Our technological capabilities have not yet reached a level that facilitates realization of our loftiest goals. And the level of technological capability determines the effectiveness of our efforts and their cost efficiencies. We cannot mobilize a program to colonize the Moon or Mars within the next 3-5 years, for example, precisely because our current technology makes it economically infeasible. Getting materials and people into space simply costs too much; we don't know what's there-except on a superficial level-or how it can be used; and we are not sure that we can remain alive for any extended period of time, let alone return to Earth without having been debilitated in some way. The most critical impediments to space exploration are the lack of costeffective means to leave the pull of the Earth's gravity, the availability of only a rudimentary controlled ecological life support system, and the inability to conduct research on space phenomena in enough depth to develop innovative products and processes (table 3 This illuminates the Priority Issues in a Space Technology Development Program). These are effectively the independent variables-or the problems whose resolution will facilitate a broad range of subsequent projects and programs.
The National Research Council, an arm of the congressionally chartered National Academy of Sciences, believes that it is vital that Moon-Mars missions have "the capability to send humans into space, maintain them in a physical condition that permits them to work productively, and return them to Earth in good health." It has not been demonstrated that after long duration space flight individuals can readjust rapidly to gravity without serious physiological consequences ("U.S. Panel" 1990). One way to ensure that the effort is sustained is to make sure that the basics are in place: to focus for a time on technology development, to reduce the operational costs of spacefaring and to establish the facilities and systems the infrastructure-that a serious program requires (Sawyer 1989). To respond to existing technology constraints, to be able to break through the current quality/cost parameters, we need to develop a targeted, thoughtful technology advancement program. A segmentation based on capabilities in hand, and capabilities required, brings to the surface the major technology gaps to be bridged (table 4a and table 4b This two part table illustrates the U.S. Cability-Driven Missions). Mastery of these technologies is most likely to open up space activities to the broadest possible constituency. When the costs of getting into space, surviving in space, and producing in space are sufficiently reduced, an infrastructure can be built to nurture the wealth -generating efforts of small entrepreneurs and independent individuals, as well as major corporations and governmental agencies.
The funding requirements to achieve such technological advances are difficult to estimate: A dichotomy exists between the cost to make the leap and the cost savings achieved as a result of the leap. Since the breakthrough has not yet been achieved, it is impossible to predict how many false starts must be surmounted in the struggle up the learning curve to success (table 5. The life Cycle of a Technological Breakthrough). Such development does not necessarily follow a straight line; it is often a series of iterations, evolutionary in its unfolding. Because these "technological leap" projects cannot even guarantee that success will be attained, they are by definition high-risk. However, achievement of the breakthrough provides enormous rewards to the technology owner and permanently redefines the competitive arena to the advantage of the breakthrough innovator. Because the efforts are often very expensive, they are increasingly undertaken on an industry-wide basis; because the results can be very lucrative, they are often kept secret from other nations-guarded like the national treasures they are.
Cost exposure can be reduced through partnerships among government agencies, industry, academia, and entrepreneurs from the same country-or via international partnerships. When a government participates in a project, supported by public financing, the results of the activity are typically in the public domain. Alternatively, government agencies may fund corporations and entrepreneurial companies conducting research and developing products, often with the understanding that what they learn in the process can be privately held and spun off into commercial products.
A review of the national space development strategies of selected countries reveals that while the United States is launching initiatives in a broad range of arenas (manned and unmanned), most of the other major participants, with the exception of the Soviet Union, have restricted their immediate goals to profitable commercial applications while seeking independence in space as a long-term objective (table 6. Illustrates a A Comparison of National Space Development Strategies). This suggests that European, Japanese, and other participants are viewing space development from a highly competitive, commercial vantage point. While they are seeking full autonomy in space, they are willing to joint venture in the short term (they say) in order to catch up. Overall, space is viewed as a terrain in which major technological leads can be developed and sustained.
This focus on capability development may appear low-key to the general public when compared to more visible Moon or Mars projects, because it is technology-centered and forces repetitive iterations to uncover the product or process dynamics in enough depth to engineer a major innovation. However, our success in advancing our capabilities will ensure the smooth implementation of those more visible, destinationfocused projects.
Getting Into Space: Propulsion
The single most frustrating problem related to space development is the prohibitive cost of getting vehicles, materials, and people into space (A rendering of a Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle). Once out of Earth's gravity field, there are additional issues regarding maneuverability and propulsion through deep space. The pace of commercialization, however, depends on the pace of the launching business.
Experimental-skills beyond a single organization: The most impressive propulsion project being developed today is the national aerospace plane (see fig. 7 Artist Stan H. Stokes Concept for the National Aerospace Plane featuring scramjet engines.). Regarded as of profound strategic urgency, it is expected to have a major effect on the course of U.S. space and aeronautics development into the 21st century as well as a tremendous impact on American competitiveness in the aerospace field, which is our number 1 export category. A direct counter to similar efforts under way by the Europeans, the Japanese, and the Soviets, it is expected to be completed by 1997 (3 to 5 years ahead of the others).
The national aerospace plane is sure to be a major technological leap if achieved, because never before has an experimental aircraft been designed to fly so much faster and higher than any other plane (Covault 1989a). Its design parameters are to
What is remarkable about this program is the extent of national level, industry-wide collaboration focused on this critical technological breakthrough (A view of NASA-Ames visualization of particle tracing over the Shuttle, imaged by the Numerical Aerodynamic Simulator). Truly the best skills have been brought to bear on the task. The project team includes NASA, the Pentagon, and five U.S. aerospace companies led by the Air Force (three airframe manufacturers and two engine manufacturers). In effect, all of the major competitors in the aerospace industry have been invited to participate equally on a level playing field. Take the development work for the heat resistant material: None of the companies could afford to do all the research alone, so each has specialized in one type of material, sharing the results with all competitors. Discussions are under way regarding ways to collaborate in building the plane itself (Lavin 1989).
What is alarming is that our leadership in this area is not secured, and major competitors have set their sights on the same goals. The European Space Agency, representing 13 European countries, has a three-pronged space program that includes a fifth generation Ariane heavy lift rocket, a module of Space Station Freedom, and three versions of the horizontal take-off and landing aircraft (table 7 this table illustrates the European Space Agency Three-Pronged Space Program). This horizontal take-off technology is regarded as so critical that the Europeans cannot agree on who should lead the project, where it should be headquartered, or how it should be engineered.
