Reaching for the High Frontier: Chapter 10

Reaching for the High Frontier

by Michael A. G. Michaud

Copyright 1986 by Praeger Publishers and reproduced with permission of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc., Westport, CT. Read the complete book here.

Table of Contents


Chapter 10: Scientists, Citizens, and Space

Scientists are the legislators of our possibilities. They alter our sense of where the boundaries are. — Horace Freeland Judson, 1984 [1]


The Space Age introduced science and technology to the political arena, but it did not transform politics or usher the scientists to power. — Walter A. McDougall, 1982 [2]


The research community may well be the last important sector of our economy to organize itself to participate in the political process. — Congressman George E. Brown, Jr., 1983 [3]


Until the Space Age, scientists observed the universe beyond the Earth through a filtering veil of atmosphere. The rocket made it possible to place instruments outside that obsuring gas; as early as October 1946, an ultraviolet spectrum of the Sun was taken from above the ozone layer by the Naval Research Laboratory.[4] By extending the tools of traditional scientific disciplines such as physics and astronomy into space, the rocket helped create the fields of endeavor known collectively as space science. Workers in these new areas became space scientists, a new interest group created by the Space Age.

Space scientists, and the space engineers with whom they have worked on many projects, have done nothing less than change our view of the universe through sensitive instrumentation, sophisticated data analysis, and near miracles of interplanetary navigation. Space astronomers, observing in wavelengths not observable through, or heavily filtered by, the Earth’s atmosphere, have shown the Cosmos to be more complex, dramatic, and violent than we had thought. Discovery has followed discovery, making space-based astronomy one of today’s most exciting sciences. “Astronomers will look back on this period as a golden age,” University of Wisconsin astronomer Robert C. Bless told the New York Times. “And there is no way it could have happened except by getting above the atmosphere.”[5] In what may be a related phenomenon, public interest in astronomy appears to be at an all-time high, as indicated by the increased circulation of popular astronomy magazines and the success of suppliers of amateur astronomy equipment.

Planetary exploration through unmanned spacecraft has revealed other worlds to us in unprecedented detail, shortening their psychological distance from us and allowing comparisons with the Earth, one of which contributed to the “nuclear winter” theory. Jet Propulsion Laboratory Director Bruce Murray pointed out in 1980 that we had received new images of another celestial body every year since 1964.[6] Astronomer Carl Sagan often has compared this age of exploration to the Western European voyages of discovery in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, which revealed much of the Earth’s surface to the West.

Hundreds of space scientists and engineers have made heavy career commitments to their fields (about 500 attend the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, held annually near Houston). Some have achieved previously undreamed of public recognition. However, these fields are vulnerable to political events because space science has depended heavily on funding from the federal government, primarily from NASA. When space funding was rising, space science prospered; when space funding declined, space science funding declined with it. After the successes of early missions, space scientists sought approval for new projects, which often were more complex, larger in scale, and more expensive, sometimes falling into the category of “big science.” As NASA budgets were cut back in real terms, getting approval for new starts in the space science field became increasingly difficult. Even for continuing space science activities such as the analysis of data, the level of funding became uncertain as NASA responded to budgetary restraints by protecting its largest programs, particularly the Space Shuttle. Among other things, this revived a debate as old as the space program, between advocates of manned spaceflight and those who believe that priority should be given to exploration by unmanned spacecraft.

Space scientists generally were slow to organize themselves for systematic lobbying or to sustain a lobbying presence over long periods of time, although former senior House committee staffer James E. Wilson notes that individual scientists always have lobbied for their projects.[7] At first, space scientists relied primarily on formal advisory mechanisms, individual contacts, and the presumed respect for prominent leaders in their disciplines. Professional societies generally abstained from political activity. Former Senate space committee Chairman Frank Moss recalls that scientists were not well organized during his term in that office — 1973 to 1976.[8]

The mid-1970s saw more lobbying campaigns by ad hoc coalitions for specific projects. By the end of the Carter administration, there was a growing feeling within the space science community that something more was needed (this roughly coincided with the emergence of political activity among the new pro-space citizens groups). Not until the first year of the Reagan administration, however, did the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Sciences become consistently active in Washington, and only in 1982 did the first organization to be a permanent lobby for space science interests — the Space Science Working Group — establish an office in the capital. The year 1980 saw the public appearance of the first citizens group formed to support one space science field: The Planetary Society.

Several knowledgeable people have offered explanations for this reluctance to lobby. The most frequent is that many scientists believe that engaging in “politics” is improper or distasteful, know little about the lobbying process, and resent having to invest their time in such efforts. Congressional staffers comment that most scientists do not understand that an interest group cannot just make its case once but must go on making it year after year, reminding the administration and the Congress of its interests. “They think that once they have spoken, they can expect continuing support,” says Senate space subcommittee staffer Stephen H. Flajser. “They don’t understand the reality of keeping your presence known.”[9] “Scientists have always gone to Capitol Hill and presented the scientific facts in their testimony, thinking, ‘because we’re right, we’ll prevail,'” says Marc Rosenberg of the National Coalition for Science and Technology. “They usually didn’t realize they had to present political arguments as well as the facts.”[10]

Scientists often have presented a divided front to Congress, with each discipline or subdiscipline advocating the priority of its projects. However, members of Congress are not qualified to determine which project is more valuable as science or to establish priorities. Marc Rosenberg observes that this invites Congress to cut back all of them.[11] Several congressional and administration staffers also have noted deficiencies in the lobbying style of some scientists, pointing to what they perceived as condescending attitudes and failures to recognize efforts that had been made on their behalf.

In the end, scientists involved in space-related research had to get their political act together. They were not getting the number of new starts they wanted, the continuity of their work was being interrupted, and their employment opportunities were threatened. They responded the way one might expect people with shared interests to respond. By the early 1980s they had begun to display a wide variety of modern American interest group behaviors, including more effective use of existing advisory committees and the formation of new ones, increased political activism by professional societies, the formation of a permanent lobbying operation for academic space scientists, appeals for public support, and the creation of a citizens support group.


Advisory committees have become typical of the organized relationship between U.S. government agencies and private citizens expert in related fields. They came early in the Space Age. The National Academy of Sciences formed a Space Science Board in 1957 by combining the functions of the IGY Technical Board on Rocketry with the IGY Technical Panel on the Earth Satellite Program. That board provides comments and advice to NASA on its space science program, often in response to requests from the agency. A Space Applications Board was established in 1972, in response to a heightened emphasis on the practical benefits of space technology.

