Members will hear testimony on international space exploration programs. Senator Brownback will preside. Following is a tentative witness list (not necessarily in order of appearance):
Witness Panel 1
Mr. Sven Grahn
Distinguished members of the subcommittee, It is a great honour to describe SMART-1, Europe’s first space probe to the Moon which has been developed by the Swedish Space Corporation on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA). The spacecraft weighed 367 kg (810 lbs) when it was launched by an Ariane-5 rocket on 27 September 2003. It is expected to reach an orbit around the Moon perhaps as early as in November of this year. In my statement I intend to concentrate on those aspects of the project where my own organization has contributed. The account is made from the perspective of the supplier, a quite small company in a small member country of ESA’s. What methods were used to permit us, a company of about 300 employees, to develop a sophisticated lunar probe of brand-new design in 39 months? That is the main question that I will address. The Mission and its background SMART-1 is the first of ESA's Small Missions for Advanced Research and Technology (SMART). Their purpose is to test new technologies that will eventually be used on bigger projects. The main mission objective of SMART-1 is the flight demonstration of electric propulsion for deep space missions. In early studies of SMART-1 a mission to an asteroid was considered. However, the piggyback launch opportunity selected put a strict upper limit on total mass and propellant mass. Also, a mission to an asteroid would require the use of busy and expensive ground tracking facilities because of the long distances involved. Therefore a flight to the Moon provided a solution to both these concerns. When the decision to fly to the Moon had been taken it was natural to include as much scientific instruments as possible. The tight mass limit provided an incentive for miniaturized instrument design – a bonus for later missions into the solar system. Thus the spacecraft uses a 68 mN stationary plasma thruster (PPS-1350 developed by the French company SNECMA and provided as a Customer-Furnished-Item by ESA) which consumes 82 kg of Xenon propellant to provide about 3.5 km/s of increased velocity that will bring SMART-1 from a geostationary transfer orbit to lunar orbit. The travel time will be in the order of 16 months. The final lunar orbit after capture is intended to be polar, between 300 km and 10000 km in altitude with the lowest point close to the lunar south pole. The Lunar observation phase will last for at least six months. In lunar orbit, the spacecraft will be pointed with one axis at the lunar surface for carrying out a complete programme of scientific observations from lunar orbit. The spacecraft carries a scientific payload weighing 19 kg which contains miniaturized instruments such as an imager for visible light and near-infrared light, an infrared spectrometer, an X-ray spectrometer and instruments to measure the effect of the electric thruster on the space plasma environment. Important science objectives of SMART-1 are to conduct lunar crust studies in order to test the current theories of the formation of the Moon, and to establish whether the large hydrogen deposits detected near the South Lunar Pole by the US Probes Clementine and Lunar Prospector, is indeed water. During the cruise phase to the Moon, experiments related to autonomous spacecraft navigation will be carried out using images from the star trackers and the miniature imager. ESA’s official cost figure for the SMART-1 project is 100 million euros at 2001 economic conditions (including spacecraft, launch, operations and part of the payload). The spacecraft The spacecraft is designed with regard to the power needed for the electric propulsion, the severe radiation environment that is a consequence of the slow earth escape trajectory and the need for on-board autonomy. The design life of the spacecraft is two years. The spacecraft looks like a one cubic meter (35 cu ft) cube equipped with solar panels with a 14-meter (45 ft) span. Power is provided by a large solar array with almost 2 kW of initial power using highly efficient triple-junction cells and a 220 Ah Li-ion battery. The spacecraft’s attitude control uses reaction wheels and hydrazine thrusters for steering based on inputs from very compact star trackers and gyros. The spacecraft platform contains several new technology elements in addition to the electric propulsion. These elements are both part of the mission objectives and part of the answer to the question how a small company in a small country can build such a capable spacecraft. Autonomy was a major design driver for the spacecraft so that the long cruise to the Moon would not tie up expensive ground station time and operations staff. Therefore the avionics was entirely new and its architecture was designed so that on-board software could autonomously manage fault detection isolation and recovery. The development task The project to develop the spacecraft lasted 6½ years from the first contact in March 1997 between ESA and the Swedish Space Corporation until launch. After initial assessment, feasibility and definition studies the development contract was signed in December 1999 and the spacecraft was formally delivered to the customer after 39 months. The spacecraft was stored for a few months awaiting the Ariane-5 piggyback launch opportunity. The prime contractor team that managed and carried out the development of the spacecraft and several of its subsystems expended 280000 working hours to complete the spacecraft. In addition the team procured other subsystems and equipment under fixed price contracts with vendors. The prime contractor staff reached a maximum size of about 75 persons, including on-site outside consultants for specific development tasks Previous experience of SSC as a prime contractor The Swedish Space Corporation designs, launches and operates space systems. We design and build small satellites, sounding rockets and subsystems for space vehicles. At our launch site in the far north of Sweden we launch sounding rockets and balloons and provide communications services to satellites with our extensive antenna facilities. The latest such support task was to NASA’s Gravity Probe B launched last week. The company was formed in 1972, has 300 employees, is owned by the government, and operates as a commercial corporation. The Swedish Space Corporation, at the time of its selection to develop SMART-1, had built and launched three successful spin-stabilized space physics satellites and was finishing the development of a small radio astronomy/aeronomy satellite with extremely accurate pointing capability (5 arc-seconds stability). This satellite, Odin, was launched in February 2001 and has performed brilliantly since then. The level of complexity of Odin is comparable to SMART-1. This made it possible for our company to at all contemplate taking on the development of SMART-1 when this task was offered to Sweden by ESA as part of a package for compensating our country for insufficient “industrial return” on its investment in Europe’s future in space. All our previous projects have been essentially multilateral projects under Swedish leadership. To develop these spacecraft SSC used a “skunk-works” approach in which a highly skilled small group of people is put to work with little outside daily monitoring and using only the documentation needed to build the product. “Peer” reviews of the technical work were used instead of formal reviews. Such an approach is often confused with the Faster, Better, Cheaper (FBC) paradigm. “Skunk-works” methods can be part of the FBC paradigm, but there is nothing in the “skunk-works” methodology that inherently assumes that higher risks will be accepted. For example; although we used military or commercial parts, tests and other measures were taken to convince us these parts would work, even if the analysis and test methods were unconventional. Sometimes rigorous computer analysis was replaced by simpler “back-of-the envelope” analysis, but extensive testing on all levels was never cut back – rather the opposite. The first small satellite we developed actually was tested, almost fully integrated, daily for almost a year. In these projects low cost was emphasized as the driving parameter. In the FBC paradigm, as I understand it, higher risk is explicitly accepted. This was not so in our earlier projects. Instead schedule or performance could be used as ”free” parameters. For example, the Freja magnetospheric research satellite launched in 1992 from China had a very flexible requirements specification which permitted costs and schedule goals to be met. For Odin, the sophisticated radio telescope-carrying satellite, schedule was not critical, but performance and cost was. By using a relatively small team (12 persons), the long development time did not cause excessive cost increases. Thus, our experience tends to confirm that you cannot get all the letters of FBC if you want to limit risk and have the assurance of low risk – you only get two out of the three – unless you add a new ingredient! The new ingredient to possibly resolve the FBC dilemma is smart technology and smart industrial methods. This is what we proposed to ESA for the SMART-1 project and which was in line with the Agency’s ambitions for the project. Thus, when ESA presented the spacecraft to the press in April 2003, Dr David Southwood, ESA’s director of science described the development paradigm for SMART-1 as “faster, better, smarter”. The outline of a truly industrial approach to spacecraft development Thus, SMART-1 was not developed within the “skunk works” paradigm but rather a “light” version of traditional system management methodology pioneered in the development of ICBM’s in the United States. Tight customer oversight of the supplier was used to provide a measure of assurance of low risk. However, ESA kept a comparatively (to other space science projects within ESA) lean staff of approximately 8 persons for day-to-day monitoring of us as the supplier. The monitoring staff consisted mainly of highly skilled technical specialists but also experts on management, project control and contractual aspects. For major project reviews the Customer used its normal level of resources with about 40 specialists spending 4-6 weeks examining every technical aspect of the project. The contract type, cost-plus-incentive-fee (even with a negative fee!), was a way of keeping cost low (the risk to the supplier of developing a brand-new spacecraft with much new technology was not slapped on the price), but it also required much more detailed reporting of man-hours and other expenditures than for a fixed price contract. The organization within the Swedish Space Corporation that developed SMART-1 was the Space Systems Division based at the company’s engineering center in Solna, a suburb of the capitol Stockholm. This division has a total staff of 75 persons so the development of SMART-1 was a major task and indeed a difficult one especially in the early parts of the project when our previous working style had to be changed. However, some choices of technology and methods were worked out with the Customer early in the project that helped considerably in meeting the schedule without losing the assurance of limited risk. 1. Without trying to flatter ESA, a superbly competent customer helps any supplier, and it certainly helped a small company like the Swedish Space Corporation. 2. Commercial-off-the-shelf items from non-aerospace industry were modified for space use or used as-is, i.e. the CAN data bus developed in the automotive industry and a commercial real-time operating system. These items have been developed for commercial use by injecting massive amounts of human resources that is hard to match in the space industry. 3. Since a very large fraction of the spacecraft cost, perhaps 25%, can be related to software development, the most efficient developments methods available had to be used. These can be found in such fields as the mobile telecom industry where the requirements for short “time-to-market” for new products are extreme due to the cut-throat competition. Although so-called automatic code generation is not entirely new to the space business, it had not been used systematically in ESA programs. In SMART-1 we used this in the development of the attitude control software, the fault detection isolation and recovery software, and high-fidelity simulators of the spacecraft. 4. Standard software building blocks for spacecraft basic functions that were developed previously under ESA leadership were used and removed the need not re-invent them. In this way and by using commercial software building blocks (such as operating system) software development could be concentrated on the tasks specific to the SMART-1 mission. 5. Standardized logic circuit designs for implementing the international telemetry and telecommand standard is available through the efforts of ESA, both as ready-made circuits and as code for programming so-called gate arrays – chips that can be programmed to a certain task, for example to be a microprocessor. 6. The modern IT and telecom industry has created an extremely competent cadre of free-lance software engineers used to working in an environment where “time-to-market” and an industrial working style are primary values. This talent pool was tapped for SMART-1. In five of the examples above one can see the outline of a truly industrial approach to spacecraft development, i.e. the widespread use of standard, well-tested building blocks permitting the developer to concentrate on product-specific work. ESA’s role in providing standard building blocks is reminiscent of the role of NACA in early U.S. aeronautics when this organization provided basic design standards such as airfoil profiles to the budding aeronautical industry. This is no revolutionary thought, but it needs to be applied systematically. In SMART-1 we tried to do this and we intend to continue along this approach. For a small company that cannot re-invent everything, this is the only way forward. One might say that space technology needs to “spin on” terrestrial and non-aerospace technology in order to be able to provide more “spin off”, i.e. technology that is spurred to perfection by the forbidding design environment that a space mission provides. Concluding remarks We are indeed proud of our product, excited about working with ESA in advancing the state-of-the-art of astronautics and very flattered by the opportunity to share our experience with this distinguished deliberating body.
