Category Mars Wars


“Why Mars? Because it is humanity’s destiny to strive, to seek, to
find. And because it is America’s destiny to lead. ”

President George Bush, 20 July 19891

Sitting on the steps of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum on 20 July 2004, it was difficult to imagine that fifteen years earlier at this place the fiercest domestic political conflict of the first space age commenced. Bright-eyed children poured off tour buses and hurried to examine the museum’s wonders, teachers and parents close behind with digital cameras ready. They lined up to touch a four billion year-old lunar rock, clamored around the Apollo 11 Com­mand Module Columbia, and gazed up at an ungainly Lunar Module— monuments to past American triumphs in space. It was on a similarly hot and muggy Washing­ton morning that President George Bush had used this location to announce a renewed commitment to human exploration beyond Earth orbit. Even before this declaration, however, the winds of war had been swirling in the nation’s capital.

On the 20th anniversary of the first human landing on the Moon, President Bush had stood atop these very steps and proposed a long-range exploration plan that included the successful construction of an orbital space station, a permanent return to the Moon, and a human mission to Mars—this enterprise became known as the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI). The president charged the newly rees­tablished National Space Council with providing concrete alternatives for meeting these objectives. To provide overall focus for the new initiative, Bush later set a 30- year goal for a crewed landing on Mars. If met, humans would be walking on the red [1] planet by 2019, which would be the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar land­ing. Within a few short years after President Bush’s Kennedyesque announcement, however, the initiative had faded into history—the victim of a flawed policy process and a political war fought on several different fronts. The failure of SEI, combined with problems ranging from the Hubble Space Telescope’s flawed mirror to space shuttle fuel leaks to space station budget problems, badly damaged the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) image and prompted dramatic changes in the American space program.

The rise of SEI and its eventual demise represents one of the landmark episodes in the history of the American space program—ranking with the creation of NASA, the decision to go to the Moon, the post-Apollo planning process, and the space station decision. The story of this failed initiative is one shaped by key protagonists and critical battles. It is a tale of organizational, cultural, and personal confron­tation. Organizational skirmishes involved the Space Council versus NASA, the White House versus congressional appropriators, and the Johnson Space Center versus the rest of the space agency—all seeking control of the national space policy process. Cultural struggles pitted the increasingly conservative engineering ethos of NASA against the “faster, better, cheaper” philosophy of a Space Council looking for innovative solutions to technical problems. Personality clashes matched Vice President Dan Quayle and Space Council Executive Secretary Mark Albrecht against NASA Administrator Dick Truly and Johnson Space Center Director Aaron Cohen. In the final analysis, the demise of SEI was a classic example of a defective deci­sion-making process—one that lacked adequate high-level policy guidance, failed to address critical fiscal constraints, developed inadequate programmatic alternatives, and garnered no congressional support. Some space policy experts have argued that SEI was doomed to fail, due primarily to the immense budgetary pressures facing the nation during the early 1990s.[2] This book will argue, however, that the failure of the initiative was not predetermined; instead, it was the result of a deeply flawed policy process that failed to develop (or even consider) policy options that may have been politically acceptable given the existing political environment.

The Problem Stream: Providing Direction to a Directionless Agency

On 20 January 1989, George Bush was sworn in as the nation’s 41st president. Although space policy was not a pressing issue for the Bush administration during its first few months in office, work did begin relatively early to put a space policy team in place. This specifically took the form of establishing the National Space Council mandated by Congress. On 9 February, President Bush appeared before a joint session of Congress and delivered his first State of the Union address. In the oration, he proposed a $1.16 trillion “common sense” budget that would give attention to urgent priorities, provide investment in the future, attack the budget deficit, and require no new taxes. The space program was prominently placed in the speech. Unlike previous presidents, Bush made the space program a significant part of the government agenda from the beginning of his presidency. Bush stated efforts must be made to extend American leadership in technology, increase long-term investment, improve the educational system, and boost productivity. To facilitate meeting these goals, the new president stated, “I request funding for NASA and a strong space program, an increase of almost $2.4 billion over the current fiscal year. We must have a manned Space Station; a vigorous safe Space Shuttle program; and more commercial development in space. The space program should always go ‘full throttle up.’ And that’s not just our ambition; it’s our destiny….” Despite his strong request for an expanded space program, Bush did not specifically declare himself in favor of human exploration beyond Earth orbit.[101]

A week after his state of the union address, Bush received a congratulatory letter from Republican Senator Jake Garn of Utah. In April 1985, Garn flew aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery as the first public official to travel in space. A former Navy pilot and Brigadier General in the Utah Air National Guard, he served as a payload specialist on STS 51-D. Garn, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, applauded the president s emphasis on federal investments in science and technol­ogy as crucial to the nations economic vitality and future. Garn wrote, “your words on science, space, and technology promise the aggressive and ambitious stance that your administration will take in pursuing these needed investments for Americans future.” Despite his praise of Bush’s leadership, he enunciated the misgivings of the space community resulting from the failure of the administration to move quickly in appointing a leadership team for the space program. He lauded the proposed cre­ation of the National Space Council under the leadership of Vice President Quayle, but suggested that the organizations “membership and staff must be selected and mobilized quickly to make a difference in the current budget cycle.” He concluded by saying that strong and decisive leadership was needed to counteract the power of entrenched political interests that resist new budgetary initiatives.[102]

A few weeks later, President Bush responded to Senator Garn’s call to action regarding the national space policy agenda. On 1 March, press secretary Marlin Fitzwater announced in a press release the appointment of “Dr. Mark Albrecht as the Director of the staff of the National Space Council which is to be created by Executive Order.” The administrations first choice for the position, a State Depart­ment official with military space experience named Henry Cooper, had asked that his name be withdrawn after concerns were raised about his ties to former Senator John Tower.[103] Although Albrecht brought a wealth of Washington experience to his post, he was not well known within the civilian space community. “Albrecht was a typical Hill rat, a squat, bearded infighter with a Ph. D. from the RAND Corpora­tion who…knew next to nothing about NASA.”[104] His background was entirely within the national security policy arena. For the previous six years, he had served as National Security Advisor to Senator Pete Wilson of California. Prior to that, he had worked on the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) as a Senior Research Analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1988, he was the chief drafter of the defense planks for the Republican Party platform—where he caught the attention of Vice President Bush. Dr. Albrechts background in the national security space program, with its preference for clean sheet planning processes and requirements-based pro­gram development, would be one of several factors that would eventually contribute to a dysfunctional relationship between the Space Council and NASA.

The appointment of a national security and weapons specialist heightened already existing concerns among the space community that White House policy would tilt toward military interests. John Pike from the Federation of American Scientists said, “I can’t see that Albrecht brings much to the table besides ‘Star Wars.’ I’m looking for a silver lining here and haven’t seen it yet.”[105] Reaction on Capitol Hill was more

muted. Congressional staffer Stephen Kohashi remembers that those. responsible for civilian space activities [weren’t] familiar with [Albrecht]. I [recall] learning that his space background was primarily in the military or intelligence world, and being somewhat concerned. [But] I don’t recall considering this appointment [to be] par­ticularly critical relative to the effectiveness of the council.”[106] Despite any potential misgivings from outside the administration, Albrecht clearly had the support of Vice President Quayle—whom he had periodically done work for as a Senate staffer. In his vice-presidential memoir Standing Firm, Quayle wrote that NASA at that time “was, to a great extent, still living off the glory it had earned in the 1960s, and I thought Mark Albrecht was just the sort of guy who could shake it up.” It also seemed that Democratic staffers would be willing to work with him. One top aide was quoted at the time as saying, “It’s not what Albrecht did before. It’s what he does in the future. The important thing is to make this work… to formulate a policy consensus and get some pragmatic policy decisions out of the White House.”[107] The selection of Albrecht, who would become one of the key policy entrepreneurs sup­porting human spaceflight beyond Earth orbit, was a major catalyst to assembling a dedicated staff committed to providing the space program with a new vision for the future. This path, however, would not be without obstacles. As one commentator pointed out, the biggest “challenge facing Albrecht… will be to negotiate peace and find common ground among the competing interests on the [Space Council] — Albrecht is very bright, very competent, but nothing can prepare you for that kind of work. It’s like war.”[108] It would remain to be seen whether this civil space policy neophyte would be able to control the various elements of the space community, especially NASA.[109]

On 9 March, Administrator Fletcher sent a letter to President Bush that would prove to be an important stepping-stone on the road to the announcement of SEI. The letter addressed the forthcoming 20th anniversary of the first human landing on the moon. Fletcher wrote the president that the occasion provided a unique opportunity to define the administrations commitment to the exploration of space. The administrator suggested that Bushs participation in an event planned at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (to be attended by Apollo 11 astro­nauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins) would enhance the signif­icance of the anniversary. Fletcher suggested that, “Taken by itself, an anniversary of this sort tends to focus on past glories and a nostalgia for days long gone. Coupled with a message of leadership and strong direction for the future, it becomes an inte­gral part of the American space experience; it can reenergize the country by setting new challenges and new horizons in the historic context of earlier goals success­fully met….” Having received this letter, National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft wrote that the President “has made it clear that space policy and exploration would be a priority of his Administration. This would be a tangible demonstration of his commitment.” This letter from Fletcher got the White House thinking about the possibility of utilizing the anniversary, only four months away, as a platform for a major space policy speech.[110]

It was clear during the early months of the Bush administration that the president had not settled on Mars exploration as the penultimate goal of the American space program. On 16 March, while speaking at a Forum Club luncheon in Houston, he was asked to comment about his support for the Space Station and a human mis­sion to Mars by the end to the century. Bush replied, “On the Space Station, I am strongly for it. We have taken the steps, budgetwise, to go forward on that. I have not reached a conclusion on whether the next major mission should be a manned mission to Mars… [Wje’re asking the [newly reconstituted] Space Council… to come forward with its recommendations. So, no decision is made [regarding] what happens beyond the Space Station itself, and I will make that decision when I get their recommendation.” Once again, the president cautioned that although his Administration had requested a budget increase for NASA, constrained resources meant that he was not ready to support the immediate adoption of a human mission to Mars. This statement indicated that just four months before announcing a major new space initiative, neither President Bush nor his senior space policy advisors had committed to a costly new human spaceflight program.[111]'[112]

As the Bush administration was beginning to assemble its space policy team, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington-based think tank, released a report analyzing national space policy. Entitled A More Effective Civil Space Program, the study was significant because it had been co-chaired by Brent Scowcroft before his appointment as the new presidents national security advisor. The report suggested that while NASA’s charter was to help maintain Amer­ican leadership in science and technology, it was far from clear whether the agency was meeting that objective in the post-Apollo era. CSIS indicated that a combina­tion of factors, including a declining budget and a short-sited planning process, had held the space program back during the prior two decades—while the Soviets, Europeans, Japanese, and Chinese were all making significant strides in their space programs. The task force contended that to reverse this disturbing trend the civil space program should figure more prominently on the national agenda. To accom­plish this goal, CSIS recommended that the Bush administration and Congress “set solar system exploration by means of automated and piloted spacecraft as a long­term national objective. This should include an important ‘Humans to Mars’ com­ponent, with deliberate and orderly preparation.” The report advocated a gradually planned buildup of key technologies and skills, rather than an accelerated program that overextended current capabilities. Finally, CSIS proposed establishing a two – year study effort aimed at developing programmatic alternatives for implementing this long-term strategy. As Administrator Fletcher had done just weeks earlier, the report concluded that 20 July 1989 would be an auspicious date for announcing a new initiative because of its symbolic importance.[113]

By early spring, with momentum growing for a presidential announcement on the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, Mark Albrecht broached the idea of a new human spaceflight initiative with Vice President Dan Quayle. He argued that the adoption of a long-term goal would provide focus to a directionless space program and a means to prioritize and streamline existing programs, espe – dally the Space Station. Quayle liked the idea. Although he had not been heavily engaged in space policy during his political career, the new vice president would become the single most important space policy entrepreneur within the Bush White House. Born in 1947, James Danforth Quayle was the grandson of Eugene Pul­liam, founder of an empire of conservative newspapers. Although he spent most of his childhood in Arizona, Quayles political roots were sowed in Indiana. After graduating from DePauw University and Indiana State University Law School in Indianapolis, he was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives at the age of 29- Four years later, he became the youngest person ever elected to the U. S. Senate from Indiana. During his Senate tenure, Quayle focused his legislative work in the areas of national defense, arms control, and labor policy. In August 1988, George Bush tapped Dan Quayle to be his running mate. Although this selection was widely criti­cized because it was felt that Quayle did not have enough experience to be president should something happen to Bush, these opinions had little impact on the ultimate outcome of the election. As vice president, Quayle became the first Chairperson of the National Space Council, which had been statutorily re-established the previous year by Congress. Quayle embraced this assignment, telling the media, “for the first time in a long time there will be a space advocate in the White House—and that will be me.” Within a short period, Quayle came to believe that the Space Councils primary objective was to fix a dysfunctional space agency. The vice president agreed with Mark Albrecht that the main rationale for adopting a new human spaceflight initiative was to restore NASA to prominence. His main concern, however, was achieving this renewal given the existing budgetary and political environment.[114]

Given his unease regarding the budgetary constraints, Quayle immediately scheduled a meeting with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Richard Darman to discuss announcing a new initiative. In his memoirs, Quayle stated, “despite his image as a budget cruncher and arm-twister… Dick Darman has his visionary side, and he was a cheerleader for a manned mission to Mars.” This became apparent at a meeting in early April attended by Quayle, Albrecht, Darman, and OMB Executive Associate Director Bob Grady. Darman was supportive, but cautioned that the current budget situation mandated that the administration could not serve up an Apollo-like crash program. As a result, three basic tenets emerged from this meeting. First, recognizing that there were interest groups in favor of both Moon and Mars exploration, President Bush would not come out in favor of one over the other. Second, any new initiative for human exploration of the Moon and/or Mars would be a long-term commitment—so there would not be any huge budgetary impact. Finally, this program would be utilized as the central organiz­ing principle for the entire civil space program—so that everything from the Space Station to space transportation to planetary programs would be structured around accomplishing this continuing objective.[115]

On 5 April, with Darman on board, Quayle raised the idea of announcing a robust exploration initiative with President Bush at their weekly lunch meeting. By the end of the discussion, the first of many on the topic that would occur over the coming months, President Bush gave the go-ahead to plan for a 20 July 1989 announcement. Quayle wrote in Standing Firm that the president wanted to use the anniversary “to make a major address on the space program, a speech that didn’t just look back toward former glory but ahead to bold new achievement.” Furthermore, he viewed this as an opportunity to challenge the long-held belief that only Demo­cratic presidents (e. g., Kennedy and Johnson) had visionary approaches to space. Finally, President Bush, who had been criticized for a lack of vision, viewed this as a chance to answer his detractors by putting the weight of the White House behind a bold human exploration program. The eventual placement of human exploration of Mars on the government agenda had its genesis in this meeting.[116]

Over the coming weeks, the White House began aggressively taking steps to finalize its core space policy team. The previous month, Administrator Fletcher had formally resigned as NASA Administrator. After receiving his resignation, the administration began working to fill the position. During this search, the name of a former astronaut rose to the top—Rear Admiral Richard Harrison Truly. Vice Presi­dent Quayle wrote in his memoirs, “Dick Truly was a friend of [White House Chief of Staff John] Sununu and became his candidate; I didn’t have a good candidate of my own, and so I went along with Truly’s selection.”[117] Truly joined NASA in 1969 as an astronaut. Prior to that, he spent nearly a decade serving as a naval aviator, test pilot, and member of the USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory program. After serving as CAPCOM for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) and Skylab mis­sions, Truly served on one of the astronaut crews that conducted the Space Shuttle Enterprise approach and landing test flights. He made two flights into space, the first in November 1981 as the pilot of Space Shuttle Columbia and the second in

August 1983 as commander of the Space Shuttle Challenger—which was the first night launch and landing during the shuttle program. After this mission, he left NASA for several years to head the newly formed Naval Space Command. In 1986, he returned to NASA as Associate Administrator for Space Flight—he was widely credited with guiding the shuttle program back to operational status after the 1986 Challenger accident. Vice President Quayle wrote in Standing Firm, “as often hap­pens in Washington, Truly got the job by default: he didn’t have the sort of negatives that might make news and sink the nomination.” Mark Albrecht recalled that the decision to make Truly administrator was made “rapidly, without a great deal of seri­ous discussion or assessment.”[118] Over the subsequent three years, this hasty selection of a true NASA insider and devoted “Shuttle Hugger” would come back to haunt an administration that needed somebody heading the space agency who shared the Space Council s objectives. Although the White House thought it was completing a policy triumvirate (including Quayle and Albrecht) capable of transforming NASA, Truly saw his job as protecting the space agency from danger. As a result, it eventu­ally became clear that he did not share the Space Councils reform goals.[119]

On 12 April, President Bush officially introduced Admiral Truly as his nominee to head NASA at a ceremony in the White House Roosevelt Room—attended by key members of Congress. The president opened by saying, “this marks the first time in its distinguished history that NASA will be led by a hero of its own making, an astronaut who had been to space, a man who has uniquely experienced NASA’s tremendous teamwork and achievement.” Bush acknowledged that because Truly was still an active duty flag-rank officer with the Navy, he would have to attain a congressional waiver for his appointment—the National Aeronautics and Space Act (NAS Act) of 1958 prohibited military officers from heading the civilian space agency. The president then handed the podium over to the nominee, who thanked Bush for showing confidence in his ability to guide the space agency. In conclusion, Truly stated that he looked forward to working with Vice President Quayle and the National Space Council.[120]

The Washington Post and The New York Times ran articles the next day suggesting that news ofTruly’s nomination was met with widespread approval on Capitol Hill.

