Friday, 27 March 1992 Washington, DC
1. EVERYDAY LOW PRICES: RUSSIAN SPACE PROGRAM OPENS
to US. A delegation of high-level hucksters,
led by Minister of Science Boris Saltykov and including all the
top brass of the Russian Academy of Sciences, made a pitch by
teleconference to the House Space Subcommittee this week. On the
shelves are the Mir Space Station, x-ray optics, heavy-lift
launchers, Soyuz rescue vehicles, Topaz space nuclear reactors
and hypersonic ramjet engines. The US has already snatched up
2. IN THE EXPRESS AISLE IS FORMER COLD WARRIOR EDWARD
Teller put down his spear and passionately espoused the checkbook
during the House hearing on bilateral space cooperation. As one
example of mutual benefit, he observed that heavy lift launchers
could be used to install hundreds of brilliant eyes in orbit to
monitor Earth. To the reverently attentive panel, Teller called
for: "Peace through cooperation, not control. We must have open-
ness. We must eliminate secrecy." The hearing was delayed to
permit the congressmen to have their pictures taken with Teller.
Even former President Reagan seemed to argue in written testimony
that the best way to fix our space program may be to buy theirs.
3. MEANWHILE NASA'S BUDGET MAY BE HELD HOSTAGE TO THE
House leaders have twice postponed votes on
removing the barrier to the transfer of funds from defense to
domestic discretionary programs, because they fear it would not
carry. With the barrier in place, Rep. Traxler (D-MI), chair of
the subcommittee that funds both NASA and NSF, sees a flat NASA
budget in FY 93, which means deep cuts in the President's
request. Traxler, who tried unsuccessfully to zero the space
station last year, commented to Space News that, "The political
will appears to award the space station the highest priority."
Instead, he argues, space science and exploration must take the
cut. That's a relief to Rep. Ralph Hall (D-TX), who remarked at
the space cooperation hearing that there is a lot of cancer in
his family; he anxious to see the space station finished, because
he thinks it will lead to a cure.
4. LAST YEAR'S SPACE STATION CHAMPION SEEMS HEADED THE OTHER
Ironically, Sen. Mikulski (D-MD), Traxler's counterpart in the
Senate, did not exempt the space station: "If the firewalls do
not come down," she said in a Tuesday floor speech, we might have
to shrink or even cancel the space station." She also warned of
heavy cuts in EOS and elimination of as many as 2,000 NSF grants.
5. REPORT CALLS FOR LARGER FEDERAL ROLE IN TECHNOLOGY
A panel of the National Academy of Sciences,
chaired by former Defense Secretary Harold Brown, recommended
that Congress create a $5B Civilian Technology Corporation to
speed comercialization of new products and processes. The report
also calls for creation of an Industrial Extension Service and
selection of a few federal labs to work with private firms to
speed up technology transfer.