Ms. Marcia S. Smith
Click here for a PDF version of Mr. Smith's remarks.
Mr. James Oberg
Thank you for the opportunity to testify before this subcommittee on the question of Chinese intentions regarding lunar exploration. Both in competition and cooperation, China and the United States will be mutually interacting in this arena for decades to come. This statement will examine the recent Chinese manned space flight, Shenzhou-5, to examine what it can reveal about Chinese approaches to selecting space goals and developing space technology, particularly its practices regarding acquisition of foreign space technology and its exploitation of usable lessons from foreign space experience. The Chinese plan for evolution of the Shenzhou program and development of an independent orbital laboratory is becoming clear. Following this, the question of Chinese national goals in space, and expected benefits from space activities, will be addressed. Then the issue of lunar activities can be considered in the context of known Chinese practices and official policies. A broad and aggressive program for unmanned lunar exploration can be discerned. In the context of high-spirited and enthusiastic press accounts of future Chinese space triumphs, the potential for even more ambitious lunar goals involving Chinese astronauts can also be balanced against predictable Chinese technical capabilities and national policy requirements. The Flight of Shenzhou-5 On October 15, 2003, at the Jiuquan Space Center near the edge of the Gobi Desert in northern China, the spaceship Shenzhou 5 blasted off at a date and time that had ‘leaked’ to the world in advance. The spacecraft -- its name means “divine vessel” in Chinese -- was nearly nine meters long and weighs almost eight metric tons, substantially bigger than the Russian Soyuz space vehicle still in use, and similar in size to NASA’s planned ‘Constellation’ spacecraft whose final design has not yet even been selected. The first manned flight of the Shenzhou has already had profound political, social, and diplomatic echoes. In addition to garnering international prestige, China hopes that its human spaceflight program will stimulate advances in the country’s aerospace, computer and electronics industries. Space successes will raise the attractiveness of exports and enhance the credibility of military power. China’s near-term space plans are quite clear: It will establish its own space station in Earth orbit. Within a decade, China’s space activities may well surpass those of Russia and the European Space Agency. And if China becomes the most important space power after the U.S., an entirely new “space race” may begin. China’s Use of Foreign Space Technology A significant factor in China’s success, and a major influence on its future space achievements, is the degree to which its program depends on foreign information. The manned Chinese spaceship used the same general architecture of both the Russian Soyuz and the American Apollo vehicles from the 1960s. The cabin for the astronauts, called a Command Module, lies between the section containing rockets, electrical power, and other supporting equipment (the Service Module) and a second inhabitable module, in front, to support the spacecraft’s main function (for the Soviets, the Orbital Module, and for Apollo, the Lunar Module). So despite superficial resemblances and widespread news media allegations, the Shenzhou is in no way merely a ‘copy’ of the Russian Soyuz – nor is it entirely independent of Russia’s experience or American experience. Its Service Module, for example, has four main engines, whereas Apollo’s service module had only one, and Soyuz has one main and one backup engine. Also, Shenzhou’s large solar arrays generate several times more electrical power than the Russian system. And unlike Soyuz, the Chinese orbital module carries its own solar panels and independent flight control system, allowing it to continue as a free-flying unmanned mini-laboratory long after the reentry module has brought the crew back to Earth. On the other hand, one clear example of outright Chinese copying is in the cabin pressure suits, used to protect the astronauts in case of an air leak during flight (A much more sophisticated suit is used for spacewalks.) The Chinese needed a suit with similar functions, so after obtaining samples of Russia’s Sokol design they copied it exactly, right down to the stitching and color scheme. Other hardware systems that are derived from foreign designs include the ship-to-ship docking mechanism and the ‘escape system’ that can pull a spacecraft away from a malfunctioning booster during launching. Chinese officials have made no secret of such technology transfers. A lengthy article on Chinese space plans appeared in the Xinhua News Agency’s magazine Liaowang in 2002: “After China and Russia signed a space cooperation agreement in 1996, the two countries carried out very fruitful cooperation in docking system installations, model spaceships, flight control, and means of life support and other areas of manned space flight. Russia’s experience in space technology development was and is of momentous significance as enlightenment to China.” The mention of docking systems is especially illuminating. Although Russia and the U.S. have used different types of docking mechanisms over the years to link spacecraft in orbit, photographs of Shenzhou indicate that the Chinese have chosen a Russian variant called the APAS-89. The device consists of a pressurized tunnel 80 centimeters in diameter surrounded by sloping metal petals that allow any two units of the same design to latch together. Originally developed by a US-Soviet team in 1973-1975 for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project and perfected for use by Buran space shuttles visiting the Russian Mir space station [which never happened, although one visiting Soyuz vehicle was equipped with the system], the APAS-89 is now used to dock NASA’s space shuttles to the International Space Station (ISS). Although China is primarily interested in docking its spacecraft with its own small space stations, the decision to employ the APAS-89 mechanism would allow Shenzhou to link with both the space shuttles and the ISS. Regarding the ‘escape system’ [a “tractor rocket” design developed by NASA and adopted by the Russians], launch vehicle manager Huang Chunping told a newspaper reporter about one particular difficulty in the design, the aerodynamic stabilization flaps. “This is the most difficult part,” he explained. “We once wanted to inquire about it from Russian experts, but they set the price at $10 million. Finally we solved the problem on our own.” This pattern (of studying previous work but then designing the actual flight hardware independently) was followed on most other