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Space power for an expanded vision

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1 Author(s)
Braselton, W.M., Jr. ; Gov. Aerosp. Syst. Div., Harris Corp., Melbourne, FL, USA

The author suggests that the problem with the space program in the 1990s is that there are few short term benefits that the public can directly relate to and no long term vision that will motivate them. Recent surveys have shown that public would support an expanded space program if they understood the specific short term purpose that provides benefits coupled to a longer term vision. The author discusses a proposed space program that has a 100 Year Vision and a specific beneficial near term purpose. The specific near term purpose is to return to the Moon and develop He for nuclear fusion power on Earth, and then expand into the Solar System and eventually to the nearby stars with the purpose of finding new life as a long term vision. This is how the author sees it unfolding-in three Epochs. Epoch I is proposed as the minimum near term space program. Space Station Freedom in near-Earth orbit being serviced by the Space Shuttle, the National Aerospace Plane and the Single-Stage-To-Orbit Vehicle. Just above Freedom is an Earth Observing System Satellite that, as part of Mission to Planet Earth, will monitor and analyze our planet's ecological systems. There are also a great many scientific, defense and launch systems whose technologies will evolve to play critical roles in future epochs

Published in:

Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:10 ,  Issue: 3 )