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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 30, 1998



The U.S. Space Program: A Long-term Investment in Americas Future

For four decades, the United States has led the world in the exploration and use of outer space. Our achievements in space have inspired a generation of Americans and people throughout the world. President Clinton believes that we should maintain this leadership through a strong, stable, and balanced national space program based on revolutionary new partnerships with the private sector and with other spacefaring nations. Our space activities represent a critical investment in America's 21st century economy. Maintaining our leadership role in space will serve national security, foreign policy, and economic goals. To that end, the Clinton Administration has vigorously supported policies and programs designed to cut costs, increase efficiency, and spur scientific and technological advancement.

Transforming NASA into a High-Payoff Research and Development Agency

In 1992, NASA's budget request for fiscal year 1993 was $15 billion and its budget plan assumed growth to $21 billion by FY 1998. In fiscal year 1991, only one-third of NASA's budget was devoted to the sciences and aerospace technology. NASA was criticized as having a bloated bureaucracy, employing too many civil servants (25,000), and pursuing missions that were too ambitious, too expensive, and took too long to develop. During that period, NASA was launching only two Earth and Space Science spacecraft each year, with an average cost of $590 million and an eight-year development time.

In 1998, NASA is regarded as a transformed agency. NASA has been a leader in the reinvention of Government process. NASA?s annual budgets have been in the $13 to $14 billion range in recent years and its civil service workforce is under 18,000, with its headquarters staffing at about half its 1992 level. The percentage of the NASA budget devoted to the sciences and aerospace technology has increased to 42%, even though the total amount appropriated to NASA by Congress for fiscal year 1998 ($13.6 billion) is $650 million less than fiscal year 1993's appropriation. Compared to 1991, NASA is now launching an average of eight spacecraft per year versus two, while developing them at one third the cost and in half the time. The cost of Space Shuttle flights is down by more than a third and all safety indicators are significantly improved. The NASA workforce continues to be redeployed from doing the day-to-day management of spaceflight operations into research and technology.

Clinton Administration Space Policies: The Foundation for Progress

Over the past six years, the Clinton Administration has established and implemented a series of space policies to address a broad range of civil, national security, and commercial activities. These policies are based on the cumulative experience of the United States in space, they recognize the current domestic and international environments' most importantly, the end of the Cold War and they reflect the growing maturity of U.S. government, commercial, and international space capabilities. These policies explain major Administration initiatives, goals, and priorities; they establish and enable U.S. government agency roles and activities; and they recognize the interactions among the four space sectorscivil, military, intelligence, and commercial.

National Space Policy (PDD/NSTC8), September 1996 The Clinton Administration's overarching national space policy establishes the goals and priorities for America's activities in space. America's space program enhances knowledge of the Earth, solar system and universe through human and robotic exploration; strengthens U.S. national security; enhances economic competitiveness and scientific and technical capabilties of the U.S.; encourages commercial use of space; and promotes international cooperation to further U.S. domestic, national security, and foreign policies.

Convergence of U.S. Polar Orbiting Weather Satellites (PDD/NSTC2), May 1994
President Clinton has taken the initiative to integrate the military and civil polar orbiting weather satellite programs into a single system the National Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) designed to continue satisfying operational requirements while reducing development and operating costs.

LANDSAT Remote Sensing Strategy (PDD/NSTC3), May 1994 President Clinton has pursued the continuance of the LANDSAT 7 program, assuring the continuity of more than 20 years of calibrated LANDSAT-type and quality of earth remote sensing data for civil, commercial, scientific, and environmental uses, while reducing the risk of a data gap.

National Space Transportation Policy (PDD/NSTC4), August 1994 President Clinton clearly assigned responsibility for expendable launch vehicle technology and development to the Department of Defense, while assigning NASA the lead responsibility for developing and demonstrating technologies to enable a decision regarding development of a next-generation reusable launch vehicle. He also reinforced the long-standing, stable policy environment regarding U.S. government support for U.S. commercial space launch activities.

U.S. Global Positioning System Policy (PDD/NSTC-6), March 1996 The Clinton Administration established a strategic vision for the future management and use of GPS, addressing a broad range of military, civil, commercial, and scientific interests, both national and international. A key goal is to encourage the acceptance and integration of GPS into peaceful civil, commercial, and scientific applications worldwide, while promoting safety and efficiency in transportation and other fields.

Commercial Remote Sensing, March 1994 The Clinton Administration recognized the value of commercial and international capabilities in remote sensing from space to support scientific, industrial, government, and commercial users. The goal of the Administration?s policy is to support and enhance U.S. industrial competitiveness while protecting U.S. national security and foreign policy interests. The Administration established a case-by-case review process including specific conditions for proposals to license the operation of U.S. private remote sensing space systems, to transfer advanced remote sensing capabilities, or to transfer sensitive technology under government-to-government agreements.

The environment created by President Clinton's comprehensive space policies has enabled and advanced a number of significant space programs and activities to further the Administration's goals and priorities for the civil, national security, and commercial sectors. Significantly, on the basis of this stable and predictable policy environment, the U.S. commercial space sector has recently made substantial private investments to develop new capabilities and expand capacity to address unprecedented growth in demand for a variety of telecommunication services for customers across the United States and around the world.