Shenzhou systems, and it has already paid off. What is more, China has launched four ocean-going ships to track its missiles and spacecraft. These Yuan Wang (“Long View”) ships have been deployed in the Pacific Ocean to monitor military missile tests and in the Indian Ocean to control the maneuvering of satellites into geosynchronous orbit. The ships are sent into the South Atlantic, Indian and South Pacific Oceans to support the Shenzhou flights. The Russians used to have a similar fleet but scrapped it in the 1990s because of budget constraints. Rather than purchase the Russian ships, China built its own. Because some of the critical ground-control functions for the Shenzhou’s return to Earth must be performed while the craft is over the South Atlantic, China signed an agreement with the African nation of Namibia in 2000 to build a tracking station near the town of Swakopmund. Construction started in early 2001 and was completed by year’s end. Five permanent residents occupy the facility, and the staff expands to 20 during missions. The site lies under the reentry path of the Shenzhou, and because the craft’s orbit has a different inclination than the International Space Station’s, the Namibian base could not be used to track flights returning from there. This suggests that despite the Shenzhou’s compatible docking gear, the Chinese seem to have no near-term interest in visiting the ISS. Long-Range Strategies and Goals China’s long-range strategy was laid out in a White Paper issued in 2000 by the Information Office of the State Council. It stated that the space industry is “an integral part of the state's comprehensive development strategy.” And instead of developing a wide variety of aerospace technologies, China will focus on specific areas where it can match and then out-do the accomplishments of other nations. Further, China would develop all the different classes of applications satellites that have proven so profitable and useful in other countries: weather satellites, communications satellites, navigation satellites, recoverable research satellites, and earth resources observation satellites. It also will launch small scientific research satellites. A unique and highly significant feature of the Chinese space plan is its tight control from the top. As described by space official Xu Fuxiang in February 2001, “China's various types of artificial satellites, in their research and manufacture, are all under unified national leadership...” that will “correctly select technological paths, strengthen advanced research, and constantly initiate technical advances. We must constantly select development paths where the technological leaps are the greatest.” Strict funding constraints require selecting “limited goals and focus[ing] on developing the ... satellites urgently required by our country,” and on determining which satellites “are most crucial to national development.” The Maoist-style “ideological idiom” for this is: “Concentrating superior forces to fight the tough battle and persisting in accomplishing something while putting some other things aside." The value of tackling difficult space technology challenges was explicitly described in Xiandai Bingqi magazine (June 2000): "From a science & technology perspective, the experience of developing and testing a manned spacecraft will be more important to China's space effort than anything that their astronauts can actually accomplish on the new spacecraft. This is because it will raise levels in areas such as computers, space materials, manufacturing technology, electronic equipment, systems integration, and testing as well as being beneficial in the acquisition of experience in developing navigational, attitude control, propulsion, life support, and other important subsystems, all of which are vitally necessary to dual-use military/civilian projects.” The Next Steps In 2002, Liaowang magazine described the development plan for the manned space program: “After it succeeds in manned space flight, China will very soon launch a cosmic experimental capsule capable of catering to astronauts’ short stays.” This capsule is elsewhere described as “a laboratory with short-term human presence,” to be followed later on by a space station designed for long-term stays. In January 2003, unnamed officials provided further background to Xinhua News Agency reporters: “As the next step, China will endeavor to achieve breakthroughs in docking technology for manned spacecraft and space vehicles, and will launch a [space station]. After that it will build a long-term manned space station to resolve problems related to large-scale space science experiments and applied technology and to make contributions to mankind’s peaceful development of outer space.” In February 2004, Wang Yongzhi, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and identified as ‘chief designer’ of the Chinese manned space program, told the Zhongguo Xinwen She news agency in Beijing that the Shenzhou-6 mission would carry two astronauts for a week-long mission. “Astronauts will have more opportunities for hands-on operation on board the Shenzhou-6,” he stated. “The astronauts will directly operate relevant spaceship-borne instruments and equipment to carry out a series of in-space scientific experimental work.” No date was given, but most Chinese sources indicate that early 2005 is most likely. “When conducting space rendezvous and docking experiments in the past,” he explained, “both the former USSR and the United States had to successively launch two spaceships in one experiment. At the time of devising a plan for China’s space rendezvous and docking experiments in the future, we improved on the past achievements and considered making the Shenzhou spaceship’s orbital capsule, left to continue moving in orbit, the target vehicle in space rendezvous and docking. When conducting a space rendezvous and docking experiment in the future, therefore, China will need to launch only one spaceship.” “This plan is feasible, economical, and faster” in its design, and he expects it to take four or five years to be implemented. Foreign experts consider this plan feasible and reasonable and give it excellent chances of success. On Chinese television, Wang added that following flights by Shenzhou-7 and Shenzhou-8 (perhaps in 2006-2007), China would launch “a space station of larger scale with greater experimental capacity.” A photograph of what appears to be a mockup of this module has been released. It resembles the Soviet Salyut-6 space station (1977-1980), but with a more modern ship-to-ship docking mechanism modeled on Soviet designs now used by the ISS. Chinese Interest in Lunar Exploration In the enthusiasm surrounding the Shenzhou program, many Chinese scientists made bold promises to domestic journalists about ambitious