Developmental- synergies and interfaces: The United States is ahead in low-cost rockets for small payloads, thanks to Orbital and other small entrepreneurial organizations. Orbital Sciences Corporation developed a 50-foot, winged rocket, the Pegasus, and launched it from a B-52 flying over the Pacific Ocean. (See figure 8. A photo of the Pegasus Rocket) Pegasus' winged design is a first for unmanned rockets, giving the vehicle the extra lift it needs to head toward orbit most efficiently from a horizontal airborne launch. Developed to address the needs of "microspace" (that is, smaller and more affordable rockets and satellites), it is intended to launch "lightsats," a new class of satellites. The objective of this highly focused development strategy was to provide space-oriented products and services that appeal to a wider group of governments, companies, and entrepreneurial consumers. This down-sizing effectively reduces the cost per pound of payloads in orbit, a critical factor in developing a broader based commercial space industry.
Once Orbital's rocket is made operational, the company expects to sell commercial launches for $6-7 million or $6000 per pound of payload (versus $20 000 per pound for small satellites carried by other lightweight payload rockets, such as the Scout rocket by LTV Corporation). It is important to observe the amount of Government support required for such entrepreneurial efforts: The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) paid $6.5 million to Orbital for the launching, making the project economically feasible, and NASA provided the B-52 for the launch, effectively establishing the credibility of the provider. NASA and DARPA are considered to be anchor customers-the largest and most sophisticated consumers of space products, consumers whose needs create the demand for, and define the parameters of, new products and processes to be developed (Stevenson 1990).
Operational -indicators of success: The unmanned vertical rocket launch business is an established technology, in an established industry, with heavy global competition. A $2 billion worldwide industry, the commercial launch of satellites is forecast to continue to grow through the 1990s. As communications networks are being privatized and deregulated worldwide, even more activity can be expected (Cook and Lewis 1988).
There have been two keys to success in operating a launch business:
The right product
Europeans believed that unmanned launchers such as Ariane would continue to offer the better solution for launching satellites that do not require the presence of astronauts. The primary goal of Arianespace was to give Europe an independent launch capability for its own satellites (Dickson 1986), but the result has been to provide a competitive advantage in the international marketplace (Lenorovitz 1988a, b, c). Ariane of Arianespace has averaged about a 50-percent share of the global launch market, also taking a share from the Space Shuttle after the Challenger disaster. Forty-three satellites were launched between the beginning of Ariane's commercial program, in 1981, and 1990. More than 32 launches are scheduled, as of February 1990, at a value of $2.36 billion. Launches have been suspended twice: once in May 1986 and again in February 1990, both times to allow for inquiries into explosions of rockets in flight, destroying their satellite cargoes ("Panel To Examine" 1990). Ariane must adhere to a rapid and sustained launch rate if it is to fulfill the orders currently on its books and to compete for new business.
The right price
The Space Shuttle, a manned vertical launch vehicle, was expected to command 75 percent of the global launch business when envisioned by Nixon in the 1970s. We were first in a market that was wide open-but with the wrong price parameters. The lower the launch cost, the broader the customer base. However, we somehow got locked into a technology that is not cost effective. Although it has been a superb research vehicle and it has taught us how to design a reusable reentry vehicle that could bring material back from space, the overriding reason it was built was to lower costs. Reusable has turned out to mean "uncorrectable." The Shuttle's overhead cost is $3 billion a year, excluding the hidden costs in salaries (10 000 people are required at Cape Kennedy to launch it). At only eight or ten flights a year, the cost is at least $300 million per flight (Brown 1989). After the Challenger accident, President Reagan determined that private companies would handle all commercial launches (Peterson and Schares 1988).
Three U.S. companies (McDonnell Douglas, Martin Marietta, and General Dynamics) are going head to head with companies abroad for business (see table 8 A table of worldwide Commercial Launch Market, a $2 Billion space Transportation Industry) and have occasionally enjoyed a cost advantage depending on the changing value of the dollar. Ariane is considered to be an equal competitor with the United States in heavy-launching capacity, and the Japanese are catching up fast.
Price competition is stiff. For example, China typically beats Ariane's satellite launch price by several million dollars and usually agrees to underwrite $30-60 million insurance on the launch for a premium 15 to 20 percent below world rates (Peterson and Schares 1988) as a way of buying a larger share of the market.
Living Healthily in Space: Full functioning
Human spacefaring is only worthwhile if it is a peak experience-that is, if really challenging and creative work can be done in space. For humans to be as productive in space as they are on Earth, their life support system must be totally integrated, leaving individuals whole and intact, so that their functions are not in any way impaired.
Life Sciences received only $124 million of NASA's $13.3 billion budget for fiscal year 1990. Without understanding the scope of research required to resolve the critical issues, it is difficult to say whether that is too little or too much. At first glance, however, it appears that life support research is less advanced than other areas of space engineering and science.
Life support: To date, it has been possible to send astronauts into space with a full stock of expendables such as air, water, and food without regeneration because of the short timeframes of the missions undertaken. Since resupply would be impossible at a location like Mars, which is 2-3 years away from Earth, resources would have to be reclaimed and reused more and more, or else mined, grown, or otherwise produced onsite. Work is under way on a partially closed air and water system for the space station, which may be sufficient for initial trips to the Moon and Mars. It may be desirable to extend the system to a self-monitored and self-controlled ecological life support system that turns metabolic and other waste into food, potable water, and a breathable atmosphere by integrating biological, physical, and chemical processes (Aaron et al. 1989).
A controlled ecological life support system (CELSS) program was initiated by NASA in the late 1970s. The long-term goal is to devise a bioregenerative support system to generate oxygen, supply fresh food, and remove excessive carbon dioxide from the station. By reducing the amount of expendables that must be carried into space, the system is expected to lower operating costs. Essentially, CELSS uses biological systems to recycle air, water, and waste products (Hubbard 1989). A physical/chemical version of this system is planned for Space Station Freedom. This system will recycle the water and air supply using nonbiological technology. A more advanced system which incorporates plants and food production is being explored for Moon and Mars missions.