NASA itself established advisory committees soon after its formation, continuing a tradition established by its predecessor agency, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. Advisory committees were established for the newer, and soon larger, programs of space science, space applications, and manned spaceflight. In 1971 the committee structure was revised into two separate committee groupings, (1) the Space Program Advisory Council and (2) the Research and Technology Advisory Council, each with its subsidiary committees. These two structures were consolidated in 1977 into a NASA Advisory Council and six standing advisory committees, which went into operation in 1978. The standing committees, which are recommended by and which work with particular offices in NASA, are listed below:

  • Aeronautics Advisory Committee
  • History Advisory Committee
  • Life Sciences Advisory Committee
  • Space Applications Advisory Committee
  • Space and Earth Science Advisory Committee
  • Space Systems and Technology Committee

NASA considers these to be “internal” advisory bodies, since they are chartered by NASA and provide their advice directly to NASA management. NASA considers as external the Space Science Board, the Space Applications Board, and the Space Engineering Board, which are administered by the National Research Council for the National Academies of Science and Engineering, since they provide advice to the entire U.S. government and are, to a much greater degree, independent.[12]

The advisory committee system is an example of the two-way communications process that is central to the success of most interest group relations with government agencies. A particular advantage of this system is that it allows scientists to work out their priorities so that they can present a united front within a particular field, or as American Astronomical Society Executive Officer Peter Boyce puts it, “do their bloodletting in private.”[13] These advisory councils provide a legitimized channel for lobbying by their members, although this is done within constraints of propriety and avoidance of clear conflict of interest. The Space Science Board, for example, has issued several reports recommending new NASA programs that would be in the interest of space scientists. Advisory boards also provide a communications channel from NASA to the scientists, so that they can learn about NASA plans and problems.


In the years before the first Moon landing, NASA saw a need for a more formalized interface with academic research scientists, and particularly for a means to handle research on the Moon rocks that were soon to be returned to Earth. With the aid of the National Academy of Sciences, NASA set up a Lunar Science Institute near Houston. In 1969, a group of universities formed the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), which became the manager of the institute, now called the Lunar and Planetary Institute. USRA, which had 55 member institutions as of August 1984, now also manages three other types of institutes under contract for NASA, dealing with computers, space biomedicine, and space processing. Although this is essentially a funding and administrative mechanism and not a lobby for space scientists, Executive Director David Cummings states that the USRA works to ensure the continued health of the space science program.[14]


The existence of these legitimized lobbying mechanisms did not prevent a decline in funding for space science between the late 1960s and late 1970s. That decline was roughly proportional to the decline in space program funding in general. Since 1969, there has been a recurrent pattern of new administrations wanting to cut spending on space because it is “discretionary,” and space science has suffered along with other space programs.

The focus of the problem in the 1970s was the Space Shuttle, which was to become the primary national launch vehicle for science missions as well as others. In 1977 NASA began to phase out the expendable launch vehicles that had carried scientific satellites and planetary probes into space. However, the Shuttle encountered technical problems and delays that held up some scientific missions. The Shuttle also needed additional funding; when some of this was not forthcoming from Congress, NASA reprogrammed its own resources to protect its highest priority program, taking funding away from other areas, including space science. These events inflamed resentment among many space scientists toward the Space Shuttle and the manned space program in general. James A. Van Allen, a critic of the Shuttle from the beginning, wrote in 1981, “it is time to recognize that the dominant element of our predicament is the massive national commitment of the past decade to development of the space shuttle and the continuation of manned flight.”[15] Because the Shuttle has military as well as civilian uses, criticisms by some scientists also were directed at the apparent connection with defense interests. Carl Sagan added his view that current and near-future manned programs are not exciting to the public because they are not exploratory. “Guys in a tin can in low Earth orbit,” he says, “are where the excitement isn’t”[16]

In fact, space science suffered no worse proportionately than NASA’s overall budget. The graph in Figure 10.1 suggests that space science actually did slightly better than a constant percentage would have suggested.[17]


Reaching for the High Frontier Figure 10.1

Figure 10.1 — NASA Funding Compared with Office of Space Science and Applications (OSSA) Funding (Source: The Universities and NASA Space Sciences, “Initial Report of the NASA/University Relations Study Group, July 1983,” Appendix 2, p. 1.)


However, there were significant distinctions within the space science budget, with planetary science funding showing more of a roller-coaster pattern than other sectors of space science (Figure 10.2).

Reaching for the High Frontier Figure 10.2
Figure 10.2 — NASA Space Science and Planetary Program Funding
(Source: Adapted by the author from figures provided by NASA.)

While astrophysics and solar-terrestrial science enjoyed a long-term increase after 1974, funding for the planetary program entered a steep decline after fiscal year 1973 (Figure 10.3 [not included due to copyright]). The planetary scientists were hit hardest; by the late 1970s and early 1980s, they had become the most vocal sector of the space science community and the first to form a citizens support group.


The period between 1962 and 1981 has been described as the Golden Age of planetary exploration, in which Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn were revealed to us in unprecedented detail. (Planetary Society Executive Director Louis D. Friedman points out that it so far has been the only age of planetary exploration.) Carl Sagan has noted many times that we are the only human generations that will be the first to have this experience.

The most important institutional locus for this effort in the 1960s and 1970s was the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. Unlike other NASA centers, the JPL is administered by the California Institute of Technology under a contract with NASA, giving it more autonomy — and more freedom to lobby for its interests.[18] Another, more recent concentration of professionals interested in planetary exploration is in Tucson, Arizona, notably at the University of Arizona’s Planetary Science Institute. Tucson also is the headquarters of Kitt Peak National Observatory and the home of the L-5 Society.

After some initial failures, the JPL enjoyed a stunning series of successes with its lunar exploration programs and with the Mariner spacecraft, which flew by or orbited Mars, Venus, and Mercury. The laboratory proposed major new programs for the 1970s that, mostly because of budget cutbacks, never became reality or did so only after delays or in altered form. In addition to cost, one of the arguments made against such projects was that missions already had been approved to survey the target planet. Why go back a second or third time?

The first major setback was the planned Voyager Mars mission, which would have used massive unmanned spacecraft to orbit and land on the Red Planet (this was unrelated to the two Voyager spacecraft that flew by Jupiter and Saturn more recently). Its estimated $2 billion cost ran afoul of the funding strains of the late 1960s, and the program met its demise in the summer of 1967 when Congress pared the NASA budget. John Naugle, who was NASA’s associate administrator for space science from 1964 to 1974, recalls that “we lost Voyager because of a division in the science community over what to do.”[19]

Acting on the recommendations of groups of scientists, NASA created a Lunar and Planetary Missions Board and an Astronomy Missions Board in late 1966 and early 1967. These boards were to address themselves to the priorities of missions, recommending what NASA should do next. According to Noel Hinners, NASA’s associate administrator for space science from 1974 to 1979, the Lunar and Planetary Missions Board produced an “advocacy package” that included the late Mariner missions, Pioneers 10 and 11 and Pioneer Venus, and the “Grand Tour” of the outer planets. Of the major missions, all eventually became reality except the Grand Tour, which met its demise in 1972.[20] The Grand Tour mission was partially replaced by the less expensive Voyagers 1 and 2.