future projects, especially the Moon. Many press comments are difficult to understand, and the problem of translation of unfamiliar technical nomenclature compels outside observers to be very cautious in interpreting them. For example, when Dr. Ouyang Ziyuan, identified as “chief scientist of the moon program”, is quoted as saying “China is expected to complete its first exploration of the moon in 2010 and will establish a base on the moon as we did in the South Pole and the North Pole,” great care must be taken in determining what – if anything – this really means for future space missions. Still, even Western observers also expected major new Chinese space missions. “China intends to conduct a mission to circumnavigate the Moon in a similar manner as was carried out by Apollo-8 in 1968,” noted the American engineering and analysis consulting company, the FUTRON Corporation, in its report, China and the Second Space Age, released the day of Yang’s space launch. “This mission will apparently involve a modified Shenzhou spacecraft and will be launched around 2006,” the report continued. And at a trade fair in Germany, spectacular dioramas showed Chinese astronauts driving ‘lunar rovers’ on the Moon. But those exhibits seem to only be copies of US Apollo hardware with flags added. There is little if any credible evidence that such hardware is even being designed in China for actual human missions to the Moon. According to Luan Enjie, chief of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), China’s first lunar mission will be a small orbiting probe called “Chang'e” (the name of a moon fairy in an ancient Chinese fable). Pictures of the probe suggest it is to be based on the design of the Dong Feng Hong -3 communications satellite, which has already been launched into a 24-hour orbit facing China (the Cox Commission provided persuasive documentation that the original DFH-3 was heavily based on European space technology). This lunar probe is expected to reach the moon in 2007, on a recently-accelerated launch schedule. Chinese press reports also describe widespread university research on lunar roving robots, and especially on the robot manipulators (the arm and hand) to be installed on them. According to an April 7, 2004 report in China's People's Daily, Luan said the lunar rover would carry the names of those institutions that take part in the vehicle's development. The report continued that the lunar rover work was being “carried out under China's High Tech Research and Development Program involving nearly a dozen scientific research institutions.” This work was initiated by Tsinghua University in 1999. The rover is to be able to handle a range of driving conditions and use sensors for automated driving around obstacles. Luan is quoted as saying he is “on the lookout for innovation and creativity in building the lunar rover.” Two years earlier, the Xinhua news agency (Jan 16, 2002) had stated that China’s first ‘space robotics institute’ has been set up in Beijing. Its Deputy Director, Liang Bin, said: “Breakthroughs have been made in many key technologies of space robots. If it is required by China’s space plan, the space robot will be sent to space very soon.” That same year, Liu Hong, a professor at Harbin Polytechnical University, showed a four-fingered hand for use in space. Each finger had four joints, 96 pressure sensors, and 12 motors. “The robot may replace an astronaut to conduct some difficult and dangerous operations outside the space capsule.” Dr. Sun Zengqi, identified as Qinghua University’s ‘leading expert’, is using virtual reality technology to overcome control problems caused by long time delays. Also, he is working on manipulators to handle equipment aboard China’s first small space laboratories that will not be continuously manned. “The gap between China and [other] countries in space robot technology has been greatly narrowed,” Sun said. Tsinghua University is designing what they call “LunarNet”. It would consists of a polar orbiter equipped with sixteen 28 kg hard-landers, to be released in equally spaced areas on two mutually perpendicular orbital planes. The landing system, probably using airbags, would ensure surviving a landing at speeds between 12 and 22 m/s. Each lander will carry a camera, temperature sensors, cosmic ray detectors, a penetrometer, an instrument for the measurement of soil magnetic properties and other instruments. The stations would use a relay satellite for earth comm. There is also the “Lunar Rabbit” soft-lander. It would be a 330 kg probe costing as little as $30 million and would be launched on a geostationary transfer orbit from the Xichang space center. Insertion into a lunar transfer orbit will be carried out on the following day using the on board bipropellant engine. At the time of the third apogee the probe will be inserted in a 100 to 200 km high lunar orbit where it will split into two components. The first, apparently based on the Double Star scientific satellites, will carry out an orbital mission, using a CCD camera, an infrared camera, a radar altimeter and a radiometer. The second will head for a lunar landing. This lander, braked by a solid propellant engine, will carry only a camera and will test optimal control algorithms discussed in some length in Chinese literature. Once on the surface the lander will release a 60 sq. meters Chinese flag. While it is plausible that many of these programs are merely engineering exercises to train students, the doctrine from the 2000 White Paper makes it clear that China cannot and will not waste any efforts in its space program. All activities are to be funded only if they contribute to an existing – if officially undisclosed – unified program. This suggests that these projects are not idle make-work, but are at least candidates for eventual official selection to actually fly. These probes, and a long-range plan for an automated sample return mission by 2020, will not be direct copies of previous missions by Soviet and American spacecraft. Wu Ji, the Deputy Director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' ‘Center for Space Science and Applied Research’, recently declared that Chinese Moon probes will aim at questions not addressed by previous missions. He stressed the importance of doing "something unique.