Initial cost in terms of mass lifted into orbit will be high; but, since it is expected to function indefinitely and since it will pay for itself (that is, generate food and oxygen equal in mass to the mass of the system) in 5-7 years, the system is expected to have minimal costs over its lifetime. A benefit of a bioregenerative system is its ability to provide psychological comfort as well as supply fresh food to crews who are isolated from the Earth for a long time. Research continues on recycling, system stability, (See Lunar Greenhouse (Such a bioregenerative life support system might provide psychological comfort, as we// as fresh food, water, and air, to crews isolated from the Earth for a long time.Courtesy of the artist Robert McCall) , and food production (Hubbard 1989). NASA has awarded grants to universities and research centers to experiment with growing such crops as wheat, lettuce, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, soybeans, sugar beets, and peanuts under weightless conditions and under different types of artificial light ("NASA Seeks" 1988).
Gravity. Only one man, Yuri Romanenko, a Soviet cosmonaut, has ever been in orbit for close to a year: He took a 326-day mission in 1987. His condition upon return was quite alarming. He had significant loss of skeletal bone; (See Bone Densitometer. This photo of a total body bone densitometer measures the total calcium in the human body. Loss of calcium has been seen in astronauts and cosmonauts who have experienced weightlessness for more than a few days. Such a loss has also been observed in subjects in bed rest studies (the conditions of which may more nearly resemble the reduced gravity of the Moon). The Medical Sciences Division at the Johnson Space Center is studying ways to reduce the calcium loss in space by giving subjects exercises to perform or medication or both.) he lost 15 percent of muscle volume in his legs-enough to require him to relearn to walk despite exercise; and there are serious concerns about his heart.
Although the human body responds to microgravity with neurovestibular changes that can cause astronauts to suffer temporary disorientation and sickness during a mission, there are more serious musculoskeletal and cardiovascular effects such as loss of muscle mass, bone decalcification, and blood pooling that can cause problems in flight and after the astronauts return to gravity. Exposure to space produces biochemical and physiological changes in plants and animals from the cellular level to the whole organism.
Space Station Freedom will have a life science research facility that will include a centrifuge system (1.8 - 2.5 meters in diameter) that produces an environment with gravity levels of 0. 0 1 -2. 0 g. This is a first step in a program that requires acceleration devices in order to analyze the effects of microgravity and varying levels and exposure times of linear acceleration on biological systems (Hubbard 1989).
There are now serious doubts that humans can work effectively or efficiently in weightlessness for longer than 4 to 5 months. Humans cannot stay weightless in space more than about 12 months without risking permanent physical damage (Banks 1989). Since the shortest Mars trip will take 14-17 months, and the more efficient trips will take 3 years, advanced countermeasures are a must. They will probably include artificial gravity created by rotating the entire vehicle or by using a local centrifuge. Areas of further study on artificial gravity include temporary versus constant exposure, radius and rates of rotation, and the associated g loadings, side effects, and problems of transition between nonrotating and rotating environments (Aaron et al. 1989).
A goal of NASA's Ames Research Center is to extend the presence of humans in space. A growing body of data reveals an interdependence among the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems. There is an emerging interdisciplinary approach at Ames which recognizes the interrelationship of physical forces, gene expression, metabolic processes, and hormonal activity. Biomedical research, human performance, and life support systems form the core of the Ames program. How the effect of microgravity on human systems can be modified by exercise, artificial gravity, autogenic feedback training, and nutrition is under study (Hubbard 1989).
The space station's clinical health maintenance facility includes basic diagnostic and therapeutic equipment both for use in nearEarth orbit and for gauging the more demanding medical implications of exploration missions (Aaron et al. 1989).
Shelter: Shielding systems must be developed for flight as well as at the destination points. Travelers to Mars would face ionizing radiation, mostly galactic cosmic rays in interplanetary space, and might experience severe proton flux from occasional solar particle events. Shielding must protect the crew in flight, whereas burrowing or placing bags of soil atop habitats will probably protect explorers on the martian or, (See Options for Habitat Radiation Shielding) lunar surfaces (Aaron et al. 1989).
Dr. Lowell W. Wood and his group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory suggest building inflatable spacecraft for space stations and a Mars probe instead of the rigid metal variety now planned. the use of (See Lunar Outpost for a conceptual view of a lunar outpost complete with solar power, interior structure, plumbing and electricity. Artist John Michael Stovall), inflatables accounts for part of the cost savings asserted by the LLNL proposal. The drawback is that these systems would be used without testing in space and thus the risks to the crew would be much higher.
Producing in Space: Commercialization
The U. S. Commerce Department projects that Space Venture revenues will be about $3.3 billion per year, with a real growth of 10 percent per year. Except for communication satellites and possibly launch vehicles, commercial space development is expected to be further down the road. The Japanese project a similar market size in the near term; they believe that the market for made-in-space semiconductors, alloys, glass, ceramics, and biomedicines will top $3.5 billion per year. But they foresee considerable growth by the year 2000, perhaps even hitting $24 billion (Buell 1987).
It doesn't make sense to explore space with manned missions unless those missions hold an ultimate possibility of becoming wealth-creating. The space industry, as an infant industry, is extraordinarily high in risk and low in short-term return. NASA has taken important steps to nurture commercial interest in the program. This is essential to converting technological insights into spinoff products and processes, as well as having the network in place to support future development and expansion.
Policy formulation: NASA introduced its Commercial Space Policy (CSP) in 1982 to reduce the risks of doing business in space and to establish new links with the private sector in order to increase development. Concerns addressed by the policy included rising insurance costs, safety, and competition from the commercial interest of other space programs, such as ESA's Ariane (Lamontague 1986).
The Reagan Administration designated commercialization a basic element of the U.S. space program. A major administrative concern was to create mechanisms for ensuring fairness for companies, users, and consumers who will be entering the space business in the future. To foster a new private sector space industry, such policy approaches as privatization, marketing of privately owned technology currently used exclusively by the Government, private development of new technology with major assistance from the Government, and private development of new products and services without major governmental assistance were introduced (Levine 1985).