NASA found an alternative to Voyager Mars in the less expensive Viking, which it sold to Congress in 1968. However, opposition was rising in the scientific community, where some preferred parceling the money out among several smaller missions (this was one of the factors leading to the cancellation of the Grand Tour) Under pressure from the Office of Management and Budget, NASA stretched out the Viking launch date from 1973 to 1975.

Orbiting Mars and placing landers on its surface in 1976, Viking was a highly successful mission. Carl Sagan recalls that President Gerald Ford called the scientists at the JPL to express his congratulations and to ask what they thought should be done next. (At the time, there was a fairly well developed plan for a Mars roving vehicle that could be done relatively cheaply by using Viking technology, although there was no consensus that it was the best next step.) The senior NASA official present told the President that the matter needed further study. In Sagan’s view, the political moment was lost.[21] Only two months later, Naugle was testifying before a House subcommittee that Viking could be followed in 1986 by a roving vehicle.[22] However, the planetary scientists have not been back to Mars since. Not until January 1984 did the administration request funding for a new Mars mission, which will not fly until 1990.


The success of astronomers in getting a very large space project approved at about the time of Viking provides an interesting contrast. For over two decades, the desires of astronomers for new projects funded by the federal government have been given a stamp of legitimacy, and some degree of priority ordering, through reports of committees of astronomers and space scientists. As early as 1962, a group of scientists organized by the National Academy of Sciences proposed a space telescope as a natural long range goal; this recommendation was repeated in similar studies in the following years.[23] Under the aegis of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, an Astronomy Survey Committee headed by Jesse L. Greenstein of the California Institute of Technology was appointed in 1969 to consider the broad range of astronomy, including lunar and planetary exploration. In its 1972 report Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 1970s, the committee listed as its ninth recommendation “An expanded program of optical space astronomy, including high-resolution imagery and ultraviolet spectroscopy, leading to the launch of a large space telescope at the beginning of the next decade.”[24]

The Large Space Telescope (LST) was a symbol of big ambitions in the space astronomy field. Some believed it would revolutionize astronomy because of its ability to resolve much finer detail and see more distant objects than the largest ground-based telescopes. However, the LST was vulnerable to budget cutting and delay because it was such a large and highly visible project, the most expensive orbiting observatory proposed up to that time.

The LST ran into trouble in 1974 when the House Appropriations Committee questioned its priority and, after nearly eliminating the proposed program, recommended that its funding be cut and that NASA consider a less expensive alternative.[25] Scientists John Bahcall and Lyman Spitzer led an effort to explain the importance of the program to congressional members and staffers. A House-Senate compromise restored sufficient funds to allow studies to continue. Meanwhile, the Space Science Board issued two reports strongly endorsing the LST as a new start.[26] The most serious threat to the program came in 1976, when the LST was removed entirely from the Ford administration’s budget submission to Congress. Bahcall and Spitzer organized an extensive campaign by scientists to restore the project to the budget, at one time including as active lobbyists 30 to 40 scientists and industrial people (the principal contractors were Lockheed Corporation and Perkin-Elmer Corporation). Bahcall testified several times before congressional committees, drafted a senator’s spch 24 hours before its delivery, and recalls being interviewed by a congresswoman in the lounge of the women’s room near the floor of the House. In one span of “a couple of days,” Bahcall had to organize a unanimous response from the members of the Greenstein committee to the charge that the committee had not ranked the LST as one of its highest priorities.[27]

This might be described as the first highly visible and vocal lobby for a scientific space project organized outside of NASA and the aerospace industry. Former House staffer James Wilson, who was helpful to this effort, recalls that it was done on “a high ethical plane,”[28] and Bahcall believes that “this unprecedented scientific lobbying was the result of the merits of the program and could not have been generated by commercial lobbying for a project that did not have ST’s appeal.”[29]

The LST was going forward at the same time as the Pioneer Venus mission and later the Jupiter Orbiter Probe. In 1974 and 1975 this led to some friction between planetary scientists and deep space astronomers, signs of competition for pieces of the budget pie. Several prominent astronomers tried to avert this by supporting restoration of funding for Pioneer Venus after it was cut back in 1975.[30]

The lobbying for the LST eventually paid off in 1977 when the project made a new start for fiscal year 1978. Its size had been reduced (the primary mirror was cut back from a planned 120 inches to 94 inches), and it was called the Space Telescope instead of the Large Space Telescope. But it survived its first severe budget test in 1978. By this time, notes Bahcall, the program had many good friends and supporters on Capitol Hill. “I believe the experiences we had in this activity,” he wrote later, “have been useful to scientists interested in having other major programs approved.”[31] Subsequently, informal lobbying networks were set up for the Advanced X-Ray Astronomy Facility and the Shuttle Infrared Telescope Facility, drawing on supporters willing to make telephone calls.[32] This, of course, is reminiscent of the L-5 Society’s phone tree.

As things have turned out, the Space Telescope has encountered technical and management problems and has gone far over budget, suggesting a space science parallel to the Space Shuttle program.[33] Until the Space Shuttle accident on January 28, 1986, however, it appeared that the Space Telescope would fly in 1986.


In October 1975, the Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEX) submitted to the Space Science Board a report proposing a long-term strategy for exploring the outer solar system for the period 1975-85.[34] A subsequent report, published in 1978, did the same thing for the inner solar system.[35] These reports appear to have had little impact in terms of getting new starts approved by the Carter administration. Van R. Kane wrote in 1982, “since 1975, the White House — and sometimes Congress — has rejected each year’s proposed mission.”[36] One astronomer attending the 1979 St. Louis meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Sciences was quoted as saying, “There’s no perceived political advantage to making new starts, and there are no penalties for not making new starts.”[37] Reporting on cuts in science funding in the fiscal 1981 budget, Congressional Quarterly observed that federal contractors and the academic community had conducted little lobbying to head them off.[38]

By the time Bruce Murray became director of the JPL in April 1976, the planetary program had entered the most ominous funding decline in its history, with appropriations dropping to less than a fourth of their fiscal year 1973 level by fiscal year 1978. For a time, this was to challenge the very survival of the JPL and was a significant factor in the beginnings of a more active lobby for planetary exploration.