“ The Looming “Great Leap” In Spacelift Capability The key to more ambitious Chinese moon plans – to the rover mission, for example, or even a fly-by of the moon by a manned spacecraft – is the development of a new and more powerful booster called the CZ-5. Comparable to the European Ariane-5 booster or the Russian Proton-M, it will not be a simple upgrade of previous vehicles in this series, where more power was obtained by adding side-mounted boosters, stretching the fuel tanks, and installing high-energy upper stages. Those incremental advances have reached their limits, and an entirely new design of large rocket sections and bigger engines must be developed over the next five years. China has stated that it intends to develop this mighty rocket for launching larger applications satellites into 24-hour orbits, and for launching its small space station. The components are too large to move by rail to the existing inland launching sites, so they will be shipped by sea to an entirely new launch facility on Hainan Island, on China’s southern flank. This new launch vehicle is a major quantum-jump in the Long March family and presents very formidable engineering challenges. It will take tremendous efforts, and significant funding, and some luck as well, to make it work on the schedule announced in Beijing. And until the booster is operational, ambitious moon plans cannot be attempted. Once the CZ-5 is man-rated – and we’re talking about at least five years, probably more – a beefed-up Shenzhou vehicle could be launched to the Moon. Two different possible flight plans are available: a simple swing-by (as with Soviet Zond probes in 1967-1970) and a lunar orbital flight (as with Apollo-8 in 1968). The simpler variant could be carried out with a single CZ-5 launching; the orbital profile could require two launches. At the present time, however, there is no hard evidence that the Chinese government has officially sanctioned such missions – nor is there any need for them to do so at this point, since much of the technology to realize such options is already under development for more near-term goals. Nevertheless, Chinese capabilities for human lunar missions – at least to orbiting it – can quite reasonably expected to become available in a timeframe similar to NASA’s “Return to the Moon” strategy, and the option to fly such missions as an equal participant may prove to be irresistable to the Chinese government. China vis-à-vis the United States: Strengths and Weaknesses A comparison between the Shenzhou spacecraft and its direct descendants, versus the still-undefined and undersigned US ‘Constellation’ project (nee CTV, CERV, etc.) reveals a pattern of relative strengths and weaknesses of the two nations and their approaches to expanded lunar activity. Both vehicles can carry 3 or more crew, are launched on expendable boosters, have launch-escape-systems, can rendezvous and dock in orbit, and return on dry land. Both promise to outstrip capabilities of the Russian Soyuz vehicle, just as Russia itself wants to replace it with the Kliper design (the Russians see this project funded by Europe and the US, in their dreams). The United States spends $30 billion a year on space, the Chinese perhaps $2 billion. But the Chinese have made it clear they will not duplicate across-the-board all of the activities funded by the United States. A major problem for China is that their top-down and tightly-focused space management strategy is extremely brittle, and vulnerable to unpleasant surprises and unpredicted constraints. This is because space technology often cross-fertilizes, and difficulties in one area find solutions in seemingly unrelated disciplines, in a manner that top level management is usually incapable of foreseeing. Although methodical and incremental approaches to programs such as Shenzhou have been successful, more advanced projects – particularly the CZ-5 booster – will require longer strides and may reveal the shortcomings of narrowly aimed management. That in turn may encourage more aggressive efforts to find the required technologies overseas. Beyond mere technology acquisition, China has implemented an extremely effective policy of extracting all usable lessons from other countries’ space experiences. This is the fundamental issue of engineering judgment, the day-to-day decision-making that propels a program to success – or, if not done properly, to frustration and disaster. The Chinese have studied the Soviet, the American, the Japanese and European and other programs intently, with the explicit goal of learning from them. NASA’s culture in recent years, on the other hand, has looked overwhelmingly arrogant towards any outside expertise (even, or especially, from other US agencies, and sometimes actually between different NASA centers). Worse, it has shown itself incapable of even remembering fundamental lessons (such as flight safety) that an earlier generation of NASA workers had paid a high price to learn – only to have it forgotten and eventually (hopefully) re-learned. The demographics of the space teams in both countries also demonstrates a major difference that goes beyond mere financial resources. While space workers are equally happy to be at their jobs, the workforce in the Chinese program reflects the major build-up of the past decade and is predominantly young, and has been involved in major program development activities. NASA, as a mature civil service branch, has had relatively stable – some might even say moribund – staffing for decades. While there has been a steady flow of new hires, they have in large part been involved in maintaining existing programs, without much opportunity to ‘learn by doing’. Outside observers such as Dr. Howard McCurdy have voiced serious doubts that the current NASA culture is capable of sustaining an ambitious and expansive new program (late last year he testified how that could be fixed), but there is little doubt that the Chinese space workforce is, because they’ve shown it. The rationale for China investing substantial sums into expanded human space flight – space stations and even lunar sorties – remains unclear, but to a large degree they may be the same motivations that have already funded the Shenzhou program. If Shenzhou continues to be successful, internally popular, and helpful to Chinese economic, diplomatic, and military relations with other nations, then more ambitious projects with similar effects may justify their budgets too. Weighing these factors, the future of lunar exploration – and China’s role in it – is likely to be extremely interesting. While the motivations that fuelled the Space Race of the 1960’s are largely absent – primarily the naked fear in the US that a world that accepted Soviet dominance in space would have many other consequences undesirable from a US point of view – there remain solid motives for international rivalry, for serious attempts at illicit technology transfer, and for activities that could diminish the world stature of US aerospace technology. In metaphorical terms, China is now facing a steep road into the sky. It has shown it has the heart and the brains for this chosen path. Now the world must wait to see if it has the muscle and the stamina – and the wisdom. And the same question applies to the United States.
