Friday, 09 April 93 Washington, DC
1. U.S. TURNS TO RUSSIA FOR HELP IN RESTRUCTURING SPACE STATION!
Charles Vest, President of MIT, was named by Vice President Gore
last week to head an Advisory Committee on the Redesign of Space
Station Freedom. On Saturday, White House Science Advisor John
Gibbons met with the Committee to let them know what to expect.
It's NOT going to be a no-frills version of the current design.
There will be three low-calorie options: a crash diet at $5B, a
mid-range of $7B and Freedom-lite at $9B; even the high option
would cost less than a third as much as the current design. How
can NASA trim 70% off the cost? Ask the Russians! Gibbons said
the United States and its international partners have agreed to
consider the use of "Russian assets" in the redesign process.
2. NASA TURNS TO UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND FOR HELP WITH RUSSIANS!
NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin announced that "Russian
participation will be accomplished through the East-West Space
Science Center of the University of Maryland under the direction
of Dr. Roald Sagdeev." The small Center, which was created in
the Physics Department at Maryland to promote cooperation with
the former Soviet Union, will seek to bring together Russian and
American experts to determine which elements of the Russian space
program could be utilized on Space Station Freedom. Sagdeev, one
of the world's leading plasma physicists, was Director of the
Space Research Institute in Moscow and Science Advisor to Soviet
President Gorbachev before joining the University of Maryland.
The Russians, meanwhile, are said to be proposing a merger of
Freedom and Mir-2. Scheduled for launch in 1997, Mir-2 was
intended to meet the now-diminished challenge of Freedom.
3. $1.5 TRILLION BUDGET REQUEST EMPHASIZES CIVILIAN TECHNOLOGY.
President Clinton asked for a record-high $76B for R&D in the FY
94 budget, or about a 3% increase. Overall, the shift in R is
from military to civilian and from basic to applied. The biggest
percentage increase (15%) goes to the Department of Commerce to
aid industrial competitiveness; within Commerce, NIST would go
up 39% to $535M. About half of NSF's $2.2B request for research
is allocated to the five strategic research initiatives, although
most researchers may not even be aware of whether they are doing
"strategic research." At DOE, a balance of a different sort has
been achieved; the budget calls for equal spending on weapons and
cleaning up the mess from past weapons production. A cause for
concern is the failure of Congress to pass the FY 93 NSF
supplemental appropriation of $207M before Easter break
(WN 19 Feb 93).
4. "CIRCLE THE WAGONS, AND REMEMBER, YOU SHOULD BE SHOOTING OUT."
Will Happer, DOE Director of Energy Research, delivered the call
for unity to the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel on Tuesday,
but Happer was also warning materials scientists that they too
should be inside the circle--if Congress kills the Super Collider
they might bury the Advanced Neutron Source in the same grave.