U.S. business had been confined to the role of Government contractor from NASA's inception until 1984, when the Office of Commercial Programs was formed. Since then, more than half of the 50 largest U.S. industrial corporations have been participating in NASA-sponsored commercial space activities. NASA has also established an enormous technology transfer network and developed numerous joint contractual arrangements that offer flight time for applied industrial research and development (Switzer and Rae 1989). This vital role played by NASA in partnership with the private sector has enabled the U.S. program to keep ahead.
The NASA Center for Advanced Space Propulsion at the University of Tennessee Space Institute near Tullahoma is one of 16 proposed research centers to receive $5 million per year from NASA for 5 years as startup capital, after which the centers are to be financially self-sufficient. Initially focusing on studying access to space, the U.T. consortium includes
The objective of these planned consortia is to boost the United States into a competitive posture in the commercial use of space in the next century (Mordoff 1988). The early years are expected to be more research than manufacturing, with new products and processes needed for private ventures in space expected to evolve from these research efforts. To make commercialization of space more attractive, longer range projects are also planned in areas that businesses need, such as creating vacuums and growing crystals (Feder 1990).
The United States is not alone in stimulating private participation: The Europeans and the Japanese are aggressively seeking opportunities to develop and provide products and processes to the global space industry.
Intospace GMBH (Hanover, West Germany), the most active and important of European space companies, is a consortium of 94 European industrial investors, mainly German giants such as Krupp, Hoechst, and Daimler-Benz. This consortium has $3 billion to spend on commercializing microgravity research (Peterson and Schares 1988). Intospace is evaluating participation in the Cosima flights' protein crystal growth missions, as well as two other research missions-Suleika (space processing of superconductive materials in microgravity) and Casimer (catalyst materials) (Mordoff 1988).
Nippon Electric Company, Mitsubishi Electric, and Toshiba, each a $15 billion plus company and a vertically integrated maker of microelectronics, computers, telecommunications equipment, and other high technology products, previously relied on government contracts and U.S. technology to expand their satellite related business. Now they are using their own capital and forming partnerships to develop their own products (Davis 1989).
Access: Although only in low Earth orbit, a network of space stations is emerging that will enable live testing of experimental material and technologies, hopefully enabling definitive progress in the critical technology areas blocking our advancement in space. Space Station Freedom, a $30 billion, 500-foot U.S. craft consisting of nine pressurized modules and requiring 31 shuttle flights to loft modules, support structures, solar panels, station equipment, and supplies into orbit, will begin assembly in 1995, with completion expected in 1999. Five times the length of the Soviet Mir station, it is a spacecraft, a work station, and an experimental prototype to research products and processes. "It's the first time anything of this magnitude has been attempted by the human race" -Dr. William F. Fisher, astronaut (Broad 1990c). It will house astronauts doing scientific experiments (serving as a research laboratory) and it is currently being regarded as a way station for voyages to the Moon and Mars (serving as a transportation node).
The near-zero-gravity environment aboard the Space Shuttle and at the space station was expected to lure producers of chemicals, semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, metals, and many other products to sign up or begin negotiating research agreements ("The $30 Billion Potential" 1984). Such basic research interests have not materialized to date. However, as the space industry in general begins to evolve, economic rationale for such basic research might still develop.
Examples of Space Stations
The United States has gotten leverage from the Space Shuttle and the space station to date on intergovernmental levels. For example, the Japanese space agency, NASDA and NASA are sharing the cost of equipment and have agreed to share data obtained from an International Microgravity Lab (IML-1) to be flown on the Space Shuttle Columbia in early 1991. The series of cooperative experiments includes developing a new conductive material and investigating potential use of microgravity in making new alloys, semiconductors, and pharmaceutical products not manufactured on Earth (see table 9 for other examples. This table is the U.S. Leverage Derived From Derived From Infrastructure Development: International Cooperative Effort).
The Soviet Mir space station, a 100-footlong flying laboratory, is nearing completion of the first phase of construction of a 20-ton module (Broad 1990). Mir has a readily accessible lab, available on a rental basis to foreign astronauts and scientists as an orbiting factory, observatory, and observation post from which Earth's changing environment can be studied. The Soviets have demonstrated the ability of humans to live and work in orbit for up to 7 months. The Soviets have more inspace experience than any other nation (table 10. Soviet Union Space Development Program: Strengths and Weaknesses); however, their program has some serious coordination problems. The Soviets have underestimated the complexity of the job. On-orbit assembly has been harder than expected. Half of their instruments are not yet operational and have not been fully tested (Broad 1990c). Crews lose time on repairs and technical work, and Mir is too small, as it is stuffed with equipment. Nevertheless, of all participants in the space industry, the Soviets share our vision of moving beyond low Earth orbit and have the stature, in terms of in-hand technology, to do so.
Access to space does not belong exclusively to national governments and their space agencies. Several private companies have developed space station concepts on their own, including Space Industries, Boeing, and Westinghouse, which are designing a $500 million Industrial Space Facility in Webster, Texas, for completion in the early 1990s, and General Electric, which is designing an unmanned, freeflying minilab.
The Japanese have been rather reticent to date regarding participation in the space industry; however, they initiated a $43 billion space development program for the period 1989-2006, which is composed of a series of commercial projects, including satellite programs, a robotic program, and a space factory for drugs and semiconductors, and infrastructural projects, including the construction of four platforms, an orbital maneuvering vehicle, and an inter-orbit transport space vehicle, as well as participation in the U.S. space station and construction of their own dedicated Japanese space station (by 2008). These projects are in addition to the HOPE spaceplane development project (see table 11. Japanes Space Commercialization Program, $43 Billion, 1989-2006). If all of these activities are realized, the Japanese will have a significant base from which to develop products and processes to meet the needs of the space industry as it grows, as well as to create new product concepts for Planet Earth consumers.
Destination-Driven Innovation: The Evolution of Major Resource Development Projects
We have a knowledge base developed during the Apollo days that can be readily applied to a return mission to the Moon or to new ventures outward in the solar system to Mars. However, more than 20 years have passed since the landing of Apollo on the Moon, markedly diminishing the pool of experts with hands-on experience. We are fast approaching a point where it will become necessary to reinvent the wheel.