Dr. John Logsdon
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for providing an opportunity to reflect on the character of space exploration programs around the world. I will focus in my testimony on the exploration plans of Japan and India. However, less than two weeks ago I was in Europe discussing European exploration plans with space leaders there, and so I will also add a few words on my perceptions of what I heard there. Between July 1969 and December 1972, twelve American astronauts walked on the surface of the moon. The Apollo program will in historical terms be remembered as the beginning of human exploration of the solar system, and the plaque attached to the Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle says “we came in peace for all mankind.” The reality was rather different, as you well know. Sending Americans to the moon was “part of the battle along the fluid front of the Cold War,” to quote the recommendation that President John F. Kennedy approved in May 1961 to initiate the lunar landing program. More than forty years later, the Cold War is thankfully well behind us. We have no need as a nation to demonstrate our technological and organizational might through dramatic space achievements carried out unilaterally. In the three decades since Apollo, the solar system has become open for exploration not only to the United States and its superpower rival the Soviet Union, but to other countries around the globe. Either in cooperation with one of those space superpowers or on missions of their own, many countries around the world have made robotic exploration of the solar system a high priority in their space efforts. Among those nations are Japan and India. Almost a decade ago, in its “Long Term Vision for Space Development,” the Japanese government set out as a basic goal a philosophy that might well be adopted by all space faring countries: to “enable access to the vastness of space and use the infinite potential of space as the common property of mankind, thereby making a full and effective contribution to the enduring prosperity of all inhabitants on earth.” That Vision anticipated sometime after 2010 there would be an international lunar base, with Japan as a key participant. In pursuit of its Vision, Japan has launched several exploratory spacecraft and is preparing several more for launch to the moon. Japan’s Nozomi spacecraft was launched toward Mars in July 1998, and arrived there at the end of 2003, after a journey fraught with technical difficulties. A final spacecraft malfunction kept Nozomi from entering Mars orbit. In May of last year Japan launched the Hayabusha (MUSES-C) mission, which will rendezvous with an earth-crossing asteroid in 2005 and return a sample of that body to Earth in 2007. Awaiting launch are the Lunar-A mission, which will send two small penetrators into the lunar surface for seismological research, and SELENE, which will be the heaviest spacecraft to orbit the moon since the days of Apollo. The SELENE mission will focus on the origins and evolution of the Earth’s nearest neighbor. Projected launch date for Lunar A is this year or early in 2005; SELENE, the following twelve months. Both missions have been delayed several times in the past, and additional delays are probable. In addition, Japan is planning for a mission to Venus in the future and is a major partner in the European Space Agency Beppi-Colombo mission to Mercury. So Japan indeed has ambitious plans for solar system exploration. But this discussion would not be complete without noting that Japan’s space program is currently pretty much on hold, following several major spacecraft failures in 2002 and 2003 and then the launch failure of the sixth mission of Japan’s H-IIA rocket in November 2003. These failures came at the time that Japan was reorganizing its space efforts into the new Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The combination of investigating the causes of these recent failures and putting into place measures to assure future mission success, together with the bureaucratic and cultural challenges of merging various previously separate Japanese space agencies into an integrated structure, are consuming the energies of Japanese space leaders. It is no exaggeration to say that Japan is undergoing a crisis of confidence in its space efforts. Until short-term problems are addressed, Japan will not be able to move forward with its exploration plans. However, even given this rather gloomy situation, a standing-room only crowd attended a January 23 symposium on lunar exploration. And, as one of the leaders of Japanese space exploration, Yasunori Matogawa, recently wrote: “I feel my mind is getting stronger and stronger day by day that what could finally relieve ourselves would not come from anywhere but from our own vigorous willpower to carry on ‘Exploration.’ Its keyword is moon. I cannot help but believe these days that moon is the best- chosen target containing every possibility as to science, global ecology, resources development, safety and security.” Last year, on Indian Independence Day, August 15, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayeeon announced that India in 2007 would send its first mission to the moon, to be named Chandrayaan-1. The spacecraft will spend two years in orbit 60 miles above the lunar surface. India has had an active space program for over thirty years, and has developed its own launch vehicles to access both low Earth orbit and geosynchronous orbit. Its space program to date has been focused on contributions to Indian development and economic growth. For example, India operates a multi-satellite constellation of remote sensing satellites that provide world-class imagery of the subcontinent. Now India appears poised to go beyond an Earth-oriented space program to join other nations in exploring the solar system. Visiting the Indian SHAR launch site on the eastern coast of the country last October, Indian President Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, himself a former space engineer, told the assembled workers that “The exploration of the moon through Chandrayaan will electrify the entire country, particularly young scientists and children. I am sure the moon mission is just a start towards further planetary explorations.” He added that he could “visualise a scene, in the year 2021, when I will be 90 years old and visiting SHAR Space Port for boarding the space plane, so that I can reach another planet and return safely as one of the passengers. I foresee the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, SHAR,to