The Post article explained that Truly had initially expressed doubts regarding the post, because he was concerned that it would necessitate the forfeiture of his military pension. Despite some congressional wariness related to placing a military officer in charge of NASA, it was reported that his military status was not expected to be a problem. The newspaper further reported that Democratic Congressman Norman Mineta of California, an opponent of military influence in the space agency, was nevertheless supporting the appointment due to Trulys unmatched depth of experi­ence. House appropriation committee staffer Richard Malow remembered thinking Truly was a good choice. “Dick Truly always came across as being very honest and he was an outstanding head of the Shuttle office.”[121] Senate staffer Stephen Kohashi recalled feeling that Admiral Truly was a competent individual, with a significant technical background and a sincere excitement for the space program. “I…recall [feeling relieved] that somebody solid and steady was assuming the helm,” Kohashi said, “…although some [people], I suspect, would have preferred someone with a… more dynamic image.”[122] [123] [124] The only true criticisms of Truly were that he was “too much the technocrat to be the combination of diplomat and salesman that his new job requires… [and that he is] no fan of developing commercial space enter­prises.”39740

On 20 April, at a White House ceremony in the Old Executive Office Presi­dent Bush signed an Executive Order establishing the National Space Council.[125] [126] He opened his formal remarks by telling the attendees that he was fulfilling the promise he had made the previous year to create the legislatively mandated council. With Vice President Quayle serving as Chair, Bush stated his belief that, “the Space Council will bring coherence and continuity and commitment to our efforts to

explore, study, and develop space___ ” The president stated his belief that the space

program was essential to sparking the American imagination, which inspired young people to enter the fields of science, math, and engineering—keys to ensuring the nation’s competitiveness in the future. He concluded by saying he was signing the executive order with “one objective in mind: to keep America first in space…it’s only a matter of time before the world salutes the first men and women on their way outward into the solar system. All of us want them to be Americans.”42,43 With the Space Council officially created and a core set of policy entrepreneurs in place, the administration was organized to begin a concerted effort aimed at shaping an initiative for human exploration beyond Earth orbit.44

The Lessons of SEI

“The story of the dreams and the unbuilt spaceships for flights to
Mars should be recorded so that in the future people can examine
past ideas of space travel just as we can examine the unconsummated
ideas of Leonardo da Vinci by reading his notebooks. Years from now
people should be able to decide for themselves whether they want to
go to Mars or if they prefer to stay earthbound. But let us not destroy
the dream, simply because we do not wish to pursue it ourselves. ”

NASA Historian Edward Ezell, 1979

During the agenda setting and alternative generation processes for SEI, key policy entrepreneurs did not adequately heed the lessons of the past—particularly those learned from the unsuccessful attempt to place Mars exploration on the gov­ernment agenda during post-Apollo planning. At that time, the Space Task Group and NASA failed to account for contemporary fiscal and political constraints. This led to the STG endorsement of a Mars exploration approach that required doubling the space agency’s annual budget. This was contrary to President Nixon’s philoso­phy and the budgetary environment, which resulted in the eventual failure of the initiative to reach the government agenda. In 1989, exploration of the Moon and Mars gained vital support from President Bush as his administration sought to pro­vide direction to a directionless agency. The policy process that the Space Council nominally directed, however, failed to provide adequate guidance regarding the con­straints confronting adoption of the initiative. As a result, NASA’s 90-Day Study was significantly at variance with what Congress judged to be in the long-term interest of the nation. Current policy makers are facing similar issues.[356] Future policy makers will surely face them as new policy windows open, providing opportunities to shape the national space program. Understanding the lessons of SEI provides a chance to avoid sharing SEI’s fate.

One of the primary causes of SEI’s failure was a lack of clear policy guidance from the White House. This deficiency began in early spring 1989, when announcing a robust human exploration initiative was first contemplated by the Bush adminis­tration. While Vice President Quayle and Mark Albrecht clearly believed such an undertaking would provide NASA with needed direction, the administration did not have well developed substantive ideas for future programs. Consequently, the Space Council relied heavily on the space agency to provide the details necessary to make an informed decision regarding the technical feasibility of human exploration beyond Earth orbit. The problem, however, was that adequate instructions were not provided regarding the key constraints that should guide the development of a programmatic approach. As a result, the Ad Hoc Working Group assembled a scenario for human exploration, based largely on existing technology, which would have cost an estimated $400 to $500 billion. Regardless of the potential problems represented by this cost profile, the White House decided to go ahead with the announcement of SEI—probably assuming that cheaper alternatives could be found for the initiative.

On 20 July 1989, during his speech announcing SEI, President Bush directed the Space Council to assess technical approaches and budgetary resources required to carry out the initiative. After the address, however, the Council largely abdi­cated this authority to NASA. This took the form of the 90-Day Study. Given the outcome of the initial alternative generation process (e. g., selection of a technical approach that would require more than doubling the agency’s budget), the decision to allow NASA to control the post-announcement alternative generation process was clearly a mistake. The decision not to include other actors within the space policy community ultimately presented serious problems. This outcome could have been avoided if a presidential decision directive with a detailed strategy for imple­menting SEI had been released concurrently with the presidents speech. Instead, this guidance was not provided for nearly eight months. The inability of the Coun­cil staff to draft such a directive, given the short period of time available, presents a compelling explanation for why NASA was allowed to generate the 90-Day Study in virtual isolation with scant direction from the White House.

From the start, the Space Council should have more firmly controlled devel­opment of SEI. Given the administration’s goals, after President Bush announced the initiative the Council should have commenced technical studies conducted by NASA and outside actors (e. g., government contractors, universities, think tanks, and national laboratories) based on detailed written guidance. This type of coor­dinated alternative generation process would have engendered the kind of “clean sheet” thinking the White House desired. Instead, the space agency followed a more expedient path and developed reference approaches based on past studies. Although the Space Council had verbally asked NASA to supply a variety of technical options and cost profiles, the top NASA leadership either misunderstood or ignored those requests. By the time the 90-Day Study was released, it was probably too late to regain control of the initiative. Congress already associated SEI with $500 bil­lion budgetary requirements. Without any other studies initiated to provide real alternatives, the Council could not present a compelling argument that cheaper options existed. By the time the National Research Council and Synthesis Group were brought in to provide this perspective, the damage had already been done. Similarly, the presidential directives released in spring 1990 arrived too late to save the initiative.

Perhaps the most important lesson learned from the failure of SEI was that NASA needs competition for ideas from other space policy community actors. Since the post-Apollo deceleration, NASA has not proven itself capable of present­ing White House policy makers with a robust suite of policy alternatives for large human spaceflight programs. From the earliest stages, the Space Council relied too much on the space agency to develop alternative approaches for SEI. There were a number of warning signs that should have led the council staff to bring other governmental and nongovernmental actors into the process. The most troubling of these was the initial $400 billion price tag introduced by the Ad Hoc Working Group. Given existing political and budgetary constraints, it is beyond explanation why the administration didn’t seek out cheaper options before announcing the ini­tiative. Instead, Vice President Quayle and Mark Albrecht were apparently satisfied with NASA’s conclusion that the initiative was technically feasible. They chose not to focus on the staggering price tag at that point. Regardless, the political infeasi­bility of the required cost profile clearly demonstrated the need to include other actors in the subsequent alternative generation process. Additional warning signs that the alternative generation process had gone awry emerged even before NASA began assembling the 90-Day Study. The most obvious example was the conversa­tion between Mark Albrecht and Aaron Cohen, when it became clear the two actors had fundamentally different definitions of alternatives. Throughout that period, the Space Council staff became increasingly alarmed by the lack of technical details being provided by NASA. Despite these growing concerns, however, the adminis­tration maintained its “wait and see” approach. By the time the 90-Day Study was released, it proved impossible to turn back the clock.

Responsibility for the ultimate demise of SEI should not all land at the White House doorstep. NASA missteps shared equally in its failure. Although it was directed to develop multiple options with different cost profiles, NASA presented only one expensive reference approach. To check the “alternatives” box, the agency simply provided slightly varied mission timelines and potential destinations. Even without clear written guidance from the administration, Admiral Truly and NASA’s senior leadership should have recognized that existing budgetary constraints neces­sitated consideration of alternatives that could be implemented with modest resources. Instead, a plan was developed that never had any hope of gaining con­gressional support. An examination of the 90-Day Study reveals several factors that virtually guaranteed this outcome. First, the TSG selected an aggressive develop­ment sequence that called for emplacement, consolidation, and operations phases. While this may have been a logical strategy for maintaining permanent human presence beyond Earth orbit, it was not politically feasible. Second, making the ulti­mate objective of both Moon and Mars exploration the establishment of permanent outposts dramatically increased the expense of the initiative. Cheaper stand-alone missions should have been included. Third, making the Space Shuttle and Space Station programs central to the system architecture drove costs up dramatically. It also alienated potential supporters on Capitol Hill. Dick Malow said later he would have been “more positive if NASA had taken Space Station off the plate and focused on going to Mars. The budget envelope that would have opened up would have been sufficient to get the initiative going. I never felt space station was critical to going to Mars, never made any sense to me, if anything it may even have been a detractor.”[357] Fourth, innovative in-space propulsion technologies were not given serious consideration. The basic chemical propulsion designs selected could have been supplemented with other options ranging from electric propulsion to solar sails to nuclear propulsion. Finally, additional strategic approaches should have been included. There was no shortage of architectural approaches available. In the end, the TSG’s failure to consider a wide-variety of alternatives crippled SEI and exposed NASA to wide-ranging criticism. Although the Space Council attempted to find other options, the odds were already stacked against the initiative. In the end, the failure of the Space Council to coordinate a competition of ideas from the outset doomed the initiative.

Even before he won the presidency, George Bush acknowledged that any new human spaceflight program would be significantly constrained by the federal budget. During the transition, the NASA Transition Team recommended the establishment of an agency priority-setting mechanism to take into account these concerns regard­ing the budget deficit. On his first day in office, President Bush told Congress his top agenda item was deficit reduction. Throughout its early months in office, the administration made clear that any decision regarding human spaceflight programs beyond Earth orbit would be made taking into account the limited resources avail­able. In April 1989, when Vice President Quayle and Mark Albrecht met with Rich­ard Darman and Bob Grady from OMB, it was agreed that any new initiative could not have a major budgetary impact. This body of evidence reveals that the Bush administration knew it would not gain congressional support for expensive explora­tion projects. It is equally clear, however, that NASA did not understand, or chose to ignore, this political reality. This is the primary reason why written guidance regard­ing the formulation of alternatives with favorable cost profiles was needed.

Drawing on the Apollo paradigm, NASA leaders believed President Bush’s endorsement of a bold human spaceflight initiative was an opportunity to obtain a large funding increase. This was made clear when the AHWG developed a strategic architecture that would have required more than doubling the agency’s budget. This was exactly what the administration did not want, yet Vice President Quayle and the Space Council perplexingly endorsed the review and proceeded with plans to announce SEI. Instead, given its desire to keep the space agency’s budget in check, the administration should have taken one of two actions. First, it could have post­poned the announcement of the initiative on the 20th anniversary of Apollo 11 and sought out less expensive options. Second, it could have announced SEI and imme­diately commenced a competition of ideas to determine what other alternatives were available. Rather than take control of the policy making process, the Space Council abdicated its authority to NASA. Admiral Truly, in turn, believed there was a right way and a wrong way of doing things, and the right way didn’t include considering resource constraints. Preparing plans for SEI based on this fundamental principle proved to be an enormous political miscalculation.

Admiral Truly’s approach to SEI was not without precedent. Something similar happened during post-Apollo planning. During that period, NASA advocated an aggressive human spaceflight program based on Vice President Agnews support for Mars exploration. President Nixon and Congress were not won over. Rather than learn from this disappointment, the agency followed essentially the same course 20 years later. An examination of the record suggests the agency never seriously considered using President Bush’s backing to gain support for modest budgetary increases that could fund a more limited human exploration program, which would not necessarily eliminate Mars missions. Thus, NASA missed a historic opportunity to right itself two decades after the post-Apollo deceleration. Instead, it proposed a highly expensive reference approach that would require doubling the agency budget because there was no inclination to cancel on-going programs. SEPs resultant demise badly damaged the American space program.

The failure to adequately consult Congress was one of the biggest mistakes made by the Bush administration before announcing SEI. Considering both houses were controlled by the opposition party, and given the existing budgetary crisis, this should have been a crucial part of the policy making process. Congress and congres­sional staffers are among the most critical actors in any policy community. Despite this fact, the administration did not involve legislators in SEPs agenda setting pro­cess. Instead, the Space Council and NASA simply ‘informed’ key members and staffers, instead of consulting’ them regarding the initiative’s substance or political feasibility. Furthermore, there was no attempt made to build a coalition of support­ers for human exploration beyond Earth orbit. This explains why SEI never had any true champions on Capitol Hill, even among constituencies usually supportive of the space program. This procedural flaw was compounded when the Space Council and NASA continued to operate without seeking advice from Congress as alterna­tives were being generated. It is not surprising, therefore, that the 90-Day Study was pronounced ‘dead-on-arrival’ when it reached Capitol Hill. Without Congressional buy-in, it was impossible to garner support for SEI after the report was released. The Space Council made continual efforts to prove the program could be implemented with fewer resources. The space summit held in May 1990 was indicative of this struggle, but did not sway any Congressional supporters to come to the fore. By the time the Hubble flaw and Space Shuttle leaks were revealed, it was too late to save SEI. It is unclear whether broad-based support would have been forthcoming even if attempts had been made to build a coalition of congressional supporters, but the failure to make the effort clearly contributed to the ultimate failure of the initiative.

The philosophical disconnect between Admiral Truly and the Space Council was one of the most significant secondary causes of SEI’s demise. After taking office, the Bush White House did not take early steps to find a new NASA Administrator. Although the administration knew James Fletcher was departing, there was no ini­tial rush to find his replacement. Thus, the eventual decision to appoint Truly was made very rapidly. As a result, there was little time to make sure that his vision for the agency’s future matched President Bush and Vice President Quayle’s. Over the course of the subsequent three years, it became increasingly clear Truly’s priorities were at odds with the Space Council’s. In fact, Truly actively fought the Council’s efforts to take control of space policy making within the federal government. In the end, this led to his firing and the hiring of Dan Goldin. SEI’s outcome demonstrates how important it is for the president and NASA administrator to be on the same page when trying to gain approval for a major human spaceflight initiative.

In the absence of a true crisis environment, rapid decision making to meet arbi­trary deadlines has not proven to be terribly successfully within the American space program. The determination to announce SEI on the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing was a perfect example. Although many within the space policy commu­nity recommended that NASA embark on an extended evaluation of future options, a decision to approve SEI was made in less than four months. As a result, President George Bush announced an initiative that had not been thoroughly examined with regard to its fiscal and political feasibility. In retrospect, it is unclear what necessi­tated this rushed process. After the speech, this perceived need for speed carried over to the 90-Day Study. An examination of the historical record does not reveal any clear rationale for conducting the study in three months, except to include fund­ing for SEI in the fiscal year 1991 budget request. Regardless, the result was that the TSG did not have time to adequately evaluate a range of strategic architectures with different cost profiles. The NRC study team that reviewed the report criticized this quick turnaround as the proximate cause for the lack of real alternatives. This outcome virtually eliminated any chance for SEI’s approval.

During the second half of the 20th century, there were a number of seminal moments in American space policy. These included the creation of NASA, President Kennedy’s Moon decision, and the Space Shuttle and Space Station decisions. Due to its influence on the space program’s future course, SEI rightfully belongs on this list. It is an anomaly in some respects because it was a failed initiative. Combined with the Hubble Space Telescope flaw and Space Shuttle fuel leaks, its demise led to significant changes at NASA. Perhaps the most important was the appointment of Dan Goldin, the most change-oriented administrator since James Webb.[358] The most important change he wrought was forcing NASA to face budgetary reality and focus on evolutionary advancement. This arguably wouldn’t have happened absent the extraordinary budgetary requirements of NASA’s SEI reference approach and the eventual downfall of the initiative.