Early in the Murray administration, the JPL responded to cuts in planetary exploration by conducting what was known as the “Purple Pigeon” exercise, in which a group of JPL experts sought to propose politically attractive interplanetary missions. Press reports from 1976 described its recommendations as a Mars Rover, a Solar Sail, a Venus Radar Mapper, a Saturn-Titan orbiter/lander, a mission to Jupiter and its Galilean satellites, an asteroid tour, and an automated lunar base.[39]

Much of the JPL planning during the Murray era focused on three planetary exploration projects: (1) the Jupiter Orbiter Probe (JOP), later named Galileo; (2) a mission to Halley’s comet; and (3) the U.S. spacecraft for the International Solar Polar Mission. The laboratory came close to losing all three.

The Jupiter Orbiter Probe had been ranked by NASA in 1975 as its top priority new planetary mission. A proposed new start was contained in the fiscal year 1978 budget request. However, the project nearly died in the summer of 1977, when the House Appropriations Committee recommended against it. A major factor was that another expensive project, the Space Telescope, had gone forward in the same year.

Some planetary scientists had lobbied before, when there was an attempt to cancel the Pioneer Venus project. However, the fight over the JOP was a turning point for the planetary exploration lobby. With 1,200 jobs at stake at the JPL, planetary scientists launched a frenetic lobbying effort, mostly by telephone and mail. Although the scientists did most of the work themselves, they for the first time got active help from the emerging citizens pro-space movement, including the L-5 Society, Omni magazine, and “Star Trek” fans, who were contacted at a convention in New York.[40] This added hundreds, perhaps thousands, of letters and telephone calls.

The JOP also got help from pro-space members and staffers of the House Science and Technology Committee. In an unusual move, they challenged the Appropriations Committee in a floor fight on July 19, 1977 and succeeded in getting the money restored. In 1979, Senator William Proxmire tried to kill the JOP (renamed Galileo) but was voted down.[41] Galileo went through another crisis in late 1981 when the Reagan administration’s Office of Management and Budget took it out of the NASA budget request, but it was reinstated after a “reclama” (appeal) to the White House by NASA.[42] Unfortunately, this was at the expense of another mission, the Venus Orbiting Imaging Radar.[43] Galileo was to go on to have other troubles because of delays in the Shuttle and problems with upper stages, and its planned launch date slipped to 1986.

In January 1980, the Office of Management and Budget effectively killed the plan to fly by Halley’s comet and rendezvous with another comet by deleting funding for Solar Electric Propulsion from the fiscal year 1981 budget.[44] Funding for a Halley intercept was deleted from the fiscal year 1982 budget, reportedly to allow funding for the Venus Orbiting Imaging Radar, described by NASA as a better mission.[45] Despite cries of anguish from space scientists and a letter-writing campaign by the Planetary Society, the Halley project never was restored.

The participation of a U.S. spacecraft in the International Solar Polar Mission was first delayed by cuts in the administration’s fiscal 1981 budget request, then threatened by the House Appropriations Committee, and finally cancelled in the administration’s budget request for fiscal year 1982.[46] Despite protests from the European Space Agency and its member countries, funding never was restored. Bruce Murray reportedly said later that the planetary exploration constituency had been divided between ISPM and the Halley mission.[47]

The Venus Orbiting Imaging Radar (VOIR) mission also had a tortuous history. This project first was deferred to a later launch date, then was stricken from the Reagan administration’s fiscal years 1982 and 1983 budget requests.[48] JPL scientists and engineers did a thoughtful redesign for a scaled-down and much cheaper mission called the Venus Radar Mapper, which became a new start in the fiscal 1984 budget.

This series of emergencies provoked a variety of responses from those interested in planetary exploration. Bruce Murray and others with a direct interest in these programs actively lobbied in Washington. They got support from professional and citizens groups. In the first issue of the Planetary Report, Planetary Society Executive Director Louis Friedman reported that during 1979 congressmen received telegrams and letters from persons associated with the L-5 Society, Omni, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Sciences, universities, and the aerospace industry. However, he noted that this was an unorganized effort, with no central leadership.[49]

More organized approaches were needed. In an article published in January 1981, Richard F. Hirsch of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute argued “space investigators have become one of many interest groups, vying for a slice of the federal budget. In the absence of a jolt such as experienced in 1957 and 1961, space astronomers must engage in the politics of open debate like other interest groups.”[50]

Addressing the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Sciences at about the same time, Bruce Murray identified the lack of a serious space lobby group as a major cause of the “crisis” in planetary exploration.[51]


By the end of the 1970s, NASA and the planetary scientists realized that the earlier recommendations of the Space Science Board were not politically realistic and that they must plan for a more constrained program. There was serious concern about the long hiatus between the Voyager program and any expected new starts in the planetary exploration field. John Naugle, then NASA’s chief scientist, proposed something like the old Lunar and Planetary Missions Board to design a program that the scientists could sell. In November 1980, as Voyager 1 was sweeping past Saturn, NASA formed an ad hoc committee to formulate a long-range program of planetary missions and called the group the Solar System Explorati Committee (SSEC).[52]

The first two chairmen of th SSEC, John Naugle and Noel Hinners, had been associate administrato of NASA for space science, and one of the members of the committee, Thomas Donahue, was chairman of the Space Science Board. It was as authoritative and well connected a group of planetary scientists as one could find.

The SSEC completed the first phase of its work in October 1982, presenting its initial, “stopgap” recommendations to NASA Administrator James Beggs the following month.[53] In its formal report, the committee proposed a program of lower cost missions, using standardized parts and existing technology wherever possible. It suggested a roughly constant budget level (about $300 million) rather than the ups and downs of previous years. The Core Program recommended by the SSEC gave temporal priority to these four missions: (1) Venus Radar Mapper, (2) Mars Geoscience/Climatology Orbiter, (3) Comet Rendezvous/ Asteroid Flyby, and (4) Titan Probe/Radar Mapper.[54]

This carefully coordinated report was well received by both NASA and the Congress. A well-thought-out, systematically justified long-range plan making more efficient use of resources had considerable credibility. “The Committee is inclined to follow it,” said Harold Volkmer, then chairman of the House Subcommittee on Space Science and Applications.[55]

The SSEC also was well received in the White House. Victor Reis, a former assistant director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, comments that the report met a need: “It did our job for us.”[56] To the surprise of some, the Reagan administration included the Mars Geoscience/Climatology Orbiter in its budget request for fiscal year 1985, presented to Congress on February 1, 1984. The Venus Radar Mapper was already underway by the time the SSEC study began; the committee urged that it be carried out on its current schedule, leading to a launch in 1988.

The SSEC plan was off to a good start. By 1983 some commentators were saying that the fortunes of the planetary program had been turned around, to a significant degree, by the SSEC.[57] But this success had required lowered expectations as well as sophisticated use of the advisory committee mechanism.