More than the expertise to be lost by not moving toward settlement of a particular destination is the expertise to be gained from the synergy required to plan, develop, and operate such a project. Solar scientists and electrical engineers, for example, tend to keep their own company in planning, designing, and prototyping solar energy systems and equipment. However, when the discussion changes to establishing a colony on the Moon, a whole range of very tangible problems and issues become immediately relevant: dealing with the long days and nights; providing energy for residential, commercial, and manufacturing support; providing sufficient backup to sustain life in the face of any and all calamities. Many insights will come from the interface of prospective corporate users, astronauts, scientists, and engineers.
Finally, the timing of such a magnificently difficult undertaking is critical. The vital capabilities must be in place before site development planning begins. It is simply not possible to begin to design an industrial city that includes technologies that are still being developed. All systems, processes, technologies used must have achieved closure: they must be fully developed, tested, and proven. It is simply not feasible to move workers out to construct a work camp with an unproven power source or oxygen supply. Thus, destination focused innovation is subsequent to development of the vital technological capabilities, but the destination people can and certainly should have input into the capability development process.
Once exploration of potential sites is completed, a destination is selected, and colonization has been decided on, the major resource development project begins to evolve (see table 12. U. S. Mission Scenarios: Destination-Driven Innovation), following a very clear and well-tested path from concept development, through negotiation and contract letting, to construction and finally startup (see table 13. Table 13 shows the Life Cycle of a Major Resource Development Project), each of which will be examined in one of the following sections.
Development of a particular destination in space is not free from the need to innovate and advance. We have no experience in establishing large communities that are completely dependent on their infrastructure for oxygen. We have not yet developed construction techniques for connecting materials that will endure in space and provide sufficient protection against radiation. Our entire body of materials, construction techniques, logistical concerns, and supply networks must be experimented with and established. Our notions of project management must be revised-perhaps even to include "breakthrough" management-so that, as the project unfolds, innovative solutions can be sighted, experimented with, and efficiently integrated.
We are not completely in the dark in this regard. All of the very largest scale development projects installed on Earth have had some ground-breaking technology component. In most cases the technology already existed and just needed to be adapted to the expanded scale. Many, however, introduced completely new technology. We may have already zeroed in on the two or three best materials for use in space, but it is another issue altogether to produce enough and work with it in the amounts required to establish an industrial city.
Exploring Uncharted Courses
Before we can reach out to space, master the abundance of its resources, and make it truly ours, we must understand what is there, how it is laid out, and how the various components interact. This requires developing and operating instruments to measure, define, bring back samples, map, photograph, and provide high resolution imaging.
Unmanned planetary probes have proven to be efficient, exciting, and scientifically rewarding. Voyager 2, for example, was launched 12 years ago and is still functioning flawlessly. In fact we are the only spacefaring nation that has had the confidence and ability to send machines on long, intricate journeys to the giant outer planets (see fig. 9. Three photos of Vaoyager at Neptune). This is an exclusive strategic niche in which we have faced little competition to date-perhaps because the payback from such activities is not immediately apparent.
A balanced approach is a basic tenet of NASA's current space science strategic plan, which includes a mix of moderate and major missions totaling six launches a year in the early 1990s (Smith 1989). A major new science mission is planned every year through the turn of the century. Over the next 5 years, the United States has a firm schedule to put up 35 scientific flights, a rate 6 times as great as during the past decade and equal to that of the 1960s (Cook 1989).
The task of developing an instrument with which to explore the universe is getting to be a highly collaborative effort. "Big science" -a term coined by Alvin Weinberg in the 1960s when he was director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee involves the collaboration of teams of researchers, technicians, Government officials, university administrators, and industrial contractors and large sums of money to produce new instruments to advance our understanding of nature (Lederman 1990) (see table 14 The High Price of Future Scientific Progress), which accompanied a New York Times article on the Hubble Space Telescope). The Hubble Space Telescope, the most expensive unmanned scientific spacecraft ever built by the United States and the most difficult to operate, was developed by 60 scientists from 38 institutions selected by NASA and involved nearly every sector of the space agency. A $1.5 billion effort, with an operating budget of $200 million/year, it is a product of such U.S. organizations as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which developed the wide-field camera; Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, which built the spacecraft; and Perkin-Elmer Corporation, which devised the electro-optical system. Critical help was also provided by the 13-nation European Space Agency, which provided 15 percent of the funds and supplied some of the equipment in return for an equivalent amount of observing time by its scientists (see table 15). (Wilford 1990,b)
Projects such as the proposed Exploration Technologies (formerly Pathfinder) R&D to develop exploration, operations, and piloted space vehicle technology to get to Mars at a reasonable cost and the Mars Rover Sample Return (MRSR), a set of 10 unmanned precursor sampling missions to photograph, return rock and soil samples, and gather meteorological data in order to determine the water and mineral content of the soil (fig. 10.Sample return in advance of human explorers would require either autonomous or remotely operated vehicles that could collect and package samples of rocks, soil, and atmosphere and launch them from the Mars surface to Mars orbit and on to Earth. A roving vehicle (foreground) is one attractive option for collecting the desired samples. Whether the rover moves on wheels (as shown), tracks, or legs, it will have to navigate around surface hazards and deliver the samples to the stationary launch vehicle (background). Current planning suggests that each such rover/launcher combination would be capable of returning about 5 kilograms (11 pounds) of samples to Earth. Artist John Frassanito) are just some of the exploratory support systems essential to determining whether a particular destination is worth developing.
The two major destinations under serious discussion are Mars (6 to 12 months away) and the Moon (3 days away). Many questions must be answered before a development location is targeted and detailed planning can begin.
For Mars, we need to know: Is there any way to add significant oxygen to the atmosphere and make the planet livable? Was there ever life there? Was there running water? How can the severe temperatures be withstood? Are the moons of Mars similar to our planet's Moon, or different?
For the Moon, we need to know: Does water exist at the poles? Can we manufacture it from lunar resources? What kind of shelter is required to protect against radiation? Should we walk away from development as it is just a heap of stones, or would use of such techniques as a glass enclosure (Biosphere II) allow the re-creation of Earth's atmosphere?