grow into an international spaceport with a capability of enabling launches and landings of the reusable launch vehicles.” India has invited international scientific participation in the Chandrayaan-1 mission. It has received some twenty-five proposals for such participation from scientists in the United States, Canada, Israel, and Europe. Clearly, investigators from many other countries want a ride aboard India’s first exploration mission. Let me add a few works on my views on Europe’s plans for solar system exploration, based on conversations during a recent trip to Paris. First of all, Europe is already an active player in robotic exploration in the solar system, with its Mars Express mission in orbit around Mars, the Huygens spacecraft carried to Saturn along with the U.S. Cassini craft scheduled to land on Saturn’s moon Titan early next year, Smart-1 on the way to the moon, and the Rosetta spacecraft started on its ten-year journey to rendezvous with a comet. More robotic missions are planned. For the past several year, the European Space Agency (ESA) has been studying, through a program called Aurora, a human mission to Mars in the 2030 time frame.This was only a study program; the plan was to begin a preparatory phase only in 2005, with any major investments in human exploration well after 2010. Within ESA, a second study group last year proposed setting as a European goal establishing a base on the moon. That was a slightly faster paced program, with a goal of a permanent European presence on the moon by 2025. This second plan did not receive the support of the ESA leadership. However, these exploratory missions and studies in recent years have been taking second priority to an emerging focus on how space capabilities can contribute to the development of Europe as an economic, political, and cultural entity, with a focus on Earth-oriented space missions in Earth observation, navigation and timing, and perhaps broadband communications and military uses. President Bush’s proposed U.S. Vision for Space Exploration, with its stated intention of inviting other countries to join “a journey, not a race,” poses a direct challenge to stated European space ambitions. If the Congress gives the go ahead to the initial steps in achieving this vision – and I believe that it should – Europe will be faced with the choice, with limited resources available for space programs, of whether to proceed on its current path or become a major partner in U.S.-led exploration of the solar system. I understand that the Director General of ESA, Jean-Jacques Dordain, was invited to be here today but rather is in Russia awaiting the return of ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers from his brief stay on the International Space Station. Referring to President Bush’s January 14 speech on space exploration, Dr. Dordain has been quoted recently as saying that “dreamed of the day when the President of Europe would come to ESA headquarters and make a similar policy declaration.” A new ESA team is just beginning to plan how best to respond to the anticipated NASA invitation to participate. Space exploration is no longer - indeed has not been for more than thirty years – an arena for unilateral display of national power. As my testimony and that of the others appearing before you today has shown, exploring the solar system has become a truly global enterprise. Last year I had the privilege of serving as a member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. The Board’s August 2003 report was explicit in laying out the negative consequences of the lack of a compelling vision for human spaceflight, and characterized that lack as “a failure of national leadership.” To its credit, the Bush administration has responded to that criticism with what must be characterized in its essence as a “compelling vision” of a human-robotic partnership for the exploration of our solar system. There is an understandable focus in the Congress on the short-term implications of the proposed vision. I hope that the basic principle put forth by the President – that it is in the nation’s interest, now and for future generations, to take the leading role in extending human activity and presence into the solar system, is not lost in this shorter term focus. I also hope that today’s testimony has helped underline the reality that if the United States public through its elected representatives chooses not to accept the President’s vision and make it a “National Vision for Space Exploration,” other countries in coming decades will assume that exploratory leadership. Writing to the White House in late 1971 to make the case that the United States should not choose to end its program of human space flight, NASA Administrator James Fletcher argued “Man has learned to fly in space, and man will continue to fly in space. . . . The United States cannot forgo its responsibility – to itself and to the free world – to have a part in manned space flight. . . . For the U.S. not to be in space, while others do have men in space, is unthinkable, and a position which America cannot accept.” I would change one word in Dr. Fletcher’s argument. Rather than “cannot” I would say “should not.” We can indeed make as a society the decision that the benefits of human spaceflight are outweighed by its costs and risks. To me, that would be a sad choice. John M. Logsdon is Director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, where he is also Professor of Political Science and International Affairs. He holds a B.S. in Physics from Xavier University (1960) and a Ph.D. in Political Science from New York University (1970). Dr. Logsdon’s research interests focus on the policy and historical aspects of U.S. and international space activities. Dr. Logsdon is the author of The Decision to Go to the Moon: Project Apollo and the National Interest and is general editor of the eight-volume series Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civil Space Program. He has written numerous articles and reports on space policy and history. He is frequently consulted by the electronic and print media for his views on space issues. Dr. Logsdon recently served as a member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. He is a former member of the NASA Advisory Council and a current member of the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee of the Department of Transportation. He is a recipient of the NASA Distinguished Public Service and Public Service Medals and a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.