The demise of SEI was a classic example of a defective decision-making process. The decision to conduct the agenda setting process in secret made it difficult to gen­erate support within Congress or the space policy community. The Space Councils inability to provide high-level policy guidance, combined with NASA’s failure to independently consider critical fiscal constraints, derailed the initiative before it really got started. Finally, the failure of the Space Council to initiate a competi­tion of ideas after President Bush’s announcement speech removed any possibility of gaining congressional support after the devastating release of the 90-Day Study. It is far from obvious that the failure of SEI was predetermined given the existing budgetary crisis facing the nation in 1989. What is clear, however, is that its failure was ensured because options that may have been politically feasible were not con­sidered during a deeply flawed policy process. While this had the benefit of forcing some level of change within NASA, it also badly damaged the agency’s reputation as a world-class technical organization. To ensure the success of future efforts to send humans to Mars, current and future policy makers must learn the lessons of SEI. This alone is why its history is so fundamental to understanding what is required to gain support for large human spaceflight initiatives.

[1] Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, 20 July 1989, Remarks on the 20th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing [http://bushlibrary. tamu. edu/papers/] (accessed 18 May 2002).

[2] Dwayne A. Day, “Doomed to Fail: The Birth and Death of the Space Exploration Initiative,” Spaceflight (March 1995), pp. 79-83; John Pike, “But what is the True Rationale for Human Spaceflight?,” Space Policy (August 1994), pp. 217-222.

[3]John W. Kingdon, Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies (New York: HarperCollins College Publishers, 1995).

[4] Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones, Agendas and Instability in American Polities (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), pp. 3-24.

[5] Wayne Parsons, Public Policy: An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Policy Analysis (Brookfield, Vermont: Edward Elgar Publishing, 1995), pp. 193-207.

1:1 Michael Cohen, James March, and Johan Olsen, “A Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice,” Administrative Science Quarterly (March 1972), pp. 1-25; Parsons, Public Policy, pp. 192-193.

[7] John W. Kingdon, Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies (New York: HarperCollins College Publishers, 1995), pp. 86-89.

[8] Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones, Agendas and Instability in American Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), pp. 3-24.

5 Ibid., pp. 39-55.

[10] William Sheehan, The Planet Mars: A History of Observation and Discover (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1996), pp. 1-8; John Noble Wilford, Mars Beckons: The Mysteries, the Challenges, the Expectations of Our Next Great Adventure in Space (New York: Vintage Books, 1990), pp. 3-17.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Sheehan, The Planet Mars, pp. 9-15; Wilford, Mars Beckons, pp. 3-17.

[14] Sheehan, The Planet Mars, pp. 16-22; Wilford, Mars Beckons, pp. 3-17.

[15] Sheehan, The Planet Mars, pp. 23-30.

[16] Wilford, Mars Beckons, pp. 23-24.

[17] William Graves Hoyt, Lowell and Mars (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1976), p. 12.

[18] Wilford, Mars Beckons, pp. 24-30.

1!> Ibid.

[20] H. G. Wells, War of the Worlds (1898; reprint, New York: Tor, 1986).

[21] Edgar Rice Burroughs, A Princess of Mars (1917; reprint, New York: Ballantine Books, 1990).

[22] Robert Heinlein, Red Planet (New York: Ballantine Books, 1949).

[23] Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles (New York: Doubleday, 1950).

[24] One of the two most prestigious awards for accomplishments in science fiction—the other is the Nebula Award.

[25] Robert Heinlein, Double Star (New York: Ballantine Books, 1956).

[26] Wilford, Mars Beckons, pp. 53-56.

[27] A myth developed by flight engineers after earlier missions to Mars failed, which lives on today.

[28] Including a magnetometer and a trapped-radiation detector.

[29] Sheehan, The Planet Mars, chapter 11.

[30] About every 26 months, Mars and Earth reach a position in their respective orbits that offers the best trajectory between the two planets. During this time period, the Mariner missions were launched to take advantage of these launch windows.

[31] Wilford, Mars Beckonsy pp. 60-61.

[32] Sheehan, The Planet Mars, chapter 12.

[33] Wilford, Mars Beckons, pp. 86-90.

[34] Some astrobiologists believe that the Viking Lander’s Labeled Release (LR) experiment proved that primitive life does exist on present-day Mars. The LR experiment dropped liquid nutrients onto a sample of Martian soil, then measured the gases that were released by the mixture. If Martian bacteria had consumed the nutrients and had begun to multiply, certain gases would have been released. When the LR experiment was conducted on both Viking Landers, some of the gases emitted seemed to suggest that microbes were ingesting the released nutrients. But, overall, the results were ambiguous. Many in the scientific community believe that the LR results can be explained non-biologically. One such explanation is that the LR experiment showed the surface of Mars to contain oxides. When the nutrients mixed with the oxides, a chemical reaction, not a biological one, occurred. Moreover, these oxides would actually prevent life from forming on the Martian surface. This remains an open debate within the scientific community, although the prevailing belief is that the Viking LR readings did not provide evidence of life on Mars. [Staff Writer, “The Viking Files,” Astrobiology Magazine (29 May 2003)]

and the American Imagination (Washington, DC: Smithsonian

[36] German engineer who played a prominent role in all aspects of rocketry and space exploration, first in Germany (he led the V-2 rocket program) and, after World War II, in the United States. After working for the U. S. Army, von Braun became Director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the chief architect of the Saturn V launch vehicle. He began developing ideas for Mars exploration as early as 1947, while working at White Sands.

[37] Wernher von Braun, The Mars Project (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1962); Erik Bergaust, Wernher von Braun (Washington, DC: National Space Institute, 1976), pp. 153-159; David S. Portree, Humans to Mars: Fifty Years of Mission Planning, 1950-2000 (Washington, DC: NASA History Division, 2001), pp. 1-4.

[38] John Kingdon defines “softening up” as a process to pave the way in preparation for opening a policy window. In this process, the policy entrepreneur must ask who must be softened up: the general public, some specialized public, or the policy community itself. Among the means of softening up or educating is conducting and releasing studies or reports relating to the policy, which was the method chosen by von Braun (and others) during the 1950s. [John W. Kingdon, Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies (New York: HarperCollins College Publishers, 1995), pp. 127-131.]

[39] Portree, Humans to Mars, pp. 1-4; Bergaust, Wernher von Braun, pp. 53-59; Wernher von Braun with Cornelius Ryan, “Can We Get to Mars?” Colliers, 30 April 1954, in Exploring the Unknown: Organizing for Exploration, ed. Logsdon, et al. (Washington, DC: NASA History Division, 1995, NASA SP-4407, Volume 1), pp. 195-200; Willy Ley and Wernher von Braun, The Exploration of Mars (New York: Viking Press, 1956).

[40] Mike Wright, “The Disney-Von Braun Collaboration and Its Influence on Space Exploration” in Selected Papers fi-om the 1993 Southern Humanities Conference, ed. Daniel Schenker, Craig Hanks, and Susan Kray (Huntsville, AL: Southern Humanities Press, 1993).

[41] McCurdy, Space and the American Imagination, pp. 29-82.

[42] Portree, Humans to Mars, pp. 5-6.

[43] Portree, Humans to Mars, pp. 6-8; David S. F. Portree, “The Road to Mars… Is Paved With Good Inventions,” Air & Space, February/March 2000, pp. 67-71.

[44] Portree, Humans to Mars, pp. 11-22; Portree, The Road to Mars, pp. 67-71.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Ibid.

[47] Charles Townes, et al., “Report of the Task Force on Space,” 8 January 1969, in Exploring the Unknown: Organizing for Exploration, ed. Logsdon, et al. (Washington, DC: NASA History Division, 1995, NASA SP-4407, Volume 1), pp. 499-512.

[48] In fact, Agnew had little influence within the Nixon White House; his strong support for an ambitious post-Apollo program was potentially a liability for NASA, not an asset.

[49] Joan Hoff, “The Presidency, Congress, and the Deceleration of the US Space Program in the 1970s,” in Spaceflight and the Myth of Presidential Leadership, ed. Roger D. Launius and Howard McCurdy (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1997), pp. 92-132.

[50] Richard Nixon, “Memorandum for the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense, the Acting Administrator, NASA, and the Science Advisor,” 13 February 1969, in Exploring the Unknown: Organizing for Exploration, ed. Logsdon, et al. (Washington, DC: NASA History Division, 1995, NASA SP-4407, Volume 1), pp. 512-513.

[51] NASA History Division, Compilation of Historical Polling Data, Excel spreadsheet provided to author.

[52] Hoff, “The Presidency, Congress, and the Deceleration of the US Space Program in the 1970s,” pp. 92-132.

15 John M. Logsdon, “The Policy Process and Large-Scale Space Efforts,” Space Humanization Series (1979): pp. 65-79.

[54] Ibid.

[55] John M. Logsdon, “The Evolution of US Space Policy and Plans,” in Exploring the Unknown: Organizing for Exploration, ed. Logsdon, et al. (Washington, DC: NASA History Division, 1995, NASA SP-4407, Volume 1), pp. 383-386.

[56] Space Task Group, “The Post-Apollo Space Program: Directions for the Future,” September 1969, in Exploring the Unknown: Organizing for Exploration, ed. Logsdon et al (Washington, DC: NASA History Division, 1995, NASA SP-4407, Volume 1), pp. 522-525.

[57] Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1970 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1971), pp. 250-253.

[58] Hoff, “The Presidency, Congress, and the Deceleration of the US Space Program in the 1970s,” pp. 93-95.

[59] Logsdon, “The Policy Process and Large-Scale Space Efforts,” pp. 74-75.

[60] The process of modifying a planet, moon, or other body to a more habitable atmosphere, temperature or ecology.

[61] Alcestis R. Oberg, “The Grass Roots of the Mars Conference,” in The Case for Mars, ed. Penelope Boston (San Diego, CA: American Astro nautical Society, 1984), pp. ix-xii; Robert Zubrin and Richard Wagner, The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must (New York: The Free Press, 1996), pp. 70-74; Amy Reeves, “Space Oddities: Local Members of the Mars Underground Have Come Up for Air,” The Sun, 25 August 1999.

[62] Ibid.

23 Ibid.

80 Penelope J. Boston, et al., “Conference Summary,” in The Case for Man, ed. Penelope Boston (San Diego, CA: American Astronautical Society, 1984), pp. xiii-xxi.

[65] Ibid.


[67] John M. Logsdon, “The Evolution of US Space Policy and Plans,” p. 392.

[68] Ibid.

[69] Francis Scobee, Michael Smith, Judith Resnik, Ellison Onizuka, Ronald McNair, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAulliffe.

[70] National Commission on Space, Pioneering the Space Frontier: An Exciting Vision of Our Next Fifty Years in Space (New York: Bantam Books, 1986).

[71] Ibid.

[72] Ibid.

33 Ibid.

[74] Ibid.

[75] John Noble Wilford, Mars Beckons: The Mysteries, the Challenges, the Expectations of Our Next Great Adventure in Space (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991), pp. 145-150.

[76] Ibid.

[77] Sally Ride, Leadership and Americas Future in Space: A Report to the Administrator, (Washington, DC: NASA, 1987).

[78] Ibid.

[79] Ibid.

[80] Howard E. McCurdy, The Decision to Send Humans Back to the Moon and on to Mars (Washington, DC: NASA History Division, March 1992); Lyn Ragsdale, “Politics Not Science: The US Space Program in the Reagan and Bush Years,” in Spaceflight and the Myth of Presidential Leadership, ed. Roger D. Launius and Howard E. McCurdy (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1997), p. 161.

[81] Office of Exploration, Beyond Earth’s Boundaries: Питан Exploration of the Solar System in the 21st Century (Washington, DC: NASA, 1988); John Aaron, “NASA Press Conference Prepared Statement,” 19 December 1988.

[82] National Security Council, “National Security Decision Directive Number 42: National Space Policy,” 4 July 1982.

45 National Security Council, “Presidential Directive on National Space Policy,” 11 February 1988.

[84] Howard McCurdy interview via electronic-mail, 16 April 1999; John Logsdon interview via electronic-mail, 18 April 1999; Marcia Smith interview via electronic-mail, 19 April 1999.

[85] James Michener, testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, U. S. Civilian Space Policy: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space, 96th Cong., 1st session, 1979.

[86] John Robert Greene, The Presidency of George Bush (Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press,

2000), pp. 11-26.


[88] Ibid.

[89] George Bush, “Remarks for the Space Shuttle Challenger Dedication,” 21 March 1987, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[90] Although Vice President Bush had no formal role in space policy making, he had been involved in this issue area in the months after the Challenger accident. One can also conjecture that the briefing

was intended to gain support for NASA programs from the likely Republican nominee in the following year’s presidential election.

[91] James Fletcher, “Briefing for the Vice President of the United States,” 10 August 1987, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[92] Ibid.

5 George Bush, “Excerpts of Remarks at George C. Marshall Space Flight Center,” 29 October 1987, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[94] George Bush, “Excerpts of Remarks at Redding, California,” 3 October 1988, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[95] James P. Pfiffner, “The Bush Transition: Symbols and Substance,” in Presidential Transitions: The Reagan to Bush Experience, ed. Kenneth W. Thompson (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1993), pp. 62-72.

[96] Robert M. White and Frank Press to George Bush, December 1988, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering, Toward a New Era in Space: Realigning Policies to New Realities (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1988).

[97] Ibid.; NASA Transition Office Contact Team, “Briefing Report to the NASA Administrator – Designate,” 20 January 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[98] NASA Transition Office Contact Team, “Briefing Report to the NASA Administrator-Designate,” 20 January 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[99] In 1988, Congress included language in NASA budget authorization that required the President to establish a National Space Council. The President was required to submit by 1 March 1989 a report that outlined the composition and functions of the Council, which was to employ not more then seven persons (including an executive secretary appointed by the President).

[100] NASA Transition Office Contact Team, “Briefing Report to the NASA Administrator-Designate,” 20 January 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[101] Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, 9 February 1989, Address on Administration Goals Before a Joint Session of Congress, http://bushlibrary. tamu. edu/papers/ (accessed 18 May 2002.)

[102] Senator Jake Garn to President George Bush, 16 February 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

15 Former Texas Sen. John Tower was tapped by President Bush to become defense secretary, but the nomination quickly ran into trouble as opponents questioned Tower’s business dealings with defense contractors. The confirmation hearings also brought Tower’s personal life squarely into the public eye, with some critics alleging he drank excessively. At one point, Tower pledged to quit drinking entirely if confirmed, but his appointment was rejected 53-47 by the Senate in March 1993.

[104] Bryan Burrough, Dragonfly: NASA and the Crisis Aboard Mir (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998), p. 239.

[105] Sharen Shaw Johnson, “Capital Line,” USA Today, sec. 6A,3 March 1989.

[106] Stephan Kohashi interview via electronic mail, Washington, DC, 16 November 2004.

’ Kathy Sawyer, “Concern Rises Over Space Council’s Direction,” The Washington Post (9 March 1989): A23.

[108] Eliot Marshall, “An Arbitrator for Space Policy,” Science (10 March 1989): p. 1283.

[109] Press Release, White House Office of the Press Secretary, 1 March 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Dwayne A. Day, “Doomed to Fail: The Birth and Death of the Space Exploration Initiative,” Spaceflight (March 1995): pp. 79-83; “National Space Council Director Named, Report Sent to Congress,” Aerospace Daily (3 March 1989); Sawyer, “Concern Rises Over Space Council’s Direction,” A23; Dan Quayle, Standing Firm: A Vice-Presidential Memoir (New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1994), p. 179.

[110] Letter, James C. Fletcher to President George Bush, 9 March 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Memorandum, Joseph Hagin to Brent Scowcroft, 3 April 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[111] Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, 16 March 1989, Remarks at a Luncheon Hosted by the Forum Club in Houston, Texas, http://bushlibrary. tamu. edu/papers/ (accessed 19 August 2003.)

[112] Eight days later this theme was confirmed when the White House hosted the crew of STS-28,

which had successfully landed the shuttle Discovery the previous week at Edwards Air Force Base in California—the primary task of the mission had been the deployment of Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-4 (TDRS-4). In congratulating the crew, President Bush stated that “the story of Discovery is as… timeless as our history… it says that to Americans—nothing lies beyond our reach.” In his brief remarks, the President reaffirmed his commitment to the shuttle program, space science, and construction of the Space Station Freedom. He did not, however, mention human exploration beyond Earth orbit as one of the goals of his administration. [Press Release, White House Office of the Press Secretary, 24 March 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.]

