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

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

seem to happen. Weinberger goes on, however, to zero in on the heart of the problem: when he cites the 1886 treatise "What is Art?" by Leo Tolstoy : "I know that most men--not only those considered clever and capable to understanding the most difficult scientific, mathematical or philosophic problem--can seldom discern even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as obliges them to admit the falsity of conclusions they have formed, perhaps with much difficult--conclusions of which they are proud, which they have taught to others, and on which they have built their lives."28


CONCLUSIONS

Space policy participants boost their egos by proclaiming how brief their history has been. This generates complacency, but it is inaccurate. Compared to British common law or Chinese medical techniques, space history is short. But for space policy in the United States, we are in our fourth generation. The first began in World War II, through the initial stages of Apollo; these individuals came to professional maturity at the dawn of the space age. The second was the Apollo generation, a can-do group of individuals who were let down by those who professed to love them. It was a trauma from which they struggled mightily but never fully recovered. They were followed by the post-Apollo generation, those who had heard of and sometimes worked during the good old days. They worked hard but often denied reality. Their reign, however, came to an end with the demise of the Cold War. Finally, there is the post-Cold War generation, the pragmatists represented by the International Space University group who wrote about the future of space not as a dream, but as a tool. They make up the first generation striving to go forward, rather than back. Clearly they are still coming to professional maturity. They remain a minority within government, but the hope is that the private sector will take up the slack.

Space policy has greater historical continuity than we often understand or admit. We are no longer novices. That makes real change, as opposed to cosmetic change, more difficult than one imagines, but the clock is running. Opportunities lost include those failed and those never considered. Doors once closed are difficult, but not impossible, to reopen. Critical junctures in human events come rarely, but we are presently at one of those turning points. The choice for space is ours. Prosper or die.


NOTES
1.
P. Krishna Rao, et al., Weather Satellites. Systems, Data, and Environmental Applications ( Boston: American Meteorological Society, 1990), 135-139.
2.
Joan Johnson-Freese, conversation with Edward Teller, Hoover Institute, California, June 13, 1994.
3.
Data on such potentially catastrophic events as hurricanes, floods,

-264-

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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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