As exploration passes from just a cursory look to in depth analysis of resources available and assessment of feasibility and costs to exploit, the risks and stakes become higher and the need to share risks becomes essential. NASA's role here should be to develop the approaches and techniques for getting to the resource bases and to develop the instruments to measure ore quality. Having done so, the agency should attract resource development companies or entrepreneurs to assume the responsibilities of more detailed risk assessment, extraction, and development.
Developing the Project Concept
Assuming that a location has been identified which provides sufficient resources to reduce or eliminate dependence on supplies from Planet Earth and does not appear to be life threatening, the next step is to scope out a project concept. This is a critical event requiring enormous thought, as the format decided on can prepare the way for effective cooperation and resourcefulness, or it can establish an arena of intensive competition and friction.
Lunar or martian communities. (The following is one of a series of 5-minute radio programs. Entitled The Engines of Our Ingenuity, the series is written by mechanical engineer John H. Lienhard and presented by the University of Houston's College of Engineering.
Mining the Moon
For 20 years, I've wondered why we lost interest in the Moon so quickly after we first walked on it Maybe it was because we looked over the astronauts' shoulders and saw only a great slag heap. Now geologist Donald Burt* asks if it's only that or more. Does the Moon hold riches, or is it just a scabrous wasteland?
We know a lot about the Moon today. It's rich in aluminum, calcium, iron, titanium, and magnesium. There's also plenty of oxygen on the Moon, but it's all bound up in compounds that are hard to break down. You can get at it, but it'll take a lot of processing. Maybe we can pull some hydrogen and helium-3 out of the rocks as well.
What's absolutely missing on the Moon is anything volatile. There's no water-no loose gas or liquid of any kind. The vacuum on the Moon is more perfect than any we've ever created on Earth.
So can we go after minerals on the Moon? Before we do, let's think about mining and smelting on Earth. We use huge amounts of water-huge amounts of power. We consume oxygen and we put out great clouds of gas. But there is no water on the Moon, nothing to bum, and no power until we put it there.
Without water, the Moon hasn't been shaped the way Earth has, with alluvial strata and deposits. Many of its riches are all mixed together in the surface layer of dust We'll probably begin by surface mining for oxygen to sustain our outposts in space. Metals will be useful byproducts.
Pollution would be a terrible problem if we mined the Moon the way we do Earth. The Moon's near-perfect vacuum is going to be useful in all kinds of processing. If we dumped gases on the Moon, the way we do on Earth, we'd ruin that perfection.
You see, most gas molecules move more slowly than the lunar escape velocity. Only the fastest ones get away. Now and then, slower ones are sped up as they collide with each other. Then they also can escape. Over the years, the Moon loses any gas released on its surface, but not right away. So we have to invent completely closed processes to take the Moon's wealth. That way we'll protect one of the Moon's greatest resources -its perfect vacuum.
The Moon is a rich place, but we must put our minds in a wholly different space to claim its riches. The Moon will reclaim our interest as we learn to see more than a slag heap. The Moon has held our imagination for millennia, but in a different way each time our knowledge of it has changed. Today, our vision of the Moon is on the threshold of changing yet again as we learn to look at it with a process engineer's eyes.
Donald M. Burt, 1989, Mining the Moon, American Scientist Nov.-Dec., pp. 574-579.) could be company-owned towns (like mining towns in Australia), country owned towns (similar to the early settlements in the United States), or possibly international towns, the heart of which would be an internationally consistent infrastructure provided by a consortium of participating national space agencies to foster and facilitate residency and participation by entrepreneurs, transient workers, and a full melting pot of Earthlings of all races, nationalities, and backgrounds.
The critical decisions pertain to allocating ownership and project management responsibility among the industrial and infrastructure components of the development project under each scenario.
The company-owned spacetown: A large resource development company (such as an oil extraction and hydrocarbon processing, a metal mining and processing, or a pulp and paper company on Earth) usually decides to set up camp in a remote location because there are resources to be extracted and processed and there is a clear profit advantage to assuming the risks associated with life in a forbidding environment. If the location is far from civilization, the resource development company takes responsibility not just. to supply the tools, techniques, processes, and people to perform the profit-generating task but also to provide the life support components usually supplied by governmental agencies in more civilized areas-such as water, food, electricity, transportation vehicles and networks, education, and health care.
From our experience with company towns on Earth, it is clear that they are homogeneous (even if the project sponsors are joint-venture partners everyone is working in the same place). Problems faced by resource developers responsible for establishing a company town are monumental, encompassing issues far beyond business management and profit generation. Besides the logistical problems common to all such megascale undertakings, there is the problem of transplanting a complete communal system. The isolation, the feelings of hardship, and the social conflicts of workers operating under such stressful conditions add dimensions to the management task that are perhaps the most complex. It appears that technologically we are capable of bringing enormous resources to bear on a problem. Risks and exposure can be reduced to tolerable levels via joint ventures and multicompany consortia. We have expertise in managing in remote locations and marshaling the very best talent for a particular task. The real block to smooth performance has proven to be the human element. Planners frequently overlook the environmental, social, and political issues involved in creating a company town here on Earthan oversight which may, in fact, account for the most costly budget overruns and schedule delays.
It should be noted that the cost of these large infrastructure components raises the break-even point of the project, thereby requiring that the productive output be raised. Infrastructure development also increases project complexity, as responsibilities that usually belong to local governments fall to the project sponsors. And the more complex the project, the more difficult and dangerous the management and coordination task.
The country-owned spacetown: We could go to the Moon or Mars, plant our flag, and plot out our territory (though we cannot claim the territory; see Goldman's paper on international law) much as the early settlers did in America in the 1600s. We would create a rapport within the town but might recreate the conflict and friction between towns owned by different countries which has occurred on Earth.
The governmental body, possibly NASA, would have an important role to play: There are certain facilities which are funded, installed, and managed by governmental authorities in communities around the world; these include power, transportation systems, water and waste treatment systems, and medical, educational, athletic, and other such facilities that promote the general wellbeing of the population. The scope of space infrastructure will certainly be larger than the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia (fig. 11 A Photo of the South terminal of the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia, Courtesy of the Information Office of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia), the largest airport in the world, which was built in the middle of the desert at a cost of $4.5 billion by 10,000 workers (at the peak of construction). It is a self-contained city that includes a desalination plant to get drinking water out of sea water, a hospital, and its own telephone system. It was constructed to provide adequate shelter, eating facilities, and restroom accommodations for 80 000 travelers expected during the 36-hour period of the hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.