Clinton Administration Space Programs and Initiatives: Significant Accomplishments

America's accomplishments in space under the Clinton Administration span a range of civil, commercial, and national security programs that support hundreds of thousands of high-tech, high-wage jobs across the country. Emerging applications developed by the commercial space sector promise to continue expanding the value of space activities to our national economy and prosperity. U.S. space capabilities have continued to provide unparalleled contributions to the national security of the United States. Specific highlights of U.S. space accomplishments under the Clinton Administration include:

International Space Station
Under President Clinton's leadership, NASA welcomed Russia into the 13-nation partnership, making the International Space Station program the largest international scientific cooperative project in history. During the five years since the Clinton Administration's 1993 redesign, the U.S. and foreign partners have built over 400,000 pounds of flight hardware and the first elements are scheduled for launch and assembly in orbit on November 20 and December 3, 1998.

The five-year, nine-mission Shuttle-Mir experience gave us invaluable experience in international space operations, while reducing health and safety risks for future astronauts who will fly on the International Space Station. By the time the seventh and final U.S. crew member returned after a long-duration stay, U.S. astronauts had spent 919 days in space aboard the Mir space station. This exceeds by almost five months the total time accumulated in orbit during more than 90 Shuttle flights since the beginning of the Shuttle program in 1981.

Space Transportation
In 1994, the Clinton Administration announced a strategy to pursue low-cost access to space. In October 1998, government and industry announced the design and $3 billion in government contract awards matched by $2 billion in private investment?to develop and fly two families of Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles (EELVs) that will reduce launch costs by 25 to 50 percent over the next 20 years, facilitating access to space for both commercial and government payloads well into the next century.

NASA is at work with its industry partners to build and fly reusable launch vehicle technology demonstration vehicles under a government-industry program with a goal of reducing launch costs by a factor of ten within ten years. NASA has committed more than $900 million to the X-33 program, along with more than $200 million in private investment. Both the X-33 and the smaller X-34 well into their construction phase, and both are scheduled for test flights next year.

Since 1992, NASA has made major strides to improve the safety and reliability of the Space Shuttle system, as well as its operational efficiency. Through a series of technical and process improvements, NASA has significantly reduced risks by improving the design of the Space Shuttle Main Engine, conducted 16 consecutive launches over the past two years within the first five minutes of the launch window (excluding weather scrubs), and reduced the average number of in-flight anomalies by a factor of three since 1992. At the same time, operational efficiencies and performance improvements have combined to cut by half the cost per pound of payload delivered to orbit.

Space Science and Origins Initiative Since the first Hubble repair mission in 1993, Americans and people the world over have been astounded and inspired by an amazing succession of Hubble Space Telescope images that deepen and challenge our understanding of the universe in ways we could not have imagined even ten years ago. NASA?s Mars Pathfinder and Sojourner rover likewise captured the imagination of people around the world during their mission of discovery in the summer of 1997. NASA's Lunar Prospector has detected evidence to suggest the presence of ice on the moon. Galileo's images and discoveries in the Jupiter system suggest that there may be oceans on one of Jupiter's moons, Europa. And over the past few years, scientists from around the world have detected evidence for more than 20 planets around other stars in our galaxy establishing the foundation for the Administration's $900 million Origins initiative to detect and characterize planetary systems beyond our solar system.

Under President Clinton, NASA has revolutionized space exploration by replacing large, complex spacecraft with smaller, faster, better, cheaper, and more frequent missions with shorter development times. This new approach to space exploration has allowed NASA to cut average development costs by more than half while almost doubling the number and frequency of Earth and space science missions.

Exploring Planet Earth
Space-based Earth observation provides a wealth of valuable information for the protection of public health, safety, and national security. Acknowledging the need for efficient operation of earth observation systems, President Clinton directed the development and operation of a LANDSAT 7 system under the coordination of NASA, NOAA, and USGS. In order to reduce redundancy in the operation of space-based observation systems, the Administration established a single, converged National Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), which activated a common ground station to control both DoD and NOAA weather satellites in 1997. These programs, along with other NASA Earth Science and NOAA satellite missions, give us powerful new tools for analyzing weather, and for long-term prediction of floods, drought, violent storms, and other natural occurrences like El Ni'o and La Ni'a phenomena and variations in the ozone hole over Antarctica. They also give us fundamental new insights into how human activities may have profound effects on our planet.

In March, 1996, the Clinton Administration announced a new policy for the use and management of the United States Global Positioning System (GPS), a service that is offered free of charge to U.S. allied and military forces and civilian users all over the world. Recognizing that GPS is rapidly becoming a crucial component of the Global Information Infrastructure, offering a wide range of important applications in areas such as navigation, global change research, and mapping, President Clinton has outlined a policy that aims to balance both national security and commercial interests. As demand grows for GPS services among civil users, the Administration is devising a way to ensure adequate civil access to GPS while protecting precise positioning service for authorized military users.

Commercial Space Activities
In addition to the private investments U.S. industry has made to reduce launch costs through cooperative programs with government agencies, private investors have also committed well over $1 billion toward the development of new commercial launch systems and international partnerships aimed at addressing global demand for commercial satellite launches. State governments and private entities have also built and started operating their own private launch sites in the past few years. Commercial launch demand has doubled since 1992, and commercial launches now outpace U.S. government launch rates for expendable vehicles.

The commercial sector is also rapidly developing new space-based capabilities, including global, mobile messaging, data transfer, and cellular phone services. The first wave of these capabilities is already built and operating, and the next wave, including high-speed Internet access from any point on Earth, is in development. The Clinton Administration's stable and predictable commercial space policy environment contributed to the ability of U.S. industry to develop and field these new space capabilities which promise to improve life on Earth.