Things had seemed to turn up in the Carter administration’s last, “lame duck” budget, for fiscal year 1982, which included new starts on the Venus Orbiting Imaging Radar and on the Solar Electrical Propulsion System. However, the arrival of the Reagan administration in January 1981 appeared to pose a new threat to the planetary program. Budget Director David Stockman, who regarded the space program as discretionary, sought major cuts in the Carter administration’s NASA budget request. The revised budget request slashed $468 million, including $196.5 million from planetary science. No new starts were proposed; the Venus Radar Mapper was deferred, and U.S. participation in the International Solar Polar Mission was not funded. [58] Bruce Murray testified on March 21, 1981 that the U.S. deep space program was in jeopardy and might even face extinction. [59] “If we hadn’t had the launch vehicle problem, we could survive the budget problem,” he said later, “but with both we are now in a desperate situation.”[60]

During late 1981 the Reagan administration prepared its fiscal year 1983 budget request, the first that would be fully its own. Reportedly, NASA Deputy Administrator Hans Mark signed a memorandum in October 1981 that suggested that deep space missions might best be “de-emphasized until we have a space station that can serve as a base for the launching of a new generation of planetary exploration spacecraft.” [61] An instruction from the Office of Management and Budget to NASA of November 1981 reportedly ordered NASA to virtually cease its planetary activities and called for the cancellation of Galileo and VOIR.[62] House Space Science and Applications Subcommittee Staff Director Darrell Branscome recalls, “It was widely known that the planetary program was almost eliminated.”[63]

This crisis triggered a series of press stories with alarming titles, such as “Planetary Science in Extremis” in Science. In an editorial entitled “Bean-Counting the Solar System,” Aviation Week and Space Technology wrote that “Planetary exploration is foundering under the Reagan Administration.”[64]

According to Time’s story “Clouds Over the Cosmos,” Bruce Murray told worried JPL employees that he would seek new contracts outside the space area to keep the laboratory going. In response to the JPL’s plight, the California congressional delegation organized to send a letter to the White House.[65] The crisis also sparked a new surge of organized activity by space scientists.


One response to this challenge was increasing activism by the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Sciences (DPS). Founded in 1969 by about 30 scientists in this new field (one of the early members was O’Neill associate Brian T. O’Leary), the DPS initially followed the tradition of the much older American Astronomical Society of being very conservative about getting involved in politics. When the Pioneer Venus mission was in trouble in the mid-1970s, the DPS did very little because American Astronomical Society rules restricted lobbying. There was an informal activist group within the DPS at the time of the 1977 JOP crisis, and people in both Pasadena (JPL) and Tucson (Planetary Science Institute) participated in a telephone network. However, the DPS was not given autonomy in representing its interests to the government until later.[66]

The turning point was in the fall of 1981, notably at a meeting of the DPS in Pittsburgh in October. It was unusually well covered by the media, partly due to efforts by Richard Hoagland, then a reporter for the Cable News Network. There were calls at the meeting for a lobbying campaign and a growing awareness of the need for a long-range program of generating political support. A motion was passed authorizing the development of an action program. The DPS formed an alliance with the Planetary Society, a citizens group supporting planetary exploration. At a press conference addressed by DPS Chairman David Morrison and Planetary Society President Carl Sagan, it was announced that the two organizations were sending a joint letter to Presidential Counselor Edwin Meese to express deep concern about the future of planetary exploration.[67] According to planetary scientist Clark Chapman, contacts with the White House continued through December 1981.[68] The planned budget cuts reportedly were reduced by one third.

The DPS then shifted its attention to Congress, cranking up a multipronged effort including a telephone network and press releases. Continuing to stay in contact with the Planetary Society, the DPS subsequently worked in concert with other groups, including the SSEC. This effort succeeded in getting some funds restored. Since then, the DPS has focused more on individual line items, concentrating on funding for research programs rather than on new starts.[69]

The DPS has been assisted in its recent efforts by the American Astronomical Society itself, whose Executive Officer Peter Boyce has given the organization’s headquarters office a more activist character since it moved to Washington in 1979. Formerly a very conservative professional organization, the AAS had become increasingly concerned about the job market for astronomers. Boyce stays in contact with administration officials and congressional members and staff and puts out a newsletter to AAS members describing events in Washington. Like other groups, the AAS encourages members visiting Washington to call on their congressmen, focusing on those on the relevant committees.[70]


The fiscal 1983 budget for space science, in the opinion of Astronomy magazine, was a “disaster” for planetary exploration.[71] As Science reported, the ensuing uproar produced “a lot of bad vibes and a lot of good dialogue,” and was “a catharsis that forced people to take a hard look at what they were doing and how much it cost.”[72] The cuts also provoked the formation of the first permanent space science lobbying operation in Washington.

Seeing the Reagan administration’s budget of January 1982 as a disaster for research scientists, Professor John Simpson of the University of Chicago called together a number of his colleagues to discuss the problem. Together they formed the Space Science Working Group, a unique combination of university faculty and governmental relations people. The Association of American Universities, a group of 52 research universities concerned mostly with research policy and graduate education, hired former Harvard University governmental relations consultant Geraldine Shannon to represent the SSWG and gave her office space in the AAU’s Washington Headquarters.

Shannon, whose cousin James Shannonwas then a congressman from Massachusetts, quickly established an effective, low-key lobbying operation. Concentrating mostly on congressional staffers, she provides information on space science programs and escorts visiting experts to meetings on Capitol Hill. “Most members are predisposed to be sympathetic,” says Shannon, “but are uninformed.”[73]

In cooperation with the American Astronomical Society and its Division of Planetary Sciences, the SSWG conducts analyses of the administration’s space science budgets and prepares recommendations after consulting with its members. The SSWG also testifies on space science budgets, and congressional committee requests for help in choosing witnesses on space science matters often come through Shannon. She and the American Astronomical Society’s Boyce are invited to meetings of the Space Science Board.

Of the congressional staffers interviewed on this subject, everyone who was asked about the SSWG praised it as a very effective operation. Senate space committee staffer Stephen Flajser described the SSWG as one of the most impressive lobbying efforts in the whole science community, let alone the space community. According to him, the SSWG not only evaluates budgets and transmits its views to Congress but also comes back later to thank the staffers — one of the marks of a professional lobbying operation.[74] Two staffers emphasized that the SSWG was useful because it provides independent budget analyses on which the committees can draw; it is a helpful participant in the two-way process. The downward trend in space science funding has been reversed, and the space scientists now get a respectful hearing.

The SSWG also stays in close touch with NASA, sometimes getting half a loaf there and the other half from Congress. Yet SSWG’s permanent Washington presence consists of one full-time professional supported by a secretary, with experts on call when needed. This efficient use of limited resources could be an example for other groups.


