Space, the Dormant Frontier: Changing the Paradigm for the 21st Century

By Joan Johnson-Freese; Roger Handberg | Go to book overview

10
A Parallel Development Plan

When you have to swallow a frog, it doesn't get easier by looking at it for a long time.

Unknown.

Several premises have been developed within the context of this book that, if accepted, mandate that a new space paradigm is necessary if space development is to succeed beyond the usual. First, space activity funded by the government is inherently unstable because such activity is primarily motivated by inconstant and seemingly interchangeable policy goals that are extraneous to the space development field. One direct consequence of this premise has been the continued reliance upon space transportation vehicles that are too costly for most private sector ventures and are excessively intensive in launch labor, time, and equipment/facilities. As a consequence, the private sector remains a secondary player to the government in space development, which is a developmental anomaly within the American tradition. Recapturing that earlier tradition is crucial to breaking the logjam that currently stymies growth.

Second, with increasingly stringent federal budgets being the expected norm in the United States, and space activity considered to be a purely discretionary funding category, the fight for space dollars can be expected to become more and more intense. Clearly, there will be "winners" and "losers" in a manner not typical of the past. Third, although we might like to think that learning to "do more with less" is the answer, there are limitations to that premise due to political considerations, primarily protecting constituent jobs and continuing bureaucracies. That these factors must routinely be considered is due to the government funding source. Technical considerations are a factor in the current dismal situation as well, primarily because of existing rules

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Space, the Dormant Frontier: Changing the Paradigm for the 21st Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Acronyms ix
  • I - THE BIG PICTURE 1
  • 1 - Repackaging the Dream 3
  • Notes 29
  • 2 - Policy Overview: If You Don't Care Where You'Re Going, Any Road Will Take You There 33
  • Notes 62
  • II - THE SITUATION 67
  • 3 - Space As a Government Domain 69
  • Notes 91
  • 4 - History As Inertia 95
  • Notes 120
  • 5 - The Economics of Space, Breaking the Dependency Cycle 123
  • Notes 146
  • III - THE OPPORTUNITY 149
  • 6 - Semidesperate Times 151
  • Notes 177
  • 7 - Seeking New Opportunities 181
  • Notes 204
  • IV - The Method 209
  • 8 - Convergence: Merging the Space Technology Bases 211
  • Notes 225
  • 9 - Change the Paradigm: Incorporate Politics and Emphasize Economics 229
  • Notes 246
  • 10 - A Parallel Development Plan 249
  • Notes 264
  • Selected Bibliography 267
  • Index 271
  • About the Authors 278
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