25 John H. McElroy and Brent Scowcroft, A More Effective Civil Space Program (Washington, DC: The Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1989).

[114] Mark Albrecht interview, tape recording, Arlington, VA, 3 July 2003; “Quayle Puts Damper on Manned Mars/Moon Mission Prospects,” Defense Daily, 5 April 1989, pp. 22-3; Quayle, Standing Firm, pp. 177-190.AQ4

[115] Quayle, Standing Firm, pp. 177-190; Albrecht interview.

[116] Ibid.; Frank J. Murray, “Putting Man on Mars May be Bush’s Goal”, Washington Times, 20 July 1989, sec. A1; Howard McCurdy, The Decision to Send Humans Back to the Moon and on to Man (Washington, DC: NASA History Division, 1992), pp. 4-13; Quayle, Standing Firm, p. 181.

[117] Quayle, Standing Firm, p. 181.

[118] Albrecht interview.

[119] Press Release, White House Office of the Press Secretary, 12 April 1989, Bush Presidential Records, Bush Presidential Library; Quayle, Standing Firm, p. 181; Albrecht interview; Kathy Sawyer, “Bush Taps Truly to Head NASA: Former Astronaut Popular on Hill,” The Washington Post (13 April 1989).

[120] Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, 20 January 1989, Remarks Announcing the Nomination of Richard Hatrison Truly To Be Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, http://bushlibrary. tamu. edu/papers/ (accessed 18 May 2002.)

[121] Richard Malow interview via tape recording, Washington, DC, 25 October 2004.

[122] Kohashi interview.

[123] Kathy Sawyer, “Bush Taps Truly to Head NASA: Former Astronaut Popular on Hill,” The Washington Post, 13 April 1989; Warren E. Leary, “Bush Chooses Former Astronaut to Head NASA, in a First,” The New York Times, 13 April 1989.

[124] On 23 June, the U. S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Admiral Truly. Along with the confirmation vote, the Senate passed S. 1180, legislation that would allow him to retain his status, rank, and grade as a retired military officer and guaranteeing his retirement benefits from his Navy service after he retired from civilian life. The bill also provided that Admiral Truly, as the NASA Administrator, shall be “subject to no supervision, control, restriction, or prohibition (military or otherwise) other than would be operative… ” if he were not a retired Navy officer. Six days later, OMB Director Darman sent a memorandum to President Bush recommending that the latter authorize the appointment of Admiral Truly and sign S. 1180—the next day James Cicconi of the Office of Personnel approved that recommendation and sent the bill to President Bush for his signature, which was affixed in the normal course of business before the deadline of 10 July 1989. [Memorandum, Richard Darman to President Bush, 29 June 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.]

[125] On 15 March, the Office of the Vice President had submitted to OMB Director Richard Darman a proposed Executive Order for establishing the National Space Council. The draft executive order stated that the goal of the space council was to "provide a coordinated process for developing a national

space program and for overseeing the implementation of national space policy and related activities______ ”

The Vice President, who would act as the primary space policy advisor to the President, would chair the council. The remaining members of the body would be the: Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Transportation, OMB Director, White House Chief of Staff, National Security Advisor, Director of Central Intelligence, and the NASA Administrator. Upon the request of the Vice President, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Presidential Science Advisor, and heads of other executive departments and agencies could also be called upon to participate in meetings. The executive order also provided for the creation of the Vice Presidents Space Policy Advisory Board. This committee would be composed of private citizens appointed to advise the Vice President on national space policy issues. Vice Presidential Counselor Diane Weinstein wrote Darman that “given the urgent need for the Council to begin exercising its critical responsibilities as soon as possible…[the] Vice President recommends that the President sign the enclosed proposed Executive Order establishing the National Space Council.” A week later, Darman received a memorandum from Bonnie Newman, Assistant to the President for Management and Administration, concurring with the OMB Directors recommendation to provide funding to the National Space Council under the auspices of Public Law 100-440, which provided budget resources to the Executive Office of the President for “Unanticipated Needs.” Darman forwarded the memorandum to President Bush recommending an allocation of $181,000, which would allow the Space Council to begin operations in fiscal year 1989. [Letter with an attached draft Executive Order, Diane Weinstein to Richard Darman, 15 March 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Memorandum, J. Bonnie Newman to Richard G. Darman, 22 March 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Memorandum, Richard G. Darman to President George Bush, 23 March 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.]

[126] Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, 21 April 1989, Remarks on Signing the Executive Order Establishing the National Space Council, http://bushlibrary. tamu. edu/papers/ (accessed 18 May 2002).

4:1 The actual executive order had been amended somewhat since its original submittal to OMB the previous month. There were two additions made to the full membership of the council—the Secretary

of the Treasury and the President’s Science Advisor. The functions of the council were also fine tuned, and were listed in the final order as follows:

A. The Council shall advise and assist the President on national space policy and strategy…

B. The Council is directed to:

[128] Review United States Government space policy, including long-range goals, and develop a strategy for national space activities;

2. Develop recommendations for the President on space policy and space-related issues;

3. Monitor and coordinate implementation of the objectives of the Presidents national space policy by executive departments and agencies; and

4. Foster close coordination, cooperation, and technology and information exchange among the civil, national security, and commercial space sectors…

C. The creation and operation of the Council shall not interfere with existing lines of authority and responsibilities in the departments and agencies.

The rest of the document was substantively the same as the draft order—including provisions detailing: the responsibilities of the chairman, the national space policy planning process, the establishment of the Vice Presidents Space Policy Advisory Board, and the requirement to “submit an annual report setting forth its assessment of and recommendations for the space policy and strategy of the United States Government.” [Executive Order Establishing the National Space Council, 21 April 1989, Bush Presidential Records, Bush Presidential Library.]

44 One could argue that Admiral Truly was not actually a committed policy entrepreneur for human spaceflight beyond Earth orbit, and that in fact he worked against the program. Regardless, he became one of the key players in the SEI process and was heavily involved in assembling the administration plan and trying to sell it on Capitol Hill. It seems that this qualifies him as a policy entrepreneur for the purposes of this manuscript.

[129] McCurdy, The Decision to Send Humans Back to the Moon and on to Mars, pp. 12-13; Albrecht interview; Frank Martin interview by Howard E. McCurdy, in The Decision to Send Humans Back to the Moon and on to Mars (Washington, DC: NASA History Division, 1992).

[130] Ibid.

[131] Douglas O’Handley interview via electronic mail, Morgan Hill, CA, 22 November 2004.

[132] Aaron Cohen interview via electronic mail, College Station, Texas, 9 December 2004.

45 Martin interview.

[134] Ibid.

[135] Frank Martin interview by Howard E. McCurdy, in The Decision to Send Humans Back to the Moon and on to Mars (Washington, DC: NASA History Division, 1992); Mark Craig, interview by Howard E. McCurdy, in The Decision to Send Humans Back to the Moon and on to Mars (Washington, DC: NASA History Division, 1992).

[136] O’Handley interview.

[137] Ibid.; Mark Craig, “A Scenario For Human Exploration of the Moon and Mars,” presented to Admiral Richard Truly on 13 June 1989.

[138] Shuttle-C was a 1980s proposal to use the Shuttle s infrastructure to create a heavy launch vehicle. This vehicle would have used the Space Shuttle s solid rocket boosters, external tank, and main engines. Instead of a crew-carrying orbiter, however, it would have used an expendable cargo carrier.

[139] Craig, “A Scenario For Human Exploration of the Moon and Mars.”

[140] O’Handley interview.

[141] Ibid.

[142] O’Handley interview.

[143] This budget estimate had been calculated by OMB cost analyst Norine Noonan, in consultation with NASA.

[144] Martin interview; Craig interview.

[145] Martin interview.

[146] O’Handley interview.

Martin interview.

[148] NASA, “Civil Space Exploration Initiative,” presented to Vice President Dan Quayle on 15 June 1989.

[149] Ibid.; Craig interview; Albrecht interview.

[150] Martin interview.

[151] Craig interview.

[152] O’Handley interview.

65 Ibid.

[154] Bob Davis, “Quiet Clout: How a House Staffer Wields Great Power Over Policy Decisions,” The Wall Street Journal (30 June 1989), p. 1.

[155] Ibid.

[156] Malow interview.

[157] Martin interview.

4 Kohashi interview.

[159] Martin interview.

[160] Malow interview.

[161] Ibid.

[162] Martin interview.

[163] Albrecht interview; Karen Hosier, “Bush Unveils Moon, Mars Plans But Withholds Specifics,” The Baltimore Sun, 21 July 1989-

[164] Ibid.

[165] Quayle, Standing Firm, pp. 177-190.

[166] Craig Covault, “Manned Lunar Base, Mars Initiative Raised in Secret White House Review,” Aviation Week & Space Technology (17 July 1989), pp. 24-26; Michael Mecham, “House Panel Proposes $1-Billion Cut for NASA,” Aviation Week & Space Technology (17 July 1989), p. 26.

[167] Public Papers ofthe Presidents of the United States, 20 July 1989, Remarks on the 20th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, http://bushlibrary. tamu. edu/papers/ (accessed 18 May 2002.)

[168] Press Briefing, Admiral Richard H. Truly, 20 July 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[169] Ibid.

88 Ibid.

[171] Residence Event Task Sheet, Barbecue to Commemorate the 20 th Anniversary of the Landing on the Moon, 7 July 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Menu, Barbecue Lunch: 20th Anniversary of the First Moon Walk, 20 July 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[172] Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, 20 July 1989, Remarks at a White House Barbecue on the 20th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landings http://bushlibrary. tamu. edu/papers/ (accessed 6 June 2002.)

[173] Bernard Weinraub, “President Call for Mars Mission and a Moon Base,” The New York Times, 21 July 1989, sec. A1.

[174] Ibid.

[175] David C. Morrison, “To Shoot the Moon, and Mars Beyond,” Government Executive (September 1989), pp. 12-22.

[176] Weinraub, “President Call for Mars Mission and a Moon Base.”

[177] Ibid.; Karen Hosier, “Bush Unveils Moon, Mars Plans But Withholds Specifics,” The Baltimore Sun, 21 July 1989.

[178] Morrison, “To Shoot the Moon, and Mars Beyond.”

[179] Roy Harris Jr., “Firms Rejoice Over Reborn U. S. Space Program,” The Wall Street Journal, 24 July 1989.

[180] O’Handley interview.

[181] Cohen interview.

[182] O’Handley interview.

[183] Morrison, “To Shoot the Moon, and Mars Beyond.”

[184] Albrecht interview; Cohen interview.

[185] Albrecht interview.

[186] Martin interview.

[187] James Fisher and Andrew Lawler, “NASA, Space Council Split Over Moon-Mars Report,” Space News (11 December 1989), p. 10.

[188] Ibid.

[189] Press Release 89-126, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 27 July 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[190] Wendell Mendell interview via electronic-mail, 15 September 2003.

15 Bryan Burrough, Dragonfly: NASA and the Crisis Aboard Mir (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998), p. 240.

[192] Albrecht interview.

[193] Cohen interview.

[194] Mark Craig interview via electronic-mail, 12 September 2003.

[195] Martin interview.

[196] O’Handley interview.

[197] Bryan Burrough, Dragonfly, p. 240.

[198] Malow interview.

[199] O’Handley interview.

[200] Ibid.

23 Ibid.

70 Craig interview, 12 September 2003; Cohen interview, 9 December 2004.

[203] Report of the 90-Day Study on Human Exploration of the Moon and Mars, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 20 November 1989, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Historical Archives, 2-2 to 2-5; NASA Administrator Richard Truly to Vice President Dan Quayle, 5 September 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Craig interview, 12 September 2003; O’Handley interview.

[204] O’Handley interview.

[205] Ibid.

[206] On 2 November, President Bush signed National Space Policy Directive 1—a slight revision of the policy issued by the Reagan Administration 20 months earlier. The expansion of human presence and activity “beyond Earth orbit into the solar system” remained one of the nations primary goals in space. Considering the administrations desire to have SEI provide a long-term direction for the American space program, however, the document didn’t place a great deal of emphasis on the new initiative. Within the section dealing directly with civil space policy, human exploration was relegated to the bottom of a list of stated objectives for NASA—with Earth science, space science, technology development, and space applications at the top of the list. Even when addressing human exploration more specifically, the policy highlighted completion of Space Station Freedom and downplayed human missions beyond Earth orbit. Finally, the directive provided no specific guidance with regard to implementing the Moon-Mars initiative. [National Space Policy Directive 1, National Space Council, 2 November 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Press Release, The White House Office of the Press Secretary, 16 November 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library ]

[207] It was not officially released until 20 November 1989.

[208] Report of the 90-Day Study on Human Exploration of the Moon and Mars, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 20 November 1989, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Historical Archives, cover letter.

[209] Ibid., Preface.

[210] Ibid., section 3, The Human Exploration Initiative.

[211] Report of the 90-Day Study on Human Exploration of the Moon and Mars, section 3, The Human Exploration Initiative.

[212] Report of the 90-Day Study on Human Exploration of the Moon and Mars, section 3, The Human Exploration Initiative.

[213] For cargo flights, an integrated configuration of two excursion vehicles is launched. Upon approach to Mars, the two vehicles separate and enter Mars orbit using aero-brakes. The first cargo flight in the Mars outpost mission sequence delivers the habitat facility to the outpost site.

[214] Report of the 90-Day Study on Human Exploration of the Moon and Mars, section 3, The

Human Exploration Initiative.

[216] The Advanced Launch System (ALS) emerged in the mid-1980s as the rocket that would be used to deploy the space-based elements of the Strategic Defense Initiative program. However, by late 1989, it had become increasingly apparent that the requirements for the ALS program had largely disappeared. The initial phase of SDI would be deployed using existing Titan 4 and Atlas 2 rockets, and the launch requirements for subsequent phases of SDI deployment were too vague to require immediate development of ALS.

[217] Report of the 90-Day Study on Human Exploration of the Moon and Mars, section 3, The Human Exploration Initiative.

[218] Ibid.

[219] Ibid., section 4, Reference Approaches.

[220] Ibid., Cost Summary.

[221] Ibid.

[222] Bryan Burrough, Dragonfly> p. 241.

[223] Albrecht interview.

[224] Warren E. Leary, “Plans for Space Are Realistic, Official Says,” New York Times (17 December 2003).

[225] O’Handley interview.

5:1 Cohen interview.

[227] Ibid.

[228] Ibid.

[229] Talking Points, NASA Moon/Mars Database Report, National Space Council, 14 November 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Albrecht interview.

[230] Ibid.

[231] Albrecht interview.

55 Kathy Sawyer, “Quayle to Give NASA Competition on Ideas for Space Exploration,” The Washington Post (17 November 1989).

[233] Ibid.

[234] O’Handley interview.

[235] Senior Administration Official interview via electronic-mail, 5 November 2003.

James Fisher and Andrew Lawler, “NASA, Space Council Split Over Moon-Mars Report,” Space News (11 December 1989), p. 10.

[237] On 4 December, Vice President Quayle sent a letter to Dr. Frank Press, Chairman of the National Research Council (NRC), officially requesting that his organization conduct a review of the 90-Day Study. Quayle requested that the NRC consider alternative approaches, or a range of options, for human exploration of the solar system. He included a list of questions that he hoped the NRC would address in its review, focusing on whether the 90-Day Study addressed the widest range of technically credible approaches for implementing SEI. The letter concluded by requesting that the NRC complete the review by the end of February 1990. [ Vice President Quayle to Dr. Frank Press, 4 December 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.]

[238] Albrecht interview.

[239] Malow interview.

87 Ibid.

[241] Kohashi interview.

65 Admiral Richard Truly to Richard G. Darman, 27 November 1989, Library of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Chief Financial Officer.

[243] National Aeronautics and Space Administration, “Budget Estimates: Fiscal Year 1991, Volume 1,” Library of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Chief Financial Officer.

[244] Albrecht interview.

[245] Schedule Proposal, Mark Albrecht to CeCe Kramer, 9 November 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Memorandum, Mark Albrecht, 30 November 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Andrew Lawler, “Panel: Rationale Missing for Moon-Mars Proposal,” Space News (11 December 1989); Brad Mitchell to Andy Card, 4 December 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[246] Ibid.

[247] Kathy Sawyer, “En Route to Space Goal, Groups Diverge: Friction Between NASA and Quayle s National Council Erupts in “Mars Wars,”’ The Washington Post (11 December 1989).

[248] James Fisher and Andrew Lawler, “NASA, Space Council Split Over Moon-Mars Report,” Space News (11 December 1989).