Cutbacks in planetary exploration also led to the formation of the first citizens support group in the space science field. A significant reason for its success was the burgeoning reputation of Cornell University astronomer Carl Sagan as a science popularizer.

Sagan recalls that, in December 1977, he was invited to brief President Carter and Vice-President Mondale at the Vice-President’s house in Washington, D.C. With Presidential Science Adviser Frank Press operating the slide projector, Sagan gave a presentation on planetary exploration that the fascinated Carter would not let him leave for other subjects. When Sagan pointed out that Carter himself could take action on behalf of planetary exploration, the President indicated that while he and Sagan understood the importance of the planetary program, the public did not. Sagan describes this as a “crystallizing insight,” showing that political leaders need to be convinced that the public cares.[75]

Sagan was at the JPL in late 1978 and early 1979 to work as a principal investigator on the Voyager mission that flew past Jupiter. After conversations in which they contrasted the media attention and public interest Voyager was generating to the absence of new starts in the planetary program, Sagan and Bruce Murray decided to form a new organization, whose basic purpose would be to prove that planetary exploration was popular.

Murray contacted Louis D. Friedman, a JPL engineer then on leave to work as a staffer in the Senate, and asked him to do research on forming such an organization. Remaining in Washington through the summer of 1979, Friedman discussed this with a wide variety of people, including pro-space Senators Harrison Schmitt and Adlai Stevenson III, and John Gardner, founder of Common Cause. The reaction was positive. As Friedman puts it, he found that “the whole world was interested in space, not just scientists and engineers.”[76]

Friedman returned to Pasadena in the fall of 1979, went on half time from the JPL, and set up an office in his home. In the meantime, Sagan had used the royalties from his book Murmurs of Earth to set up a foundation to support research in the field of Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CETI). Friedman asked the leading figures in the CETI Foundation (Frank Drake and Bernard Oliver) for a no-interest loan to get his new operation going and then began approaching other people for money. Early contributors included science fiction writers Isaac Asimov and Larry Niven, Joseph W. Drown, Michel Halbouty, and Charles Brush for the Explorers Club.[77] Meanwhile, Friedman was learning how to use direct mail techniques to build membership. The new organization, called The Planetary Society, was incorporated in December 1979.

A few months later, Sagan pointed out that he would be on the “Tonight Show” in April 1980. A decision was made to go public with the Planetary Society, and a press release was issued in May 1980. Meanwhile, letters were going out to potential donors. Scientific colleagues were invited to join in July 1980 and again in September, when the new society began a major direct mail operation.

During the summer of 1980, a decision was made to produce a quality magazine rather than the usual newsletter. The founders of the Planetary Society concluded that they were selling the excitement of exploration and that pictures would be an important medium. Charlene Anderson was hired as the editor. At the time this book was written, the Planetary Report remained the most professionally produced publication put out by a pro-space citizens group.

The new society, like some of its counterparts in the emerging citizens pro-space movement, had multifunctional aspirations. In the first issue of the Planetary Report, dated December 1980/January 1981, Sagan wrote, “If we are as successful as at least some experts think we are likely to be, we may be able to accomplish not only our initial goal of demonstrating a base of popular support for planetary exploration, but also to provide some carefully targeted funds for the stimulation of critical research.”[78] In those early days, the range of subjects of interest to the society was sweeping:

Among the Society’s most important objectives will be to dramatize and advocate the strongest possible case for planetary exploration and to focus broad popular support for the systematic development of programs such as solar sailing; planetary sample returns; a probe into the Sun; robot rovers on the terrestrial planets and on the Galilean moons of Jupiter; radar mapping of Venus; utilization of extraterrestrial resources, especially from the asteroids; probes beyond our solar system; the search for other solar systems, for extraterrestrial life and for galactic civilizations …[79]

The Planetary Society, starting from zero in July 1980, grew with spectacular rapidity. As of June 1984, the society had about 130,000 members and renewals were running at a rate unusually high for a voluntary membership organization. For a time, the Planetary Society advertised itself as the fastest growing membership organization in the United States in the past decade. In 1984, it was roughly equal in membership to all other pro-space groups put together.

Friedman agrees that much of this growth was due to the drawing power of Carl Sagan, whose television series “Cosmos” began appearing on educational television in September 1980. Exceptionally popular for a science program, “Cosmos” may have attracted as many as 15 million viewers. However, Friedman comments, “This is not just the Carl Sagan fan club.”[80] The Voyager discoveries at Jupiter and Saturn probably were an additional stimulus. “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry may have helped by encouraging “Star Trek” fans to join the new organization.[81] The Planetary Society also may have reached a new audience, possibly the science-oriented public described by Jon Miller.

The Planetary Society has continued to broaden the range of its activities. Its three-day Planetary Festival (“Planetfest”) in Pasadena in August 1981, at the time of the Voyager 2 encounter with Saturn, drew an estimated 15,000 people and was one of the turning points in the growing self-awareness of the pro-space community. Consciously internationalist (reflecting the liberal political biases of its leaders), the society has opened offices in other countries and established an International Space Cooperation Fund. The society supports the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, specifically the observing program being conducted by Dr. Paul Horowitz of Harvard University with an 85-foot radio telescope in Massachusetts. The society has given money to the World Space Foundation, which is supporting research on asteroids.

In a brochure that appeared at the end of 1984, the society presented an impressive list of its projects:

  • Project Sentinel, the world’s most comprehensive radio Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETT), using an advanced computer built with society funds and a Harvard University telescope refurbished by the Society
  • Search for planets around nearby stars
  • Continuing discovery of near-Earth asteroids that could become objectives for future manned or unmanned missions
  • Mars Institute: a multiuniversity study emphasizing identification and definition of requirements for a Mars base or future colony
  • Construction of an 8.4 million channel receiver and computer detection system (the most sophisticated yet to be built) for SETI in the Multichannel Extraterrestrial Assay (META)
  • Explorers maps to new worlds visited thus far only by spacecraft, with illustrations and descriptions of each world’s new features
  • Curricula based on strong planetary exploration interest to improve the quality of science education for junior and senior high students International conferences for scientists to discuss cooperation efforts among all nations — east and west, north and south
  • Student Getaway Special experiment using artificial “rings” to study planetary rings during a shuttle flight.
  • Production of Halley’s Comet Amateur Observer’s Bulletin to help coordinate worldwide activities prior to the comet’s appearance in 1985-86.[82]


The Planetary Society has been criticized by some other space activists for focusing its interests too narrowly on planetary exploration; it has not even done much to support space astronomy projects such as the Space Telescope. Yet its early promotional literature had some of the ring of other pro-space rhetoric, with one circular saying, “Among the struggles for minor political advantage and the ebb and flow of impoverishment and oppression here on Earth, this quest may provide a major aperture to a hopeful future.”[83]

Some see the Planetary Society as another missed opportunity to build a single, general pro-space organization — an implicit parallel to the National Space Institute and the L-5 Society. “The Sagan thing could have become the nexus of the space movement if he had chosen to move in that direction,” says Leigh Ratiner, “but he never politicized it.” Ratiner comments that the Planetary Society, like some other pro-space organizations, was not willing to put its individual mission aside.[84]

The Planetary Society does not lobby as an organization and does not even maintain an office in Washington; Sagan notes that he personally has reservations about institutionalized lobbying. [85] However, its leading figures do make representations to administration officials and members of Congress (Sagan and Murray both did so before the society existed). Sagan, for example, met with Senator William Proxmire to encourage the reinstatement of NASA’s SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) program. Sagan and Friedman testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1984 on space cooperation with the Soviet Union. The society also encourages its members to contact members of Congress and other government officials about space issues.

