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2 Assessment of the Current Situation
Pages 11-14

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From page 11...
... Throughout all the discussions, few speakers voiced opposition to several core views -- namely, that the civil space program has been effective and important in the past in spite of its problems, that human space exploration is and will remain an important element of U.S. civil space policy, that space and Earth science and aeronautics are also essential central responsibilities of the civil space program, and that while each of these segments of the program has its own unique problems, human space exploration is now especially vulnerable.
From page 12...
... Speakers argued that continued operational costs for the International Space Station, delayed phaseout of the space shuttle, costs of pressing nearterm development of the next-generation space transportation system, and unbudgeted operational costs to achieve announced goals will all make the Vision unaffordable. One consequence of this dilemma, several speakers noted, is that NASA's programs in space science, Earth science, and aeronautics are being affected in ways that will have serious long-term consequences.
From page 13...
... Speakers noted than even during the Cold War, when relationships with the Soviet Union were especially tense, there was continuing cooperation in space research. Several speakers argued that a decision about cooperation with China will not be a matter of "whether" but of "when and how." One speaker introduced the concept of the United States as a "benevolent hegemon." That is, there is an opportunity for the space program to become transformational as a means to exert U.S.
From page 14...
... However, a speaker commented that if the NASA budget is not viewed to be particularly large, the need to have a "wow" factor to sustain public support becomes less important. Speakers also noted that the level of excitement over space exploration appears to be much higher in countries abroad than inside the United States.

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