[249] Simon P. Worden to the National Space Council, “Strategic Planning for the Space Exploration Initiative: The How, What, and When?” 14 December 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[250] Courtney Stadd to Brad Mitchell, Ed McNally, and Joe Heizer, “Space Exploration Initiative,” 18 December 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[251] Vice President Quayle to Admiral Richard Truly 19 December 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

75 Press Release 89-185, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 21 December 1989, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; William J. Broad, “NASA Losing 30- Year Monopoly In Planning for Moon and Mars,” The New York Times (15 January 1990).

[253] Admiral Truly did not formally reply to the White House direction until 31 January 1990. In a letter to Vice President Quayle, he provided details of a process for soliciting outside strategic approaches for SEI implementation. This process would include the release of a NASA Research Announcement. The space agency would specifically seek inputs from professional societies (including the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics—AIAA) and other federal agencies. The plan also envisioned a national conference that would be jointly sponsored by NASA and AIAA. All of these efforts would be coordinated through a newly created Office of Aeronautics, Exploration, and Technology. [Admiral Richard Truly to Vice President Quayle, 31 January 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.]

[254]A few years later, NASA Administrator Dan Goldin, who would become the second administrator appointed by the Bush administration, made “faster, better, cheaper” the mantra of NASA. The concept emerged earlier, however, as the administration was trying to “infuse that kind of SDI mentality” into the SEI alternative generation process. [Albrecht interview]

[255] Talking Points, Meeting with Republican Members of House Science Committee, National Space Council, 22 January 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[256] White House Office of Management and Budget, “Budget of the United States of American, Fiscal Year 1991,” 29 January 1990, pp. 49-82.

[257] “NASA Budget Press Conference: Statement of Richard H. Truly, NASA Administrator,” NASA News (29 January 1990); John Noble Wilford, “Budget for the Space Agency Sets Broader Course in Exploration,” The New York Times (2 February 1990), p. 19.

[258] Ibid.

[259] Committee on Human Exploration of Space, Human Exploration of Space: A Review of NASA’s 90- Day Study and Alternatives (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1990); Press Release, National Research Council, 1 March 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[260] Ibid.

[261] Albrecht interview.

88 O’Handley interview.

[263] John Robert Greene, The Presidency of George Bush (Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 2000), pp. 89-106.

[264] Albrecht interview.

[265] Mark Albrecht to National Space Council, 16 January 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Mark Albrecht to National Space Council, 2 February 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[266] Presidential Decision on the Space Exploration Initiative, National Space Council, 21 February 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Press Release, The White House Office of the Press Secretary, 8 March 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; “Cold Water on Mars, The Economist (10 March 1990), pp. 94-95; “Bush Calls for Two Proposals for Missions to Moon, Mars,” Aviation Week and Space Technology (12 March 1990), pp. 18- 19; Memorandum, Mark Albrecht to Ed Rogers, 13 March 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[267] Albrecht interview.

[268] Malow interview.

[269] “Bush Seen Cooperating with Soviets on Moon-Mars Project,” Dow Jones News Service (18 January 1990).

[270] “International Cooperation in the President’s Space Exploration Initiative,” The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 30 March 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

5 William J. Broad, “Bush Open to Space Voyages with Soviet Union,” The New York Times (3 April 1990), sec. C2; Craig Covault, “White House Approves Soviet Talks on Moon/Mars Exploration Initiative,” Aviation Week & Space Technology (9 April 1990), p. 24; James R. Asker, “NRCWarns U. S. Against Joint Missions to Mars With Soviets,” Aviation Week & Space Technology (23 April 1990).

[272] House of Representatives, Committee on Appropriations, “Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations for 1991,” in Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives, One Htmdred First Congress, Second Session: Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies—Part IV: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1990), pp. 50-57; pp. 136-143.

[273] Andrew Lawler, “Space Summit Set for May: Bush, Quayle Invite Members of Congress to Talk Space,” Space News (23 April 1990), p. 1.

[274] Mark Albrecht to Fred Mcclure, 16 April 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Jim Cicconi to President Bush, 30 April 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[275] In 1986, Senator Matsunaga wrote The Mars Project, Journey Beyond the Cold War, an unabashed call for a wide-variety of joint space missions with the Soviet Union and other nations. Matsunaga was one of the U. S. Senate’s most outspoken proponents of outer space development.

[276] The congressional participants included: Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS), Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), Senator Mark Hatfield (R-OR), Senator John Danforth (R-MO), Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Senator Jake Garn (R-UT), Senator Howell Heflin (D-AL), House Speaker Thomas Foley (D-WA), House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO), House Minority Whip Newt Gingrich (R-GA), Representative Silvio Conte (R-MA), Representative Robert Traxler (D-MI), Representative Bill Green (R-NY), Representative Robert Roe (D-NJ), and Representative Robert Walker (R-PA).

[277] The White House participants included: Chief of Staff John Sununu, National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Chief of Staff Andrew Card, Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Cicconi, Communications Director David Demarest, Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater, NSC Executive Secretary Mark Albrecht, and Chief of Staff to the Vice President Bill Kristol.

[278] Talking Points for the President, Congressional Leadership Meeting on Space, 27 April 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[279] Ibid.; Albrecht interview.

[280] Senior Congressional Aide interview via electronic mail, Washington, DC, 15 December 2004.

[281] Albrecht interview.

[282] Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, 11 May 1990, Remarks at the Texas Acrl University Commencement Ceremony in Kingsville, Texas, http://bushlibrary. tamu. edu/papers/ (accessed 2 January 2003).

[283] Janet Cawley, “Bush Goal: Man on Mars by 2020,” The Chicago Tribune (12 May 1990); James Gerstenzang, “Bush Sets 2019 for Mars Landing,” The Philadelphia Inquirer (12 May 1990).

[284] John Noble Wilford, “Bush Sets Target For Mars Landing: He Seeks to Send Astronauts to Planet by Year 2020,” The New York Times (12 May 1990).

[285] Kathy Sawyer, “Bush Urges Mars Landing By 2019: Democrats Point to Money Problems,” The Washington Post (12 May 1990).

[286] Malow interview.

[287] O’Handley interview.

[288] Editorial Board, “Empty Rhetoric Fuels Mars Talk,” The Statesman Journal (16 May 1990).

[289] Нешу Gay, “Reaching For Stars, Er, Mars,” The Seattle Post-Intelligencer (24 May 1990), sec. A15.

[290] Maria S. Barth to President George Bush, 24 May 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[291] Mark Albrecht to Vice President Dan Quayle, “Meeting with Lt. General Tom Stafford,” 31 May 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Fact Sheet, “Space

Exploration Initiative Outreach Program,” National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 31 May 1990, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Historical Archives; “Chronology of the President’s Space Exploration Initiative,” National Space Council, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[292] J – Sebastian Sinisi, “Forum Delegates Confident,” Denver Post (11 June 1990), sec.4B.

[293] James Gerstenzang, “Bush Denounces NASA Fund Cuts,” The Los Angeles Times (21 June 1990),

p. 28.

[294] Briefing, “White House Briefings on the Space Exploration Initiative,” 8 May 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Charles Bacarisse and Sihan Siv to Fred McClure, “Briefing for Key Congressional Staff on NASA’s Space Exploration Initiative,” 10 May 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Charles Bacarisse to Bob Grady, “Briefings for Key Constituent Groups on the Space Exploration Initiative,” 5 June 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Charles Bacarisse and Sichan Siv to Cece Kramer, 23 May 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[295] “Tour of Hubble Space Telescope Orbital Verification Engineering Control Center,” Ede Holiday, 20 June 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[296] Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, 20 June 1990, The President’s News Conference in Huntsville, Alabama, http://bushlibrary. tamu. edu/papers/ (accessed 2 January 2003).

– Mark Albrecht to Jim Cicconi, “Background Materials, June 20 Marshall Space Flight Center Event,” 19 June 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

>b Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, 20 June 1990, Remarks to Employees of the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, http://bushlibrary. tamu. edu /papers/ (accessed 2 January 2003).

[299] Earlier in the week, Roll Call had dedicated an entire issue to the space program, with opposing views expressed on SEI from Senator Jake Garn (pro) and Senator AI Gore (con).

[300] A radio actuality is a group of sound bites sent out to radio stations to be used in news reports.

35 “Moon/Mars Initiative,” 19 June 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[302] O’Handley interview.

[303] Warren E. Leary, “Hubble Telescope Loses Large Part of Optical Ability: Most Complex

Instrument in Space is Crippled by Flaw in a Mirror,” The New York Times (27 June 1990), sec. Al; Bob Davis, “NASA Finds Hubble Mirror is Defective,” The Wall Street Journal (28 June 1990).

[304] Joyce Price, “Chief Calls NASA Funding ‘Crucial for U. S. Survival,” The Washington Times (3 July 1990).

[305] John Burgess, “Can U. S. Get Things Right Anymore? Hubble Telescope, Space Shuttle Problems Raise Questions About American Technology,” The Washington Post (3 July 1990).

[306] Malow interview.

[307] U. S. House of Representatives, 101st Congress, 2d sess., “Report 101-556: Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill, 1991,” 26 June 1990; U. S. House of Representatives, 101st Congress, 2d sess., “H. R. 5158,” 26 June 1990.

[308] Dan Morgan, “Panel Boosts NASA Funds 17 Percent: Moon-Mars Mission Cut $300 Million, Higher-Priority Items Backed,” The Washington Post (27 June 1990), sec. AA.

[309] James W. Brosnan, “Senate Panel Cuts Funds for Mars Trip From NASA Budget,” The Commercial Appeal (28 June 1990), sec. A12.

[310] Albrecht interview.

[311] Quayle, Standing Firm, p. 184.

[312] Mark Albrecht to Vice President Quayle, “Meeting on Air Force II with Space Experts”, 10 July 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Mark Albrecht to Vice President Quayle, 13 July 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Press Release, The White House, Office of the Vice President, 16 July 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; “White House Considers Inquiry Into NASA: Spokesman Says Panel May Redirect Agency,” The Washington Post (15 July 1990); Press Release, The White House, Office of the Vice President, 25 July 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Mark Albrecht to Arnold Kanter, 25 July 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[313] U. S. Senate, 101st Congress, 2d sess., “Report 101-474: Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill, 1991,” 26 September 1990; David Rogers, “Senate Panel Cuts Most New Funding for NASA Project,” The Wall Street Journal (14 September 1990), sec. A16; Helen Dewar, “Budget Vote Disappoints Space Backers,” The Washington Post (26 September 1990), sec. A10.

[314] U. S. House of Representatives, 101st Congress, 2d sess., “Report 101-900: Making Appropriations for the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and for Sundry Independent Agencies, Commissions, Corporations, and Offices for Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 1991, and for Other Purposes,” 18 October 1990.

[315] Ibid.; ‘High Hopes Plunge Under an Onslaught of Budget Cuts,” The Associated Press (23 December 1990); Malow interview.

[316] Kohashi interview.

[317] U. S. Senate, 101st Congress, 2d sess., “Public Law 101-611,” 16 November 1990.

[318] David S. Broder and Bob Woodward, “When the Vice President is Chairman: Debating Direction of Space Programs,” The Washington Post (9 January 1992), sec. A16.

[319] Report of the Advisory Committee on the Future of the US. Space Program (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1990); Mark Albrecht to Vice President Quayle, 7 December 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[320] See note above.

[321] Talking Points, “Augustine Committee Press Conference,” 10 December 1990, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[322] Quayle, Standing Firm, pp. 185-186.

[323] Albrecht interview.

[324] Malow interview.

[325] Mark Carreau, “Panel Wants to Phase Out Space Shuttle: White House Backs Changes That Will Transform NASA,” The Houston Chronicle (11 December 1990), p. 1.

[326] Robert C. Cowen, “Manned Space Programs Ger Message: Throttle Back,” Christian Science Monitor (19 December 1990), p. 1.

[327] America at the Threshold: America’s Space Exploration Initiative, Report of the Synthesis Group on Americans Space Exploration Initiative,” May 1991; David S. E Portree, Romance to Reality: Moon and Man Plans, available from members. aol. com/dsportreeVHl l. htm (accessed 10 February 2003).

[328] Warren E. Leary, “Panel Says Much Research is Needed Now to Reach Mars by 2014,” The New York Times (12 June 1991), p. 25; Kathy Sawyer, “Build Nuclear-Powered Rocket for Mars Mission, Panel Urges; Experts’ Report Offers NASA ‘New Approaches,’” The Washington Post (12 June 1991), sec. A2; Edwin Chen, “U. S. Mars Visit by 2014, Station on Moon Urged: Presidential Panel Unveils a Controversial Program that Includes Nuclear-Powered Rockets,” The Los Angeles Times (12 June 1991), p. 1; Paul Hoversten, “Panel Proposes Paths to Moon, Mars,” Gannet News Service (11 June 1991).

[329] Bryan Burrough, Dragonfly: NASA and the Crisis Aboard Mir (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998), pp. 239-243.

[330] Ibid.

6? Richard H. Truly to President George Bush, 10 February 1992, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; President George Bush to Richard H. Truly, 12 February 1992, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library; Kathy Sawyer, “Truly Fired as NASA Chief, Apparently at Quayle Behest: Ex-Astronaut Feuded With Space Council,” The Washington Post (13 February 1992), sec. Al; William J. Broad, “NASA Chief Quits in Policy Conflict,” The New York Times (13 February 1992), sec. Al; Craig Covault, “White House to Restructure Space Program: Truly Fired,” Aviation Week & Space Technology (17 February 1992), p. 18.

[332] Burrough, Dragonfly: NASA and the Crisis Aboard Mir, pp. 243-245; W. Henry Lambright, Transforming Government: Dan Goldin and the Remaking of NASA (Arlington, VA: PriceWaterhouseCoopers Endowment for the Business of Government, 2001), pp. 14-15; Albrecht interview.

[333] Ibid.

[334] Burrough, Dragonfly: NASA and the Crisis Aboard Mir, pp.243-245; Lambright, Transforming Government: Dan Goldin and the Remaking of NASA, pp. 14-15; Kathy Sawyer, “NASA Nominee Praised at Confirmation Hearing: Committee Members Warn Goldin About Likely Budgetary, Political Problems Ahead,” The Washington Post (28 March 1992), sec. A6; Ede Holiday to President George Bush, “Swearing-in Ceremony for NASA Administrator Dan S. Goldin”, 1 April 1992, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

[335] Lambright, Transforming Government: Dan Goldin and the Remaking of NASA, p. 17.

[336] Panetta had been trying to cancel the station program for years while serving in the House of Representatives.

[337] Burrough, Dragonfly: NASA and the Crisis Aboard Miry pp. 262-264.

[338] Ibid.

[339] Lambright, Transforming Government: Dan Goldin and the Remaking of NASA, p. 20.

[340] The White House, National Science and Technology Council, “Fact Sheet: National Space Policy,” 19 September 1996; Brian McGrory, “Clinton Curbs Mars Project: Drops Manned Mission, Backs Robotic Probes,” The Boston Globe (20 September 1996), sec. A25; Kathy Sawyer, “White House Releasing New National Space Policy: Robots, Not Astronauts, May Travel to Mars,” The Washington Post (19 September 1996), sec. A29.

[341] Parsons, Public Policy, pp. 193-207.

[342] These interviews were conducted in an attempt to better understand policy making within two issues areas, health care policy and transportation policy.

[343] Kingdon, Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies, pp. 231-240.

[344] The New York Times Index was also used to provide supplemental data.

[345] Baumgartner and Jones, Agendas and Instability in American Politics, pp – 253-259-

? Polls are designed to provide interested parties with information estimating how the mass public would respond to specific closed-ended options, such as “should the government fund human trips to Mars?” The fundamental principle of polling is that a sample population can represent the entire population if there is a sufficient sample size and the chosen methodology ensures a randomly selected sample. Opinion polls are utilized to measure: values, basic beliefs held by individuals that are relatively immune to change and perform a vital role in individuals’ lives and choices; opinions, judgments about current issues and policy alternatives; and attitudes, a category between values and opinions representing well thought out views utilized to evaluate new issues and alternatives. While polls measuring values and attitudes are useful because they provide information regarding long-term beliefs, the vast majority of polls relevant to policy makers assess opinions regarding contemporary policy issues. [Mathew Mendelsohn and Jason Brent, “Understanding Polling Methodology,” ISUMA (Autumn 2001): pp. 131-136.]

[347] Baumgartner and Jones found that the new CD-ROM format of the CIS annual permitted for efficient searches of policy issues—primarily because hearings are cross-referenced, reducing the possibility of double counting specific hearings, and streamlined selection of keywords. The dataset that was produced included a wide variety of information including the year of the hearing, the committee holding the hearing, and a summary of the topics discussed.