The society’s political efforts suggest the limitations of grass-roots activism without a professional lobbying arm. In June 1981, the society launched an appeal to members for funds to encourage a U.S. mission to Halley’s comet and to finance a SETI project. This brought in over $70,000. Sagan signed a circular letter to the then 70,000 society members asking them to write or cable President Reagan about the Halley’s comet mission. According to Sagan, this effort generated about 10,000 letters, which were weighed, boxed, and delivered to the NASA basement unread. He describes this as “a major failure.”[86]

The society later stated in one of its circular letters that it had played a role in encouraging Congress to restore funds to the sharply reduced planetary research and spacecraft tracking budgets. Some of this new activism may have come close to being counterproductive. American Astronomical Society Executive Officer Peter Boyce recalls that letters about the budget, stimulated by the Planetary Society in the fall of 1981, caused an angry reaction in some quarters within the administration because negotiations on the budget were still underway and were regarded as confidential.[87]

Generally, however, the society’s numbers give its leading figures credibility when they speak of popular support for planetary exploration. “The Planetary Society was created,” says Spaceweek President Dennis Stone, “so that when Carl Sagan goes to Washington he can point to a hundred thousand members.”[88] “Its political clout,” says Sagan, “is merely by being in existence.”[89]

By 1984, the Planetary Society was firmly established as the principal liberal voice in an increasingly politicized pro-space movement, perhaps the first major American pro-space organization to take a strongly liberal stance on space-related issues. In this sense, it counterbalanced other significant parts of the space movement that had taken on an increasingly conservative cast in the early 1980s. These other groups were divided from the Planetary Society by several old space policy issues. The most powerful divisive force was whether or not weapons should be placed in space.


