (More than 70 000 chemicals synthesized by humans affect the global environment.); and processes of evaporation and precipitation, runoff and circulation (Clark 1989).

The end product of this international undertaking will be an information base for decision making-the findings of scientific research and planetary monitoring. It is hoped that the environmental impact of business decisions will be demonstrated in a fact based manner. The real environmental costs of human activities have not been isolated to date; thus, calculations of business efficiencies have been skewed in favor of the convenient. The dilemma involved in choosing process technologies, governed as they are now by private, generally short-term, profit maximizing responses to market forces rather than long-term concerns about environmental quality, could more effectively be resolved with the data base that Mission to Planet Earth promises to assemble.

President Bush has expressed his willingness to prevent compromise while appreciating the need to redefine business standards in the marketplace: "To those who suggest we're only trying to balance economic growth and environmental protection, I say they miss the point. We are calling for an entirely new way of thinking, to achieve both while compromising neither, by applying the power of the marketplace in the service of the environment" (Shabecoff 1990b).

Technical Design: Define environmentally safe products and processes

Technologies that can be utilized on the scale necessary to support sustainable economic development must be resource-conserving, pollution-preventing, and environment-restoring, and themselves economically supportable. Sheer invention is the only effective way out of our major ecological problems, as the very technological foundations of our economy need to be totally revised. What we need is an economy that will not consume scarce resources and will not generate pollution.

Begin with the environmental constraints and then design the product: NASA is initiating a process that it believes may serve as a model for government, industry, and environmental groups. Its cornerstone is getting together before a technology is developed to determine what technological advances must be made to render a product or process environmentally and economically acceptable. Looking at the environmental issues ahead of hardware issues, they have even gone one step further: they have resolved not to develop the product or process if the environment is compromised (Leary 1990). In the case in point -development of a high speed passenger plane walking away would be enormously difficult, as competition stands in the wings: Aerospatiale, the French aircraft company, is studying the next generation supersonic transport to replace the Concorde; the Japanese government has begun serious research; and the Soviet Union has begun studies on a transport plane that could fly at 5 times the speed of sound (Leary 1990).

Preliminary studies commissioned by NASA indicate that building such an aircraft is possible. However, current aircraft technology, including the best materials and engines, could not produce an acceptable aircraft, according to Boeing. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory concurs, having calculated that a fleet of 500 supersonic airliners using existing engine technology would seriously deplete the ozone layer by 15 to 20 percent, almost 3 times the damage from chlorofluorocarbons. NASA plans to spend $284 million over the next 5 years to find out whether the required technological advances to develop an environmentally safe highspeed plane can be achieved. The program will center initially on airport noise, sonic booms, and engine emissions that could reduce the atmosphere's protective ozone layer (Leary 1990).

Experiment with new processes that will protect the environment.

It is important to note that a rash of new product innovations could foster economic growth at levels unseen to date.

Sourcing/Manufacturing/Distribution: Spearhead global industrial restructuring
All of our activities have environmental consequences, and all of our activities must be changed rapidly if our rendezvous with disaster is to be halted.

Any blueprint for an environmentally sustainable global economy would require the following.
Eliminate sources of pollution:
Some pollutants have been successfully removed from the atmosphere. In each case-lead, DDT, PCBs, strontium 90-substantial improvement was achieved not by tacking a control device onto the process that generates the pollutant but by eliminating the pollutant from the production process itself.

Replace environmentally assaulting production technologies with inherently pollution-free processes: Ecologically and economically sound technologies do exist.

Consider transferring the major eroders of Planet Earth off planet: The components of growth and globalization of human activity that have had the greatest impact on the environment from 1850 to the present are agriculture, the dominant agent of global land transformation-9 million square kilometers of surface has been converted to cropland; energy, which has risen by a factor of 80; manufacturing, which has increased a hundredfold in 100 years; and basic metals, which has experienced a long term growth greater than 3 percent per year. Each of these could conceivably be transferred off Planet Earth: agriculture, using biosphere or hydroponic techniques; energy, using solar power transmission to the Earth; manufacturing, possibly using robots on the Moon; and mining of basic metals on the Moon, asteroids, or Mars. What better justification for going to the Moon or Mars than to make life better for the Planet Earth consumer!

Eliminate indifferent public policies:
Current public policies have been found to actively encourage deforestation, desertification, destruction of habitat and species, and decline of air and water quality (Clark 1989). Mechanisms, both national and international, need to be developed to coordinate managerial activities pertaining to ecologically safe industrial restructuring. Local development actions have cumulative results on the global environment that are difficult to communicate, short of demonstrating them from a vantage point in low Earth orbit. Science can help, but it is efforts that go beyond science to formulating adaptive policies that encompass environmental surprises which will ultimately determine our effectiveness as managers of Planet Earth.


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