The advantage of governmental development and management of supporting infrastructure is that it provides access to life-sustaining facilities to small as well as large enterprises and to individuals of all economic levels, enabling them to undertake entrepreneurial as well as corporate economic activities.
Governmental involvement in these sectors encourages the most broadbased development scenario. Since these projects do not necessarily generate a profit, the go/no-go decision is typically based on cost/benefit analysis: How many people will be serviced by a particular infrastructure facility and how much economic activity can be stimulated in return for the costs assumed? Government initiation is not intended to create a welfare state but rather to foster economic activity, support diversified growth, and above all create taxpayers who will pay off the debt incurred in establishing the infrastructure, cover its operating costs, and support infrastructure expansion. NASA could seed the growth of the initial community and then sell the infrastructure to the community, once a sufficient economic base was created.
The international spacetown: The opportunity exists to go beyond community development as we know it today and establish a true international or citizen of Planet Earth-community. A consortium of national space agencies could jointly plan, design, and install an infrastructure network to support a broad diversity of economic activity in space. Technical, financial, and market supply and demand benefits could be derived from this global cooperative effort. It is essential that technological compatibility and interchangeability be achieved so that products and processes will be transferable to and usable by all. Standards for gravity, oxygen, food quality, screw sizes, shielding densities, and maintenance requirements need to be set. Space medical standards and practices must be established. The costs of setting up life in such remote locations will be enormous. It will be wise to share fully the costs of infrastructure development, undertaken in cooperation. Again, the goal is to create a community of economically productive taxpayers, who will begin to reimburse the national space agencies for their design and development efforts (funds which could then be used to move to a subsequent planet and begin the same seeding process).
The ultimate objective of the International spacetown. (An example of International Development of space Infrastructure), however is to create a thriving self-governing metropolis that is democratic and full of opportunity for individual entrepreneurs as well as large, established global corporations. In an environment where there probably will not be curtains at the windows and paintings on the walls for some time, it is important that individual creativity and ingenuity be highly respected and given broad leeway to realize itself.
Negotiating Risk Allocation
At the very largest, megaproject scale of development, no single organization has yet been able to finance, provide the technology for, or market the output of the completed facilities alone. A broad array of technologies, both infrastructural and industrial, are required in large volumes to attain mega-scale project parameters. In addition, abundant transfers of proven technological processes and secured market demand for the output are required to attain economic feasibility. The project requirements define the extent and nature of the inter-organizational collaborations needed to bring the project to fruition. (See table 16 Project Requirements and Consortia Formation.)
Commercial resource development projects are undertaken because of a clearly visible opportunity to make a profit in the face of clearly high risks. The extraction and processing of fuels and minerals, and in certain cases the harnessing of power sources, come under this heading. In the developing world, these projects are usually sponsored by publicly owned corporations or state-owned enterprises and depend on private equity capital in addition to any public loans or grants the project might be eligible for. Overruns and delays during project implementation can as frequently be attributed to the partners selected (too many, in conflict, different goals for the project) as to logistical and other difficulties intrinsic to the project itself.
Some commercial projects are "turnkey" projects, in which a factory can literally be transplanted to the site. These might be manufacturing facilities, hydroponic food farms, and other types of processing plants that are self contained -perhaps even a factory to extract liquid oxygen from regolith on the Moon (fig. 12. A Turnkey Factory on the Moon: Development of lunar resources may turn out to be a commercial enterprise. In this artist's illustration, a fictitious company, the Extraterrestrial Development Corporation (EDC), has installed an oxygen plant on the lunar surface and is operating it and selling the oxygen produced to NASA and possibly other customers. The fluidized bed reactor in the background uses ilmenite concentrated from lunar soil as feedstock Oxygen is extracted from this ilmenite by hot hydrogen gas, making water vapor. The water is electrolyzed, the oxygen is captured and stored as a cryogenic liquid, and the hydrogen is recycled back into the reactor. The power for the plant comes from the large solar collectors on either side of the reactor. Artist Mark Dowman). Turnkey projects are lower risk and are typically supported by export financing from the home country of the technology process owner, in addition to equity capital provided by the plant owners.
The final class of projects is infrastructure development projects, which provide life-sustaining needs to a community, enabling its members to carry out productive, wealth-generating activities. Such a project is often owned and operated by a governmental agency and, once operational, supported by taxes and user fees. The initial installation of these infrastructural facilities, such as water supply, waste treatment, power supply, public housing, sports and recreational facilities, as well as transportation and communication networks and public administration buildings, is typically financed by loans provided by international development agencies or capital raised from the public in the form of bonds. A core infrastructural network can be established at the start of human settlement on other planets and expanded as the human base it supports is extended.
In my experience of megaprojects developed on Planet Earth, in particular in remote locations in developing countries (Murphy 1983), I have seen effective multicompany efforts to stabilize the project parameters through consortia negotiation and interorganizational contracting.
What a consortium is: In general, as the level of risk increases, so does the likelihood that a consortium of companies will be formed to insulate any one participant from potentially devastating financial consequences, should the project fail. I am consciously substituting the term .. consortium" for the expression "joint venture," because it suggests a more pragmatic basis for collaboration and for sharing risks, negotiating responsibilities, and determining the split of profits, if the project succeeds. The parties involved in a consortium contract among themselves to specify the responsibilities of each. The common features of a consortium are that
How project needs are met: These collaborative undertakings provide an effective way to satisfy the enormous capital sourcing, technology transfer, and market access requirements common to all megaprojects by ensuring that the critical drivers of economic viability are satisfied. However, the contributions of such consortia to enhanced effectiveness may vary by industry sector:
Not only does the resource consortium provide an important vehicle for controlling some of the external risks of a project which are beyond the sponsor's ability to manage alone, but also, depending on the expertise of the partners, the consortium may bring together sponsors whose technology and managerial assistance can enhance control of the internal risk factors of the megaproject at the same time. On the other hand, if managerial expertise is lacking, contracts for project or construction management can be established with organizations skilled in the weak areas.