[348] Bryan Jones, John Wilkerson, and Frank Baumgartner, “Policy Agendas Project,” Center for American Politics and Public Policy, available from depts. washington. edu/ampol/navresearch/ agendasproject. shtml; (accessed 18 December 2001.)

[349] In 1957, the Public Papers series was created to provide an official compilation of Presidential letters, addresses, speeches, proclamations, executive orders, and other publicly issued materials. Volumes dealing with the Hoover, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations are incorporated into the series. In addition, the Clinton papers are now available online and there are plans to expand online coverage to include all presidential papers. The information included in the Public Papers is indexed in two ways: by subject and by name. The index entry for each subject contains a word or phrase that identifies the topic and one or more page numbers.

[350] Measured by tabulating the number of space-related addresses and speeches delivered (and catalogued in the Public Papers of the President series) by the president in a given year.

[351] Measured by tabulating the number of space-related Congressional hearings held (and catalogued by the Congressional Information Service) in a given year.

[352] This database also included a few studies conducted by national commissions (e. g. National Commission on Space), academic institutions, and interest groups.

[353] Portree’s goals for the Romance to Reality site were fourfold: to educate interested parties about the challenges and opportunities of exploring the Moon and Mars; to make the ideas of engineers and scientists widely available to the mass public; to provide an exciting glimpse of possible futures by looking into the past; and to foster the construction of a future that includes human activity on both the moon and Mars.

[354] Since this analysis was conducted, Portree has changed the format of the Romance to Reality: Moon and Mars Plans website. Thus, my results are based on data taken from the website as it existed in March 2002.

[355] President Reagan’s 1984 State of the Union, where he announced his decision to approve the Space Station Program, was the clear exception.

[356] On 14 January 2004, President George W. Bush proposed a long-range plan for the American space program that included phasing out the aging Space Shuttle, redefining a partially constructed Space Station, and developing a crew exploration vehicle to return humans permanently to the Moon.

[357] Malow interview.

[358] W. Henry Lambright, Transforming Government: Dan Goldin and the Remaking of NASA (Arlington, VA: Price WaterhouseCoopers, 2001), p. 11.

The Policy Stream and Punctuated Equilibrium Models

To make the case that the failure of SEI was not inevitable, this study employs two theoretical models to guide the narrative analysis of how the initiative reached the government agenda and what factors led to its ultimate demise. John Kingdon’s Policy Streams Model describes how problems come to the attention of policy makers, how agendas are set, how policy alternatives are generated, and why policy windows open.[3] This theory will be utilized to develop the story of SEI’s rise and fall, and will more specifically be used to assess who the important actors are within the space policy community. Frank Baumgartner and Bryan Jones’s Punctuated Equilibrium Model depicts the policy process as comprising long periods of stability, which are interrupted by predictable periods of instability that lead to major policy changes.[4] This model will be utilized to provide a better understanding of the larger trends that led to SEI s promotion to the government agenda and may explain its eventual downfall.[5] These two models contributed a number of descriptive statistics that were used to develop a collection of lessons learned from the SEI experience.

In 1972, Michael Cohen, James March, and Johan Olsen introduced Garbage Can Theory in an article describing what they called “organized anarchies.” The authors emphasized the chaotic character of organizations as loose collections of ideas as opposed to rational, coherent structures. They found that each, organized anarchy was composed of four separate process streams: problems, solutions, partici­pants, and choice opportunities. They concluded that organizations are “a collection of choices looking for problems, issues and feelings looking for decision situations in which they might be aired, solutions looking for issues to which they might be the answer, and decision makers looking for work.” Finally, a choice opportunity was:

…a garbage can into which various kinds of problems and solutions are dumped by participants as they are generated. The mix of garbage in a single can depends on the mix of cans available, on the labels attached to the alternative cans, on what garbage is currently being produced, and on the speed with which garbage is collected and removed from the scene.

Therefore, the three found that policy outcomes are the result of the garbage avail­able and the process chosen to sift through that garbage.[6]

In his classic tome Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies, John Kingdon applies the garbage can model to develop a framework for understanding the policy pro­cess within the federal government. He found that there were three major process streams in federal policy making: problem recognition; the formation and refine­ment of policy proposals; and politics. Kingdon concludes that these three pro­cess streams operate largely independent from one another. Within the first stream, various problems come to capture the attention of people in and around govern­ment. Within the second stream, a policy community of specialists concentrates on generating policy alternatives that may offer a solution to a given problem. Within the third stream, phenomena such as changes in administration, shifts in partisan or ideological distributions in Congress, and focusing events impact the selection of different policy alternatives. Kingdon argues that the key to gaining successful policy outcomes within this “organized anarchy” is to seize upon policy windows that offer an opportunity for pushing one’s proposals onto the policy agenda. Taking advantage of these policy windows requires that a policy entrepreneur expend the political capital necessary to join the three process streams at the appropriate time.[7] Kingdon’s model provided a useful structure for assessing the role of the policy community in placing SEI on the government agenda and formulating alternatives to solve a perceived problem—a lack of strategic direction within the American space program. Furthermore, it provided benchmarks that were used to evaluate the flawed policy making process for the initiative. In particular, it provided an analytic tool for understanding why Vice President Quayle and Mark Albrecht were not able to successfully join the three process streams when a policy window opened for human exploration beyond Earth orbit.

In Agendas and Instability in American Politics, Frank Baumgartner and Bryan Jones introduce a punctuated equilibrium model of policy change in American politics, based on the emergence and recession of policy issues on the government agenda. This theory suggests that the policy process has long periods of equilibrium, which are periodically disrupted by some instability that results in dramatic policy change. Baumgartner and Jones describe “a political system that displays consider­able stability with regard to the manner in which it processes issues, but the stability is punctuated with periods of volatile change.” Within this system, they contend, the mass public is limited in its ability to process information and remain focused on any one issue. As a result, policy subsystems are created so that scores of agenda items can be processed simultaneously. Only in times of unique crisis and instability do issues rise to the top of the government agenda to be dealt with independently. At a fundamental level, the punctuated equilibrium model seeks to explain why the policy process is largely incremental and conservative, but is also subject to periods of radical change.[8]

Baumgartner and Jones argue that to understand the complexities of the policy making process, one must study specific policy problems over extended periods of time. To comprehend the policy dynamics of an issue, one must develop indicators that explain how the issue is understood. They introduce a new approach to policy research that attempts to meld the policy typology literature and the agenda status literature—the former based on cross-sectional comparisons of multiple public policy issues, the latter focused on longitudinal studies of a single issue over time. The new approach concentrates on the long-term trends related to interest in, and discussion of, important policy questions. In particular, they are interested in two related concepts, whether an issue is on the agenda of a given institution (venue access) and whether the tone of activity within that institution is positive or nega­tive (policy image).[9] The two utilize an eclectic group of measures to gauge venue access and policy image. Baumgartner and Jones’s model provided a useful method for understanding where SEI fits within the history of the American space program. More importantly, it provided a means to evaluate whether long-term space policy trends predetermined the initiative’s failed outcome.

The Policy Stream: The Ad Hoc Working Group

In the six weeks following the creation of the Space Council, as the administra­tion was concentrating on other more pressing policy matters, no major actions were taken with regard to the future course of the space program. By the end of May, however, there was a flurry of activity to generate a policy initiative in prepara­tion for the Apollo 11 anniversary. On 25 May, Mark Albrecht called Admiral Truly to ask whether NASA could return to the Moon by the end of the century—in preparation for a Mars mission early in the next century. Albrecht was stunned by Truly’s response. “His first reaction was ‘don’t do it.’ NASA cannot handle this.” The NASA Administrator was unsure whether this request was simply Albrecht playing ‘what if’ games, or whether this was a serious proposition. As a result, he called Vice President Quayle, who confirmed that both he and President Bush wanted to know whether this was something NASA could accomplish. After consulting with Frank Martin, Director of NASA’s Office of Exploration, Truly concluded that there was [127] [128]

no way he could rebuff a presidential initiative. Albrecht recalled later “his initial impulse turned out to be quite revealing, because in the end, NASA couldn’t handle it.”[129] What is equally revealing, however, is the fact that nobody at the White House reconsidered the wisdom of announcing a new initiative given the agency’s reluc­tance.

After this interaction, the Space Council staff concluded that it needed to get a better sense of the correct technical approach to get back to the Moon on a per­manent basis and then on to Mars. To this end, Mark Albrecht set up a meeting for the end of the month with senior NASA leaders to discuss alternatives. On 31 May, Truly and Martin met to discuss a potential initiative. A few years later Martin recalled the discussion:

The nature of that conversation …was that going to the Moon [was] not the right answer. We have been to the Moon. If we are going to go to the Moon, we need to go back to stay. In the process of doing that, if you announce that you are going to go to the Moon and then go to Mars with humans, you had better be prepared to send robots along in the process.

Although he had signaled to Albrecht just days before that announcing any initia­tive at all was unwise, Admiral Truly was now supporting a much more aggressive (not to mention expensive) long-term exploration strategy. Later in the day, Truly, Martin, NASA Deputy Administrator J. R. Thompson, and former NASA Associate Deputy Administrator Philip Culbertson met with Albrecht to discuss proposals for a potential initiative. At this meeting, Truly told Albrecht that he “believed that the real program was Earth, Moon, and Mars as a total program strategy with both man and machines working together. It is that program that I think we need to proceed with.” Albrecht did not challenge the addition of Mars exploration to the initiative, even though his original inquiry had been limited to Moon exploration. By the end of the meeting, he had tasked NASA with preparing options and recommendations for a presidential decision to take advantage of the unique opportunity of July 20th and to achieve significant milestones by the end of the century.[130] Albrecht did not specifically ask NASA to consider the fiscal repercussions of a Moon-Mars initiative, although Admiral Truly made it clear this was not going to be cheap.[131]

With official direction from the White House, Admiral Truly moved quickly to establish a working group to pull together the alternatives for a Moon-Mars initia­tive. He immediately called NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) Director Aaron Cohen and asked him to gather a group of experts to compile program concepts. Truly asked Cohen to keep this activity confidential in order to keep the space agen­cy’s efforts a secret. From a technical and programmatic perspective, Dr. Cohen was an excellent choice to lead this policy alternative generation process. He had joined the space program in 1962, serving as program manager for Project Apollo’s Com­mand and Service Module and the Space Shuttle Orbiter Project. Given his rich background with the human exploration program, Cohen was the logical choice to lead this effort. Furthermore, he was very enthusiastic about the initiative and believed it was a good thing for the entire country. He believed from the start, how­ever, that considerable monetary resources would be required to successfully imple­ment the program—not to mention a long-term commitment from the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the American public.[132]

Cohen assembled a small team that included Frank Martin, John Aaron, Mark Craig, Charles Darwin, Mike Duke, and Darrell Branscome—this became known as the Ad Hoc Working Group (AHWG).[133] On 4 June, just six weeks before the president was to deliver his address, the AHWG assembled at Johnson Space Center. Mark Craig, Director of the Lunar and Mars Exploration Office at JSC, remem­bered that because “Admiral Truly wanted to keep this extremely secret, for obvious reasons… Aaron Cohen found a building in the back lot of JSC that… was secure. So we set up headquarters back there. It already had computers in it. It was ready to move in. It was locked. So we basically set that up as our center of operations.” The goal of the team was to pour over the available information from the National Commission on Space, Ride Report, and Office of Exploration. Within two weeks, the AHWG was to develop a set of briefing charts that scoped out, in terms of cost and schedule, what would be required to return humans to the Moon by the year 2000. Frank Martin recalled that there was no effort to make it cheap, although there was some discussion about the feasibility of the initiative in the current politi­cal environment. Admiral Truly actually expressed his opinion that it was more important to “Do it right. Make sure we can do this. Make sure we understand the scope and magnitude of this program.”[134] This necessarily meant that the AHWG would not provide alternatives with different budget profiles, although Mark Albre-

cht had implicitly asked for multiple options. Instead, it would provide the Space Council with what it believed to be the right answer—regardless of cost. Although this didn’t cause considerable friction at this early point in the process, this agency approach would eventually lead to an increasingly bitter relationship with Vice Pres­ident Quayle and the Space Council staff.

The AHWG split up its work to create a long-term exploration strategy—Mark Craig led the technical analysis, John Aaron led the cost analysis, Darrel Branscome led the future planning analysis, Charles Darwin led the space transportation analy­sis, and Mike Duke led the science analysis. The vast majority of the work was done under Mark Craig’s leadership, utilizing his staff within the Lunar and Mars Explo­ration Office. The AHWG met as a consulting body, working to shape the various inputs from these engineers into a briefing for the White House.[135] There was some concern within the agency regarding the planning monopoly that had emerged. Douglas O’Handley, the Deputy Director of the Office of Exploration and a veteran of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, remembered that the AHWG was a closed group composed almost exclusively of engineers from JSC. There was no effort to involve other NASA centers in this initial planning process. The envi­ronment within the agency during this period lacked the collegiality that had been experienced under the leadership of the Office of Exploration as agency-wide reports like “Beyond Earth Boundaries” were being drafted. O’Handley recalled that as the AHWG developed its plans, the JSC team clearly wanted as little JPL involvement as was possible. He became increasingly concerned as the planning moved forward because he felt “there was clearly a naivete about the impact of life sciences on the whole initiative. From my background, I was beginning to see holes in the fabric and things that JSC didn’t know much about falling to the side.”[136]

On 13 June, Mark Craig presented the AHWG program concept to Admiral Truly and Associate Administrator for Spaceflight Bill Lenoir at a secret meeting held in Washington, DC. The briefing, entitled “A Scenario for Human Explora­tion of the Moon and Mars,” proposed an approach that would start out with lunar activity and robotic missions—which would be precursors to Mars exploration. The AHWG approach required a sharp jump in the agency’s yearly appropriation, with stable annual investments for the life of the initiative. It was believed that after successfully establishing a lunar base and completing robotic precursor missions, a funding wedge would open providing the resources for Mars exploration.[137] The plan called for three phases of lunar development: emplacement, consolidation, and utilization. During the emplacement phase, extending from 2000 to 2004, a lunar station consisting of a base camp and science outpost would be assembled to house a crew of four on six-month tours of duty. It was expected that this initial capability could be accomplished with only six Shuttle-Cargo (Shuttle-C)[138] launches and a single crewed Shuttle launch. During the consolidation phase, extending from 2003 to 2006, a constructible habitat would be added to the lunar base—raising the crew size to eight and lengthening tours of duty to one year. During the utilization phase, extending from 2006 to 2017, a lunar oxygen production capability would increase crew size to 12 and lengthen tours of duty to three years—providing the capacity for significant scientific work and certification of Mars exploration hardware. As astro­nauts constructed and prepared the lunar station to be operational, NASA would begin robotic precursor missions to the red planet. These missions would conduct high-resolution imaging of the planetary surface, long-range surface roving, and return samples to scientists on Earth. The AHWG believed that crewed missions to Mars could begin in the 2015 timeframe, with a crew of four reaching the planet (after a Venus flyby) for a 100-day nominal stay in the Mars system—50 days on the surface. The intent was that successive missions would reach the Martian system faster, with longer surface stays up to two years for crews of five.[139]

The AHWG scenario was founded on a number of fundamental ideas regarding available technologies and infrastructure. First, the entire approach was based upon the assumption that Space Station Freedom (SSF) would be utilized as the hub for assembly work to construct lunar and Martian transfer vehicles. This required that a Shuttle-C be developed, capable of launching 68 metric-ton payloads into Earth orbit. Second, the strategy would eventually require reusable lunar transfer vehicles (LTV) and lunar excursion vehicles (LEV)—capable of conducting five missions without major maintenance before mandatory replacement. The LTV would utilize aero-braking technology for return to SSF, and a lunar fuel production capability would be initiated for LEV return to lunar orbit. Third, Mars exploration spacecraft would depart from Earth orbit after being assembled by astronauts stationed at SSF.

Fourth, production of liquid oxygen (LOX) on the lunar surface would be required to open a significant cost wedge for Mars exploration. Douglas O’Handley remem­bers that at this point the budget estimates for the entire program ranged from a low of $85 billion to a high of $365 billion. The $85 billion estimate included a lot of risk, while $365 billion incorporated significant redundancy to reduce risk. It was felt within the agency that “these costs, compared to the defense budget for one year, seemed reasonable for a 20 to 30 year endeavor.”[140] Although Bill Lenoir raised concerns regarding the necessary acceleration of space station construction to meet the objectives of the AHWG plan, the briefing was generally well received. No one expressed trepidation regarding the adoption of a program that would require a significant increase in the NASA budget, at a time when the federal government was in the midst of a serious fiscal crisis. Likewise, senior agency leaders did not question the complex and costly three-phase AHWG approach.

