Senate subcommittee examines NASA's identity crisis



With the Cold War fading into history, economic competitiveness becoming the watchwords of the decade, and the space race against the Russians turning into probable cooperation, NASA is struggling to redefine its role. On November 16, the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space invited NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin, Martin Marietta CEO Norman Augustine, and Robert Frosch of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government to offer their thoughts on NASA's plans, priorities, and budgetary difficulties.

Augustine, who chaired the Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program in 1990, posed two questions: What does America want its space program to be, and can the country afford to pay for the program it wants? He stated bluntly that if the answers were incompatible, “we are unlikely to have a satisfactory program.”