How participant risks are minimized:
Capital funding and market access are often secured for the project through multi-organization consortia, involving a share of the project equity while minimizing risk exposure for the respective participants:
It is becoming easier to put together consortia, as the key players have built up an experience base with respect to inter-organizational collaboration. As industries have evolved over the last two decades, the ground rules for collaboration among international developers have changed from nationalistic to global strategic perspectives and dimensions. Joint technology and marketing ventures among companies that have traditionally been competitors have become common.
Managing Project Construction and Startup
As complex as construction and startup are in the most remote of locations on Earth, they will be orders of magnitude more complex on another planet. If handtools or screws are forgotten, it will be a long way back to get them; replacement parts will not be an airplane ride away; and Federal Express or UPS will probably not have offices in the closest city.
Several decisions can affect how roughly or smoothly the construction and startup will go.
Integrated or phased: Megaprojects, whether resource or infrastructure development, are brought to fruition under management scenarios that best meet the needs of the participants, the capital constraints, the level of technology in hand, and the demand for the output. Projects can be developed in an integrated manner, installing all components at the same time. An example is the $20 billion Al Jubail Industrial Complex in Saudi Arabia (fig. 13 A photo of the Seaport of Al Jubail Industrial Complex in Saudi Arabia). Expected to take 20 years to develop, with a completion date set for 1997, it includes three petrochemical plants, an oil refinery, steel and aluminum plants, water and waste treatment facilities, a desalination plant, housing, a training center, a seaport, and an international airport-all of which were planned and developed under one, integrated project concept.
Projects can also be developed in a phased manner. One facility can be installed which then provides the base from which additional facilities can be built. An example is the development of the Bintula area in Malaysia. First a $5 billion liquid natural gas facility was installed, supported by a basic work camp and infrastructure. A subsequent project is being planned to develop the entire area as a resort, including a new city, at a cost of $10-15 billion.
Each approach has benefits and risks, which are summarized in table 17. (A table illustrating Economics and Project Sequencing). An integrated approach puts stress on the internal aspects of the project, making procurement, logistics, and labor management more complex. However, there are external advantages to coming onstrearn earlier, such as a shorter period for borrowing capital and a quicker payback.
Phased development stretches out the completion date of the fully integrated project, thus allowing competitive inroads, but permits greater control over each section. Procurement is phased, there are fewer players involved at one time, and adjustments are smoother.
For NASA, the issue is whether it is better to develop a work camp on the Moon only, or on the Moon and on Mars, or on the Moon first and then on Mars. Should a small outpost be developed, or an entire community? What functions will the base serve? Is it an observation post from which to conduct science, or is it a resource development base for mineral extraction, or is it an infrastructure base from which to explore and experiment in search of wealth generating activities? The ability to answer these questions will be determined by the findings from various exploratory missions. The ability to respond to those findings will depend on the extent of technological breakthrough achieved in our capabilities.
Achieving synergy: The most important opportunity for capitalizing on cost reduction opportunities, not to mention actively preventing overruns, lies in maximizing efficiencies during the construction phase; that is, the period during which most of the capital is spent. The ability to recognize and take immediate advantage of the tradeoffs that must be made daily can provide significant cost savings. Megaprojects often entail several kinds of construction by multiple contractors simultaneously;
Therefore managerial synergy is critical: (1) from one stage to another, (2) among processes installed, and (3) between the goals of the sponsors and the services of the technology providers. Attention must be paid as much to the transition points of a megaproject as to performance within each component. Unbudgeted costs have often been incurred at these critical transition points, where leadership responsibility has not been clearly defined.
Unique megaproject management expertise:
Companies which have been successful providers of project management expertise in the developing world have relied on their strong reputations and expertise from their home countries as their entree into the megaproject arena. Since companies are not awarded contracts to experiment with or diversify their services but rather to deliver proven expertise, U.S. firms have been the companies of choice because of their track record of fully implemented megascale projects that have been developed at home. All projects of $1 billion or more in the developing world requiring project management capabilities (such as oil refineries, gas processing facilities, and transportation infrastructure) have been awarded exclusively to U.S. design/construction firms.
The most complex megaprojects have been designed, engineered, constructed, and managed by the U.S. design/constructors Bechtel, Fluor, and Ralph M. Parsons. These three companies are superior in their ability to deal with complexity through sophisticated project management systems and worldwide procurement networks. This suggests that NASA's continued attention to megaproject management innovation will ensure that this U.S. tradition of being the preeminent providers of complex project management services worldwide-a critical national competitive advantage will be sustained.
The consortium is also a common approach used by small or medium sized design, engineering, construction, or manufacturing companies to achieve the scale required to bid on one of these jobs. Consortia and independent turnkey contracts are generally written on a fixed-fee basis, with the contractor absorbing most of the risks associated with delays or overruns. There are numerous variables that go into determining the optimum contractual formula. In general, the purpose of these packages is to take risk away from the sponsors, while at the same time removing day-to-day managerial control of construction from the sponsor.
Options for a project sponsor: The project sponsor's objective is to establish an organizational framework that lets each participant know what to expect from the others; how to handle changes in cost, schedule, or tradeoff opportunities; how to reach decisions; how to keep the project moving. An effective network of project intelligence and a spirit of ,.mega-cooperation" must be achieved. Decision-making must be done swiftly and surely, giving prime consideration to the status of the project rather than to the status of the person who sits across the table.
A review of existing megaprojects indicates that there are three generic ways in which owners or sponsors structure their projects. A sponsor's level of involvement is a function of that firm's in-house project management competence. A sponsor can
As NASA gets closer to launching the most complex megaprojects of all time, it is important to recognize that sufficient capital, technology, and market access can be pooled from a global network of corporations and financial institutions without compromising NASA's role as the energizing leader with the ennobling vision.
Table of Contents
To request information on this web site in a Section 508 accessible format, please contact [email protected]
NASA Website Privacy Statement This mirror of the NASA Ames Research Center Space Settlement web site is provided by:
Curator: Al Globus
NASA Responsible Official: Dr. Ruth Globus
If you find any errors on this page contact Al Globus.
Table of Contents
To request information on this web site in a Section 508 accessible format, please contact [email protected]
NASA Website Privacy Statement
This mirror of the NASA Ames Research Center Space Settlement web site is provided by: