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CONGRESS URGED TO MAINTAIN BALANCED SPACE PROGRAM

 CONGRESS URGED TO MAINTAIN BALANCED SPACE PROGRAM
 /ADVANCE/ WASHINGTON, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Although the


overall proposed Fiscal Year 1993 budget for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is appropriate, annual percentage increases should be maintained at the 11 percent recommended by the Augustine Report (the Report of the Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program), a task force of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers told Congress today.
 "We understand the need to reduce spending in all discretionary areas of the budget, but the (ASME) Task Force believes that a well- balanced and vigorous civil space program is key to the technological and economic competitiveness of the U.S.," John Goodman, chairman of the ASME Aerospace Division, testified today before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies on behalf of his division's Task Force on Civilian Space Policy.
 Speaking for the task force, Goodman called for greater funding for next-generation launch systems to replace the space shuttle. "The Space Shuttle is a great engineering achievement, which, in spite of its age and the cost compromises made during its development in the 1970's, still provides practical results today," he said. "However, the limitations of the Shuttle's design preclude significantly increasing its capabilities and reliability, or lowering its cost of operation."
 To meet the critical need for increased capabilities at lower cost, Goodman urged Congress to appropriate significantly more than the approximately 1.4 percent of the proposed budget now dedicated to next generation space access. For this reason, the task force supports both increased funding since FY 1991 for new launch systems and the proposed elimination in FY 1993 of the Advanced Solid Rocket Motor Program for the Shuttle.
 Regarding Space Station Freedom, the ASME Task Force concludes that it does not, as currently configured, clearly meet the needs for development of space flight or life sciences technology needed for interplanetary flight; nor will it provide an adequate base for microgravity research. "As a result," Goodman testified, "we sense an impending Concorde-like situation, where international program commitments are rigorously observed for diplomatic and prestige reasons when the technical and economic benefits are found to be unavailable."
 In light of this, the task force recommends the Space Station program be limited in size and cost, to prevent its budget from crowding out of NASA's budget other programs with more promise for America's future in space.
 "The U.S. civilian space program has benefited greatly from science missions that have provided engineering knowledge and have demonstrated technologies applicable to both manned and unmanned flights," Goodman told the House subcommittee. On this basis, the ASME Task Force recommends going forward with the Comet Rendezvous Asteroid Flyby (CRAF)-Cassini mission and the Mars Observer. "These missions offer great scientific return with very reasonable expenditures."
 Among the Task Force's other recommendations are an increase in NASA's graduate student researcher program from 80 to 160 new awards annually, together with an increase in stipend to $20,000 per year. The Aerospace Division group also urged that NASA's spending on aeronautical research and technology be increased, particularly in the areas of supersonic civil transport and in propulsion and power research and technology.
 According to Goodman, "The (power and propulsion) program is highly visible both nationally and internationally, and is producing good results which will assist the U.S. aircraft engine industry to maintain its lead against international competitors. Funding reduction now is short-sighted and can have adverse effects in the long run."
 ASME is an engineering society focused on technical, educational, and research issues, with 118,000 members, including 21,000 students. It conducts one of the world's largest technical publishing operations, holds more than 30 technical conferences each year, and sets many industrial and manufacturing standards.
 -0- 4/29/92/1015
 /CONTACT: David I. Lewin of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 202-785-3756/ CO: American Society of Mechanical Engineers ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


DC -- DC018 -- 3921 04/28/92 14:53 EDT
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Date:Apr 28, 1992
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