Two days later, the AHWG presented its proposal to Mark Albrecht. Mark Craig, who had never met Albrecht before, remembered being impressed with him. “The meeting…opened up with a monologue on why this was important and the problems that civilian space had had and was having, and that this was a way to fix them. I thought he was right on the money, having come from [the Space Station program, which] was suffering from a lack of definition of a strategic horizon.” The briefing highlighted the AHWG approach, which was: lunar base, robotic explora­tion of Mars, and human exploration of Mars. It also included links to Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE), which Albrecht requested be removed from the briefing because he feared it would muddle the Moon-Mars focus. Later in the day, Admiral Truly, Frank Martin, Craig, and J. R. Thompson traveled across town to brief Vice President Quayle in his office in the Old Executive Office Building.[141] Frank Martin recalled later that Admiral Truly introduced the briefing by stating that Mars was “the long-term goal. It wasn’t a program to go to Mars. It was a program to expand human presence [and] he talked about why it was important to do that.” After Tru – ly’s introduction, Martin presented the primary elements of the AHWG approach. He was forthright with regard to the estimated cost of the exploration program, which had risen to $400 billion. This revised budget number was partially driven by an Administration request that crew safety be placed at 99-9999%, which meant that the probability of an accident occurring that resulted in a loss of crew was once every million flights. This high level of safety led to additional cost.[142] The AHWG plan would require increasing the space agency’s budget by 10% annually until it

reached $25 to $30 billion—doubling the current appropriation.[143] Truly concluded the briefing by saying that NASA could not fulfill this mission without an increased budget that would provide the resources to hire essential personnel and construct new facilities. Frank Martin later remembered that:

[Quayle] was very interested. He was very friendly. He was wide-eyed and enthusiastic about it. He asked the kinds of questions you might expect to be asked from someone who is a non-technical type…the message I came away from that briefing at the White House [with] was the fact that for the first time in 20 years, somebody in the White House gave a damn about the Moon and Mars. That was what was very profound about it. He was willing to take the time and the effort to try to make something happen.

Overall, the NASA participants left the meeting with a very positive feeling that both Quayle and Albrecht would be willing to fight the necessary battles to make the exploration program work.[144]

The following day, Admiral Truly returned to the White House to meet with Chief of Staff John Sununu. Himself an engineer, Sununu moved through the brief­ing materials very quickly before signaling his support for the initiative. He told Truly that “investing in these kinds of things was good for the country and that he didn’t care who made the content of the program. It was the fact that they were doing it that was important.”[145] He said that he would leave the details to NASA, but that it wasn’t feasible for the space agency to get a further f 0% increase in the FY 1990 budget request. At the end of the meeting, Sununu made three requests. First, he wanted NASA to modify the program so that no money was required for the upcoming fiscal year. Second, he wanted the plan to be revised to present the President with options—not just lunar outpost, robotic Mars exploration, and Martian outpost. Many within NASA, most notably those outside JSC, thought that asking for additional alternatives “was absolutely the right thing to request.”[146] Finally, before the President made his speech, Sununu wanted the benefit of having others outside NASA review the proposed exploration program.[147]

Over the course of several weeks, Truly, Martin, Craig, and Darrell Branscome worked to refine the NASA proposal. They developed three different options for President Bush to consider:

• Lunar Outpost, then to Mars (NASA’s recommended approach)

– First crewed lunar landing in 2001 (crew of four, 30-day surface stay)

– Expansion to 8 crew capacity by 2005

– Expansion to 12 crew capacity by 2009 (1-year surface stay)

– First crewed Martian landing in 2016

• Direct to Mars

– First crewed Martian landing in 2008 (crew of four, 30-day surface stay)

– Expansion to 8 crew capacity by 2014

– Expansion to 12 crew capacity by 2018 (180-day surface stay)

• Robots Only

Due to the fact they could not expect any funding in FY 1990, the agency slipped the deadlines one year—so the Moon landing would not occur until 2001. Interest­ingly, based on NASA’s analysis, the Direct to Mars option did not entail a signifi­cant cost reduction. This option would still require the NASA budget to increase to nearly $30 billion annually, with a peak of over $35 billion during the late 1990s. As one chart in the final briefing indicated, this would represent a larger federal invest­ment (in real dollar terms) than Project Apollo and would raise the NASA share of the federal budget to 2.2%.[148] The agency did not provide any human exploration options that had significantly cheaper cost profiles.

Why Mars?

Any discussion of human exploration of Mars must begin with a description of the reasons why this planetary destination has continually reemerged during the post-Apollo period as the “next logical step” for the American space program. Understanding the deep-rooted human interest in Mars provides some insight into the space program’s recurring focus on it as an objective for both robotic and human missions. Crewed Mars exploration has been seriously considered three times during the past 35 years, but our fascination with the red planet began a great deal earlier. For thousands of years, the human race has been drawn to Mars—our celestial neighbor fuels the imagination unlike any other planet in the solar system. Ancient humans examined the red planet as they attempted to unlock the mystery of the heavens. To primitive humans, the fourth planet from the sun was nothing more then a reddish point of light dancing across the night sky. Early civilizations gave it many names: the Egyptians called it Har decher (the Red One), the Babylonians named it Nergal (the Star of Death), the Greeks designated it Ares and the Romans called it Mars (both representing the God of War). While the early Babylonians made extensive astronomical observations, it was the Greeks that first categorized Ares as one of five wandering “planets” among the fixed stars (the others being Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn). Greek astronomers observed that Ares did not always move from east to west, but sometimes moved in the opposite direc­tion. Due to the existing belief that the Earth was the center of the universe, this astronomical oddity would baffle sky watchers for centuries to come. By 250 B. C., Aristarchus of Samos had developed a complete heliocentric system that viewed Earth as an ordinary planet circling the sun once every year. This theory held the key to understanding the unusual movements of Ares. Later Greek and Roman astronomers did not follow Aristarchus’s lead, however, choosing to hold onto the geocentric system. Claudius Ptolemy made the greatest elaboration of this system during the second century A. D.—his geocentric model remained the predominant astronomical theory for more than a millennium.[10] [11]

Seventeen hundred years after Aristarchus first developed it, a Polish canon named Nicolaus Copernicus reintroduced the heliocentric model. Like Aristarchus, however, Copernicus could not exactly predict the motions of the planets using simple circular orbits. As a result, his contemporaries largely ignored his theories. While Copernicus had been primarily a theoretician, it would take two dedicated observational astronomers to discover the true movements of the planets—their names were Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler. Starting in 1576, Tycho spent 20 years studying the motions of the stars and planets, including Mars. In 1600, Kepler joined him and began examining the apparent retrograde motion of Mars. When Tycho died the next year, Kepler was appointed to succeed him as Imperial Math­ematician to the Holy Roman Emperor (although he was Lutheran).11

Using Tychos scrupulous observations, Kepler went to work trying to explain Mars’ apparent backward motion. Kepler argued that the planets revolved around the sun, but at different distances and therefore different speeds. While Earth orbited the sun in 365 days, it took Mars 687 days. Thus, the retrograde movement of Mars could be explained because the Earth was overtaking the slower-moving Mars. To an observer on Earth, it would appear that Mars was slowing down and then reversing course. Kepler proved, however, that this was simply an illusion. In 1609, Kepler published On the Motion of Mars, which expounded his first two laws of planetary motion—stating that planetary orbits about the Sun were elliptical (as opposed to circular as Aristarchus and Copernicus had assumed) and that a planets speed increases as it approaches the sun and decreases proportionally as it moves farther away. As a result of Tycho and Keplers observations and theories, the heliocentric system finally overcame Ptolemy’s geocentric model.[12]

In 1609, the same year that Kepler published On the Motion of Mars, Galileo Galilei made the first celestial observations with a telescope. The next year, after making observations of the Moon, Jupiter, and Venus, Galileo turned his telescope toward Mars. Due to the use of a relatively crude instrument, Galileos observations of Mars where not particularly informative—other than to suggest that the planet was not a perfect sphere. In 1659, Dutch astronomer Christian Huygens, using a considerably more advanced telescope, was able to detect the first surface feature on Mars. The dark triangular area that he observed over a period of months, which is today called Syrtis Major, allowed him to conclude that Mars rotated on its axis like the Earth. Seven years later, in 1666, Italian astronomer Giovanni Cassini began a series of observations and discovered the planets white polar caps.[13]

In 1783, astronomer William Herschel, who two years earlier had discovered the planet Uranus, made a series of observations of Mars and found that the planet was tilted at an angle of almost 24 degrees on its axis of rotation. This finding showed that like Earth, Mars had seasons; however, considering that a Martian year is almost double that of Earth, its seasons are nearly twice as long. Herschel also confirmed the existence of Mars’s polar caps, and postulated correctly that they were composed of ice. Finally, Herschel found that the planet had “a considerable but moderate atmosphere.”[14]

The Political Stream: Briefing Key Actors

The revision process continued until just before Independence Day, after which the White House had arranged briefings for outside interest groups. For three days starting on 5 July, the Administration undertook a series of briefings to explain the Civil Space Exploration Initiative to four groups from outside the administration. The first group, which the White House labeled “Space Advocates,” was composed of influential members of the space policy community not affiliated with a par­ticular government agency or private sector company. This group included former Apollo 11 astronaut Mike Collins, Cal Tech professor Bruce Murray, former NASA Administrator Tom Paine, and President of the Planetary Society Louis Friedman.

The briefing, which was conducted in the Indian Treaty Room of the OEOB, was very well received. Mark Albrecht recalled that the group was “obviously excited about it, very enthusiastic.” Tom Paine, who had chaired the National Commis­sion on Space, was extremely supportive and stated that this was exactly the kind of strategic direction that the American space program needed. There were universal strong positive statements; the only thing that the advocates questioned was the appropriate balance between Moon and Mars exploration. Both Mike Collins and Bruce Murray had previously come out in favor of a direct to Mars approach, so they were a little uncomfortable with NASA’s recommendation to start with a return to the Moon. The rest of the group was largely in favor of NASA’s strategy.[149]

The second group was composed of representatives from the science community. Frank Martin later remembered that this group was very supportive, “they were enthusiastic about it more than I would have imagined. They [agreed that] this is the right thing. And doing [the] Moon and then Mars is the right way to do it. It was pretty universal.”[150] Surprisingly, no one from this group made a strong argument in favor of solely robotic exploration, perhaps sensing that Vice President Quayle was strongly in favor of the Moon-Mars approach. The third group was composed of chief executive officers from major U. S. corporations—many who were important NASA contractors. Mark Albrecht recalled that “industry was excited…but they were nervous about what [existing] programs could get cut to fund it. Anytime you hit the reset button in Washington, you find that everyone gets very nervous.” Mark Craig remembered this being the most disappointing of the meetings because the level of industry support was not as robust as had been anticipated. The general reaction was that if the government wanted to do this, and was willing to put up the funding, then industry would get on board.[151] Douglas O’Handley recalled that the CEO’s were concerned that the U. S. did not have the technical manpower to carry SEI off, despite the fact the administration believed the initiative would pro­mote science and engineering education.[152] As a result, there were no impassioned speeches arguing that this was exactly the kind of bold long-term plan that the aerospace industry and national economy needed. Craig stated later, “I felt the Vice President was…knocked on his heels. He tried to elicit some kind of emotion and response from these people.”[153]

The final group, made up of key Congressional staffers, was by far the most dynamic. Mark Albrecht contends that during the Reagan administration the House “Appropriations Committee and the Appropriations staffers essentially ran the space program because NASA got no direction or interest out of the White House.. .the vacuum was filled by the appropriators.” As a result, this was by far the most skeptical group—they were doubtful about the White House taking a renewed interest in space policy making and were not convinced that selecting an expensive new initiative was the best approach for providing the space program with direc­tion. Led by Richard Malow, this group was most concerned about the potential budgetary impact of such a large undertaking. Malow was the most powerful staffer on the House Appropriations Subcommittee that funded NASA. Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin had recently called him the space agency’s shadow admin­istrator’ because he had so much influence over national space policy.[154] Malow had been working on space policy issues since 1972, far longer than NASA’s senior lead­ership, and was well-known for pushing the space agency to emphasize affordable space science missions rather than expensive human exploration programs. In fact, a week earlier the Wall Street Journal had run a front-page article stating that while Malow “would love the U. S. to mount an expedition to the far side of the Moon and build a telescope there…such dreams are ‘moot’ because of the budget crunch. Instead…NASA [should] focus on more attainable goals.”[155]

At the White House briefing, Malow remembered his “…initial reaction was that maybe this is something that we ought to be doing, but I don’t think I jumped in and said ‘that’s the greatest idea in the world.’ And as I started to see the details of it, as they unfolded, I became concerned, especially given the budget situa­tion.”[156] The reactions of other staffers were much more animated. For example, Stephen Kohashi, an aide to Senator Jake Garn, asked the briefers, “have you lost your mind?”[157] Kohashi said later, “politics is the art of the possible, and so it is with budgetary politics. I recall being incredulous at the magnitude of the price tag [for] the proposed program…and feared that it would have no credibility or viability on Capitol Hill.”[158] In the end, no real champions emerged on the Congressional side. Instead, the meeting served to generate “a certain tension…between the Space

Council staff and the staffs of the various committees on the Hill.”[159] Malow recalled that one reason for this rising animus was the failure of the administration to con­sult with Congressional leaders as it was formulating a plan for the new human exploration program. Malow stated that such discussions would have led to “warn­ings about the overall budget situation, which is what we were concerned about. We may have tried to convince them that they needed to think it through a little bit more.”[160] Despite this unenthusiastic response from the Congressional staffers, who would ultimately have a great deal of influence regarding the actual adoption and implementation of SEI, the White House marched forward with its plans to announce the initiative.

Starting on 13 July, just a week before the president’s planned speech, Vice President Quayle and Admiral Truly began meeting with key members of Congress. These meetings were intended primarily to acquaint the legislators with the initia­tive before the President announced it nationally. That morning, the two briefed a group of Representatives and Senators with responsibility for space policy at a break­fast meeting. As with the Congressional staffers, the reactions were not wholly posi­tive. In particular, House Appropriation Committee Chair BobTraxler of Michigan wondered where the Administration was “coming from, we can’t afford this.. .we’ve got other things on our plate, outside NASA.”[161] A few days later, Quayle and Truly went to Capitol Hill to personally brief Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee overseeing NASA’s budget—who had been unable to attend the breakfast meeting. Frank Martin remembered later, “she was very supportive. She said “the budgets are going to be tight [but] I am glad the Administration is finally taking an interest in space.” One final briefing was given to Senator Ernest Hollings of South Carolina, chair of Commerce, Science & Technology committee—once again, the White House received support for the program.[162] Regardless of the general support that the administration received from Mikulski and Hollings, the clear skepticism ofTraxler was more important. As chair of the House appropriations committee, he would have enormous influence over the actual adoption of this program. Therefore, even before it was announced, SEI faced a huge uphill battle to gain backing from Congress. As Malow indicated, this was at least partially because the White House did not consult with Capitol Hill during the formulation of the new plan. More important, however, was the fact that there were no great supporters for implementing an expensive new program given the fiscal crisis facing the nation.