  1. Horace Freeland Judson, “Century of the Sciences,” Science 84, November 1984, pp. 41-43, 43.
  2. Walter A. McDougall, “Technocracy and Statecraft in the Space Age — Toward the History of a Saltation,” American Historical Review, 87 (1982):1010-40, 1028.
  3. From remarks by Congressman George E. Brown on “The Fledgling Science Lobby,” Congressional Record, June 18, 1983, p. E3227.
  4. “50 and 25 Years Ago,” Sky and Telescope, March 1985, p. 215.
  5. William J. Broad, “Golden Age of Astronomy Peers to Edge of Universe,” New York Times, May 8, 1984.
  6. Bruce Murray, “Space Exploration — Is it Worth the Cost?” The Planetary Report, December 1980/January 1981, pp. 1, 15.
  7. Interview with James E. Wilson.
  8. Interview with Frank Moss.
  9. Interview with Stephen H. Flajser, January 11, 1984.
  10. Interview with Marc Rosenberg, December 15, 1983.
  11. Interview with Marc Rosenberg.
  12. Much of the descriptive material in this section is based on an interview with NASA official Nathaniel Cohen, March 12, 1984.
  13. Interview with Peter Boyce, December 21, 1983.
  14. The section on the USRA is based on an interview with USRA Executive Director David Cummings, November 1, 1983, and on materials supplied by the USRA.
  15. James A. Van Allen, “U.S. Space Science and Technology,” Science 214 (1981):495, reprinted in The Planetary Report, January/February 1982, p. 3. See also Craig Covault, “Shuttle Costs Threatening Science Programs,” Aviation Week and Space Technology, July 6, 1981, pp. 16-18.
  16. Interview with Carl Sagan, March 12, 1984.
  17. From “The Universities and NASA Space Sciences — Initial Report of the NASA/University Relations Study Group, July 1983,” appendix 2, p. 1. The same chart appeared later in Hans Mark, “The Space Station,” The Planetary Report, July/August 1984, p. 7.
  18. See Clayton R. Koppes, JPL and the American Space Program: A History of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982).
  19. Interview with John Naugle, March 28, 1984.
  20. Interview with Noel Hinners, March 2, 1984. See also Thomas O’Toole, “3 Space Projects Threatened by $3 Billion Budget Limit,” Washington Post, January 4, 1972.
  21. Interview with Carl Sagan.
  22. “Of Space Ships and Tall Ships,” Science 194 (1976):39.
  23. See Ground-Based Astronomy: A Ten-Year Program (Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1964); Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 1970s, volume 1, Report of the Astronomy Survey Committee (Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1972); Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 1980s, volume 1, Report of the Astronomy Survey Committee (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1982).
  24. Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 1980s, p. 8. For a description of how the Space Telescope was then envisioned, see C. R. O’Dell, “The Large Space Telescope Program,” Sky and Telescope, December 1972, pp. 369-71.
  25. For a description of the 1974 effort, see Paul A. Hanle, “Astronomers, Congress, and the Large Space Telescope,” Sky and Telescope, April 1985, pp. 300-5. See also George Alexander, “House Vote to Cancel Orbiting Telescope May Peril Shuttle,” Los Angeles Times, July 14, 1974.
  26. Space Science Board, Opportunities and Choices in Space Science, 1974 (Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1975), p. 17; Space Science Board, Report on Space Science, 1975 (Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1976), p. 13.
  27. See John N. Bahcall, “Galaxies, Quasars, and Beyond — The Space Telescope,” in John H. McElroy and E. Larry Heacock, eds., Space Applications at the Crossroads (San Diego: American Astronautical Society [Univelt], 1983), pp. 177-88. See also John Walsh, “Large Space Telescope: Astronomers Go into Orbit,” Science 191 (1976):544-45.
  28. Interview with James E. Wilson.
  29. Bahcall, “Galaxies, Quasars, and Beyond,” p. 180.
  30. Allen L. Hammond, “Pioneer-Venus: Did Astronomers Undercut Planetary Science?” Science 189 (1975):270-71; “Pioneer Venus Probe Suffers Large Cutback,” Astronomy, November 1975, p. 60.
  31. Bahcall, “Galaxies, Quasars, and Beyond,” p. 181.
  32. M. Mitchell Waldrop, “Astronomy and the Realities of the Budget,” Science 237 (1985):283-85.
  33. See M. Mitchell Waldrop, “Space Telescope in Trouble,” Science 220 (1983):172-74; M. Mitchell Waldrop, “New Worries About Space Telescope,” Science 224 (1984):1077-78; J. Kelley Beatty, “HST: Astronomy’s Greatest Gambit,” Sky and Telescope, May 1985, pp. 409-14.
  34. In Space Science Board, Report on Space Science 1975.
  35. Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration, Strategy for Exploration of the Inner Planets: 1977-1987 (Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1978).
  36. Van R. Kane, “The Planets or Bust,” Astronomy, May 1982, pp. 6-17.
  37. Richard Berry, “A Gathering of Astronomers,” Astronomy, February 1980, pp. 24-26.
  38. Brigette Rouson, “Little Lobbying to Stop Space, Science Cuts,” Congressional Quarterly, April 12, 1980, p. 956. By contrast, see “Scientists Beginning to Lobby for More Research Funding,” Congressional Quarterly, March 19, 1983, pp. 555-59.
  39. “JPL Scientists Formulate Future Mission Proposals,” Astronomy, November 1976, p. 6.
  40. Nathan C. Goldman and Michael Fulda, “The Outer Space Lobby and the 1980 Elections,” in Paul Amaejionu, Nathan C. Goldman, and Philip J. Meeks, eds., Space and Society: Challenges and Choices (San Diego: Univelt, 1984), pp. 15-28, 21; interview with Carolyn Meinel; interview with Clark Chapman, April 4, 1984. See also John Noble Wilford, “Two Major Space Projects Facing a Money Roadblock in Congress,” New York Times, June 10, 1977; and Clark R. Chapman, Planets of Rock and Ice (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1982), pp. 199-206.
  41. “Galileo Mission in Trouble,” Astronomy, December 1979, pp. 62-63.
  42. See “Galileo Cut,” Aviation Week and Space Technology, December 17, 1981, p. 17 and Craig Covault, “Galileo Reinstated in Budget,” Aviation Week and Space Technology, December 28, 1981, p. 10.
  43. “Galileo Mission Saved — Just Barely,” Astronomy, April 1982, pp. 78-79.
  44. “Halley’s Comet Mission Jeopardized,” Aviation Week and Space Technology, January 21, 1980, p. 51; “News Flash: Comet Mission in Trouble,” Astronomy, February 1980, p. 23; Richard A. Kerr, “Planetary Science on the Brink Again,” Science 206 (1979):1288-89.
  45. Mark Washburn, “In Pursuit of Halley’s Comet,” Sky and Telescope, February 1981, pp. 111-13, 113.
  46. “Spacelab, Solar-Polar Curtailed,” Aviation Week and Space Technology, February 23, 1981, p. 18.
  47. Van R. Kane, “Bruce Murray Interview,” Astronomy, September 1982, pp. 24-28.
  48. Covault, “Galileo Reinstated in Budget.”
  49. Louis Friedman, “Washington Report,” The Planetary Report, December 1979/January 1980, p. 11.
  50. Richard F. Hirsh, “The Future of Space Astronomy,” Astronomy, January 1981, pp. 24-28, 28.
  51. Richard Berry, “Astronomers Meet in Tucson,” Astronomy, March 1981, pp. 24-28, 24.
  52. Some of this section is based on interviews with John Naugle and Noel Hinners, the first chairmen of the SSEC.
  53. See Jesse W. Moore, “Effective Planetary Exploration at Low Cost,” Astronautics and Aeronautics, October 1982, pp. 28-38, 52.
  54. Planetary Exploration Through the Year 2000 — A Core Program (Part 1 of a Report by the Solar System Exploration Committee of the NASA Advisory Council) (Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1983).
  55. Interview with Harold Vollmer, December 21, 1983.
  56. Interview with Victor Reis.
  57. See John Noble Wilford, “Plans to Explore Planets Revived,” New York Times, February 20, 1983.
  58. Louis D. Friedman, “Washington Watch,” The Planetary Report, April/May 1981, p. 10.
  59. “Bruce Murray on the Future of America in Space,” Astronomy, July 1981, pp. 26-28, 26.
  60. Craig Covault, “Shuttle Costs Threatening Science Programs,” Aviation Week and Space Technology, July 6, 1981, pp. 16-18, 16.
  61. Earl Lane, “The Politics of Planetary Science,” Omni, July 1982, pp. 20, 118; M. Mitchell Waldrop, “Planetary Science in Extremis,” Science 214 (1981):1322-24, 1322.
  62. “Galileo Cut,” p. 17 and William H. Gregory, “Bean-Counting the Solar System,” Aviation Week and Space Technology, December 14, 1981, p. 11.
  63. Interview with Darrell Branscome.
  64. William H. Gregory, “Bean-Counting the Solar System,” p. 11.
  65. “Clouds over the Cosmos,” Time, October 26, 1981, p. 49.
  66. Interview with Clark Chapman.
  67. Richard Berry, “Planetary Scientists Fight Funding Cuts,” Astronomy, January 1982, pp. 24-32. The letter to Edwin Meese is reproduced on p. 26.
  68. Interview with Clark Chapman.
  69. Ibid.
  70. Interview with Peter Boyce.
  71. Van R. Kane, “Congressional Hearings on Space,” Astronomy, July 1982, pp. 24-28, 24.
  72. M. Mitchell Waldrop, “Planetary Science: Up from the Ashes,” Science 218 (1982):665-66.
  73. Interview with Geraldine Shannon, October 28, 4983. See also “University Researchers Lobby for Space Science,” Science 216 (1982):157.
  74. Interview with Stephen H. Flajser.
  75. Interview with Carl Sagan.
  76. Interview with Louis D. Friedman, February 6, 1984.
  77. “Society News,” The Planetary Report, December 1980/January 1981, p. 15.
  78. Carl Sagan, “The Adventure of the Planets,” The Planetary Report, December 1980/January 1981, p. 3.
  79. Undated Planetary Society brochure.
  80. Interview with Louis D. Friedman.
  81. See “Hailing Frequencies Open: Gene Roddenberry Looks at the Planetary Society,” The Planetary Report, April/May 1981, p. 3.
  82. Undated Planetary Society brochure.
  83. Ibid.
  84. Interview with Leigh Ratiner.
  85. Interview with Carl Sagan.
  86. Ibid.
  87. Interview with Peter Boyce.
  88. Interview with Dennis Stone.
  89. Interview with Carl Sagan.

Reaching for the High Frontier:     Table of Contents     Chapter 11