Joining the Streams:

Canals on Mars

In 1877, Mars came to a perihelic opposition just 35 million miles from Earth. That year Asaph Hall, director of the U. S. Naval Observatory, turned that institu­tion’s 26-inch refractor telescope toward the red planet in search of satellites. In August, he discovered two small moons orbiting Mars, which he named Phobos (fear) and Deimos (flight)—these were Mars’ attendants in Homers Iliad. Hall con­tinued his observations for several months, using the data he acquired to make an estimate of the mass of Mars. His calculation of 0.1076 times that of Earth proved to be quite accurate (the current accepted value being 0.1074).[15]

While the discovery of two Martian moons was a significant astronomical find­ing, it was not the only important study of the planet that year. In Italy, the director of the Milan Observatory, Virginio Schiaparelli, spent the summer observing Mars with a fairly small, 8-inch telescope. During his study, he saw what he believed to be faint linear markings on the planet. His maps of the planet showed dark areas seem­ingly connected by a large system of long, straight lines. Schiaparelli called these lines canali, which in Italian means “channels” or “grooves.” However, another meaning of the word is “canal,” which seemed to indicate that intelligent beings may have constructed a water transport system on Mars. Schiaparelli himself tried to caution against jumping to this conclusion, but his observations fired the public’s imagination. As a result, French astronomer Camille Flammarion was justified in stating “[Schiaparelli’s] observations have made Mars the most interesting point for us in the entire heavens.”[16]

Nearly two decades later, an American named Percival Lowell began his famed observations of Mars. A Lowell biographer wrote that “of all the men through his­tory who have posed questions and proposed answers about Mars, [he was] the most influential and by all odds the most controversial.”[17] An amateur astronomer with a gift for mathematics, Lowell plunged into the field aspiring to complete Schiaparel­li’s earlier work. Using an inherited fortune, he constructed the Lowell Observatory (which had 18-inch and 12-inch telescopes) in the Arizona mountains near Flag­staff. During the summer and fall of 1894, Lowell studied Mars every night with unbounded enthusiasm. His maps of the planet displayed 184 canals, twice as many as Schiaparelli had portrayed. As a result of his observations, he announced to the world that there were indeed canals on Mars constructed by intelligent beings. In 1895, he published Mars, within which he vividly described his theories regarding the Martian canals and their builders.[18]

During the coming years, Lowell continued his observations of Mars. With each subsequent opposition, he became increasingly convinced that intelligent beings lived on Mars and had built the canals. Lowell also postulated that the shrinking of the white polar caps and the expansion of darker regions (which he believed to be vegetation) during the Martian summer indicated seasonal renewal. Despite his grand pronouncements, most astronomers were not convinced that his theories had any merit. Their criticism of Lowell was bolstered by the fact that many other astronomers, including Edward Barnard, had studied Mars with far more powerful telescopes and found no evidence of canals. Barnard wrote “I see details where some of his canals are but they are not straight lines at all.” It is now believed that Lowell’s canals were simply optical illusions produced because the human eye attempts to arrange scattered spots into aline. Despite the eventual erosion of his theories, how­ever, there is little doubt that Lowell’s declarations about extraterrestrial Martian life led to greatly increased public interest in the red planet.[19]

Human Exploration of Mars Reaches the Government Agenda

As these events were unfolding in Washington, President Bush was in Europe on a 10-day trip that included an address before the Polish National Assembly, a meeting with Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, a meeting with Hungarian leaders, and attendance at a G-7 summit in France. While he was away, Bush had essentially delegated decision-making responsibility for the exploration initiative to Vice Presi­dent Quayle. Over the course of the previous month, Bush had discussed the devel­opment of the exploration initiative with Quayle at several of their weekly lunch meetings, but the president had essentially let his vice president make all the critical decisions with regard to the strategic plan. One important facet of their discussions was whether the Administration should set a target date of 2010 for completion of a Moon base and 2020 for an expedition to Mars. Although this debate continued up until the last moment, the two ultimately decided against specific deadlines because they feared it would adversely impact future budget deliberations. By early July, the President had fully committed to the program.[163]

On 14 July, Quayle chaired a meeting of the full Space Council to discuss the forthcoming announcement of the exploration initiative. Mark Albrecht recalled that “everyone lined up, thought it was a great idea and made a recommendation to the President that he go ahead and do this.” Thus, when Bush arrived back in Washington two days before the speech, everything was already in place for him to announce the new plan.[164] Vice President Quayle wrote in his memoirs that if the agenda setting process for SEI sounded like a. .somewhat ad hoc, improvisational way to think about going to Mars, you’re right. But what was important right then was to think big, to put a bit of ‘the vision thing’ back into the program, to get people excited about it once again, even if that meant getting ahead of ourselves.” Quayle believed the only thing that would enliven the American people was a res­toration of wonder in the idea of sending people to explore space, not just orbit around the Earth.[165]

Before the new initiative was officially announced, the 17 July 1989 edition of Aviation Week and Space Technology (AW&ST) broke the story that a secret White House review was considering a human lunar base and Mars initiative. The article opened by stating, “A sharp debate has been sparked within the Bush Administra­tion and Congress by Vice President Dan Quayle’s proposal that President Bush commit the U. S. this week to developing a manned lunar base as a stepping-stone to a manned flight to Mars. Under the proposal, the U. S. could build a lunar outpost by 2000-2010 and use the experience gained on the moon to develop that capability to mount a manned Mars mission by 2020.” The magazine reported that Quayle had been formulating the initiative in secret meetings with a group of NASA offi­cials, Mark Albrecht, and White House Chief of Staff John Sununu. Administration officials were quoted as saying that President Bush would not make a Kennedy-style call for reaching Mars within a specific timeframe, instead endorsing “the lunar base and manned Mars concepts as overall 21st century goals [and deferring] specific program and budget decisions on these goals until NASA completes a more inten­sive assessment of the mission options.” The magazine reported that NASA’s budget would have to double within a decade to pay for the initiative. This was at the same time that the House Appropriations Committee was planning on cutting NASA’s FY 1990 appropriation by more than $1 billion, including a 50% decrease in funding for technologies key to Mars exploration. While Vice President Quayle recognized that the federal government faced serious budgetary limitations, he was quoted as saying that “when we have tight budgets, there will be winners and losers, but I am convinced a winner will be space.” Craig Covault of AWdrST reported that NASA leaders saw a presidential endorsement as an opportunity to seek increased funding and begin serious mission planning. Overall, the article was uncannily accurate and set the stage for President Bush’s upcoming address.[166]

On Thursday, 20 July 1989, with the decision in favor of an aggressive program for human exploration of the Moon and Mars made, President Bush prepared to announce the initiative at the anniversary celebration of Apollo ll’s landing on the Moon twenty years earlier. At shortly before 10:00 a. m., President and Mrs. Bush, accompanied by Vice President and Mrs. Quayle, departed the White House for the short drive across the National Mall to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Upon their arrival at the museum, the group was escorted to the Lunar Module display, where they were greeted by Admiral Truly, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, and Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Robert Adams. After a quick photo opportunity attended only by invited pool photogra­phers, President Bush and his growing entourage were escorted to the museum’s front steps, where after a brief hold he was ushered on stage with an obligatory rendition of “Hail to the Chief.”

Human Exploration of Mars Reaches the Government Agenda

President Bush, Vice President Quayle, and the Apollo 11 crew (NASA Image 89 -11-382)

The first order of business for the event was the unveiling of an Apollo 11 post­age stamp by Postmaster General Anthony Franks. The $2.40 stamp depicted Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin raising the American flag on the plains of the Sea of Tranquility. After brief remarks by Truly, Armstrong, Collins, and Aldrin, Vice President Quayle introduced George Bush. President Bush opened his remarks by saluting “three of the greatest heroes of this or any other century: the crew of Apollo 11.” Bush used the first several minutes of his address remembering the remarkable accomplishment of that first human landing on the lunar surface. He recounted his family’s personal recollections of the landing—his children spread throughout North America, each listened in their own way. “Within one lifetime,” the presi­dent stated, “the human race traveled from the dunes of Kitty Hawk to the dust of another world. Apollo is a monument to our nations unparalleled ability to respond swiftly and successfully to a clearly stated challenge and to America’s willingness to take great risks for great rewards. We had a challenge. We set a goal. And we achieved it.”

Human Exploration of Mars Reaches the Government Agenda

President Bush and Postmaster General Anthony Frank unveil Apollo 11 commemorative stamp (NASA Image 89-HC-394)

Celebrating such an important legacy, Bush asserted, was an appropriate time to look to the future of the American space program. He proclaimed the inevita­bility of human exploration and permanent settlement of the solar system in the 21st century, in the process confirming the United Statess place as the preeminent space faring nation on Earth. Based on this rhetorical foundation, Bush unveiled his vision for this future exploration and settlement. “In 1961 it took a crisis—the space race—to speed things up. Today we don’t have a crisis; we have an opportunity. To seize this opportunity, I’m not proposing a 10-year plan like Apollo; I’m proposing a long-range, continuing commitment. First, for the coming decade, for the 1990s: Space Station Freedom, our critical next step in all our space endeavors. And next, for the new century: back to the Moon; back to the future. And this time, back to stay. And then a journey into tomorrow, a journey to another planet: a manned mis­sion to Mars.” The President stated these missions would follow one another in a logical progression, creating a pathway to the stars. He made clear that while setting the nation on this visionary course, the primary focus of his Administration would be the completion of Space Station Freedom—a crucial stepping stone for missions beyond Earth orbit.

Human Exploration of Mars Reaches the Government Agenda

President Bush signs Space Exploration Day proclamation (NASA Image 89-HC-402).

President Bush announced that he was tasking Vice President Quayle to “lead the National Space Council in determining specifically what’s needed for the next round of exploration: the necessary money, manpower, and materials; the feasibility of international cooperation; and develop realistic timetables—milestones—along the way.” He requested that the Space Council report its findings to him as soon as possible, with concrete recommendations regarding the proper course to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. As his remarks wound down, Bush explained the one rationale for the grand initiative by alluding to the Apollo 1 fire and the Challenger accident, stating, “there are many reasons to explore the universe, but ten very special reasons why America must never stop seeking distant frontiers; the ten courageous astro­nauts who made the ultimate sacrifice to further the cause of space exploration. They have taken their place in the heavens so that America can take its place in the stars. Like them, and like Columbus, we dream of distant shores we’ve not yet seen. Why the Moon? Why Mars? Because it is humanity’s destiny to strive, to seek, to find. And because it is America’s destiny to lead.” The President opined that humans would ultimately reach out to the stars and to new worlds. While he believed that this would not happen in his lifetime or that of his children, making this dream a reality for future generations must begin with a commitment by his generation. He concluded that “we cannot take the next giant leap for mankind tomorrow unless we take a single step today.”[167]

Human Exploration of Mars Reaches the Government Agenda

President Bush announces SEI on steps of National Air and Space Museum (NASA Image 89-H-380).

Shortly after President Bush finished his remarks, Admiral Truly was introduced by Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater in the White House Briefing Room to answer questions regarding the President’s speech. Truly’s answer to the very first question of the press conference was surprising, considering he had been intimately involved with the decision-making process for SEI. Asked if there was a proposed date for the first human landing on the red planet, he replied, “no…I just, frankly, learned this morning what [President Bush’s] direction was.”[168] Following this rocky start, Truly stumbled through a series of questions regarding the specifics of the plan and the political practicality of obtaining Congressional support for such an ambitious undertaking. Asked whether the potential budget for the Moon-base portion of the President’s plan would top $100 billion, he replied somewhat lamely that it would be affordable over the long-term. When pressed on the probable cost of the endeavor, Truly admitted that “we don’t have any detailed NASA figures. We have, obviously, in the last several weeks, looked in gross terms at what it would cost, but there was no specific timetable and I have not presented the President with a specific and detailed list of budgetary requirements.”[169] The press conference con­tinued along this shaky path with a question regarding the timetable for announc­ing a specific plan and budget for the initiative. Truly was once again unable (or unwilling) to provide a specific answer to this question, vaguely answering that it would take a number of months. He rallied in the end with his answer to a question regarding the necessity to bring in foreign partners, stating, “I think we can afford to go it alone, although I think that’s probably in the long run not what’s going to happen. The world has changed since the 1960s in space. It’s premature…to know where we’re heading, but I would think [SEI will] have an international flavor.”[170] In retrospect, what is most striking about this press briefing was the lack of specifics regarding the Administration’s plans to gain Congressional approval for SEI. Rapid decision – making was required to formulate the initiative in time to announce it on the Apollo 11 anniversary. Consequently, the White House did not have the time to formulate a strategy for winning support on Capitol Hill. Likewise, the Space Council had not drafted a top-level policy directive to guide administration activi­ties aimed at further defining the initiative. In the coming months, these shortcom­ings would derail SEI.

As Admiral Truly’s briefing was ongoing in the pressroom, guests began assem­bling on the White House South Lawn for a celebration of Apollo ll’s landing on the Moon. With picnic tables spread throughout the center of the lawn and a U. S. Navy band playing in the background, the guests sat down to partake of a lunch that included barbecue pork ribs, barbecue chicken, potato salad, and deep dish apple Betty with ice cream. Among the 300 distinguished attendees were 23 Apollo astronauts, 26 key members of Congress, and dozens of NASA officials. President and Mrs. Bush arrived at noon and were seated at a table near the bandshell with a group of special guests.[171]

After lunch, President Bush walked to the stage to deliver some brief remarks to the gathered celebrants. He warmed the crowd up with a little astronaut humor, joking that planning the barbecue was hectic because he was unsure whether they preferred their food grilled or in a tube. He continued to say that “as you might

Human Exploration of Mars Reaches the Government Agenda

White House picnic celebrating Apollo 11 anniversary (NASA Image 89-H-396).

expect from a former Navy pilot who lived much of his adult life in Houston, I, too, am a longtime supporter of the space program.” As an example of this support, he pointed to the fact that the single largest percentage increase for any agency in his Administration’s first budget proposal was for NASA. He told those assembled, “My commitment today to forge ahead with a sustained, manned exploration pro­gram, mission by mission—the space station, the Moon, Mars, and beyond—is a continuing commitment to ask new questions, to seek new answers, both in the heavens and on Earth. James Michener was right when he told Congress: ‘There are moments in history when challenges occur of such a compelling nature that to miss them is to miss the whole meaning of an epoch. Space is such a challenge,’ he said. Well, today’s announcement is our recognition that the challenge was not merely one that belonged in the sixties; it’s one that will occupy Americans for generations to come… the American people, I’m convinced, want us back in space—and this time, back in space to stay.” Bush concluded by stating that he looked forward to the day when a future president addressed, in similar fashion, the first Americans to walk on Mars, “now only children, perhaps your children.”[172]

Mars in Popular Culture

In 1898, just three years after Percival Lowell popularized the vision of a Mars threaded by canals and peopled by ancient beings, the first great Martian science fiction book was published. The War of the Worlds, written by H. G. Wells, is hailed as the greatest alien invasion story in history. The book began with a Martian assault just outside of London. While the Martians at first seemed helpless in the heavy Earth gravity, they quickly exposed their advanced technology in the form of huge death machines that began destroying the surrounding countryside, forcing the evacuation of London. The saving grace for the badly overmatched humans turned out to be common bacteria that the Martians had no immune system to fight off. In 1938, the book was famously adapted for radio by Orson Welles. The retelling of the story, portrayed as a news program about a Martian landing in rural New Jersey, was so believable that millions of Americans actually thought that Earth was being invaded.[20]

Starting in 1917, author Edgar Rice Burroughs began a highly popular series about Mars exploration with the publication of A Princess of Mars. In subsequent years, he wrote ten more books tracking the adventures of Captain John Carter on Mars. The series was first published as a longer sequence of serials printed in All – Story Magazine, which represented a common strategy for the publication of science fiction novels during that period. The Carter books were considered to be more fantasy than hard science fiction, which was exhibited by the lack of detail regard­ing how Carter actually got to the red planet—he was magically taken there in the book.[21]

During the Great Depression and the Second World War, there was a conspic­uous absence of popular books regarding Mars exploration. The lull was broken when author Robert Heinlein wrote Red Planet. Published in 1949, the book fol­lowed teenager Jim Marlowe, his friend Frank, and his Martian “roundhead” pet Willis on their travels across the planet to warn a human colony that was the target of a conspiracy by the Martians.[22] A year later, Ray Bradbury authored his famous book entitled The Martian Chronicles. The book was actually a compilation of relatively unrelated short stories about an ancient, dying Martian race. Along with Heinleins Red Planet, the book borrowed heavily from the observations and theories of both Schiaparelli and Lowell—planetary canals were a central accomplishment of the Martian civilizations in both books. These were early examples of how scientific research pushed science fiction novels.[23] In 1956, Robert Heinlein wrote Double Star, the most critically acclaimed Martian novel during this time period. The book, which won the Hugo Award,[24] centered on the emotional predicament of an out of work actor, Lorenzo Smythe, who was asked to stand in for an important politician who had been kidnapped. His trouble began when he was forced to take part in an important ceremony on Mars despite the fact that he hated Martians. The book was an interesting rendering of the civil rights struggle going on in the United States at the time.[25]

During this same period, a large number of popular films featured adventures involving the red planet. In 1938, Flash Gordon: Mars Attacks the World premiered as a feature-length film. In the movie, Flash Gordon blasts off for Mars to destroy a mysterious force sucking the nitrogen from Earths atmosphere and foil a plot by Ming the Merciless to conquer the universe. This was followed in the post-War period with the 1950 film Rocketship X-M, the story of five astronauts that set off to explore the moon but due to a malfunction ended up on Mars—where they find evidence of an advanced civilization nearly destroyed by an atomic holocaust. The next year, Flight to Mars chronicled the adventures of a team of scientists and a newspaper reporter that fly to Mars and thwart a plan by the Martians (who look identical to humans) to conquer Earth. In 1953, Invaders from Mars told the tale of small town where all the adults begin acting strangely shortly after young David MacLean sees strange lights settling behind a hill near his home. That same year, Gene Barry starred in a film adaptation of War of the Worlds. Finally, in 1959, The Angry Red Planet followed a group of astronauts that land on Mars and battle aliens, a giant amoeba, and the dreaded “Rat-Bat-Spider thing.” By the late-1950s, the combination of these best selling books and feature-length films had fixed human exploration of the Mars (and the likely inhabitants of that planet) in the popular culture of the nation.