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1AC Depots

Contention One: Space Leadership

NASA’s new Space Launch System will fail—propellant depots solve all the reasons that the system’s Heavy-Lift Launch Vehicle is good
Chang 10/22 (Kenneth, NYT, October 22, 2011, “NASA Is Considering Fuel Depots in the Skies”,, ZBurdette)

The filling stations — NASA calls them propellant depots — would refuel a spacecraft in orbit before it headed out to the moon, an asteroid or eventually Mars. Currently, all of the fuel needed for a mission is carried up with the rocket, and the weight of the fuel limits the size of the spacecraft.
Next month, engineers will meet at NASA headquarters in Washington to discuss how propellant depots could be used to reach farther into space and make possible more ambitious missions using the heavy-lift rocket that NASA is planning to build. The discussions grow out of a six-month NASA study of propellant depots, completed in July.
However, the space agency has rejected the study’s most radical conclusion: that NASA could forgo the heavy-lift and use existing smaller rockets, combined with fuel depots, to reach its targets more quickly and less expensively. Those targets, for the next two decades at least, include a return to the moon or a visit to an asteroid. (A trip to Mars is unlikely until at least the 2030s.)
“This study highlights some interesting benefits of depots, but it is too singularly focused,” William H. Gerstenmaier, the associate administrator for NASA’s human exploration and operations directorate, said in a statement. “NASA is actively studying depots and how they can be used with other proposed elements to provide the lowest cost, sustainable exploration plan.”
Under the plan outlined in the document, the propellant depot would be launched first, and then other rockets would carry fuel to the depot before a spacecraft arrived to fill up. That would increase the complexity for an asteroid mission — 11 to 17 launchings instead of four — but could get NASA astronauts to an asteroid by 2024, the study said. The total budget needed for the project from 2012 through 2030 would be $60 billion to $86 billion, the study said.
By contrast, a study last year that designed an asteroid mission around a heavy-lift rocket estimated that it would cost $143 billion and that the trip could not happen until 2029. The earlier study briefly considered propellant depots but quickly dismissed them.
Last month, NASA announced the design of the Space Launch System, the new heavy-lift rocket. The goal is for it to lift 70 metric tons on its first unmanned test flight in 2017, and to be developed into a version capable of lifting 130 tons. The blueprint for NASA’s direction for the coming years, passed by Congress last year and signed by President Obama, calls on the agency to develop just that rocket.
Critics say the expense of developing and operating the massive new rocket, particularly in an era of tight federal budgets, would doom the project.
At a Congressional hearing in July, Representative Dana Rohrabacher, Republican of California, asked Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr., the NASA administrator, about the possibility of depots as an alternative to the Space Launch System. General Bolden said that he did not know details about any propellant depot study, but that his agency had looked at alternatives to building a heavy-lift. “It turned out that was not as economical, nor as reliable,” he said.
Although General Bolden promised to provide the information, Mr. Rohrabacher said he had obtained the study about propellant depots only through unofficial channels.
“I’m shocked that the leadership in NASA would try to keep a report as significant as this away from decision makers of the legislative branch,” Mr. Rohrabacher said, adding that the study gave him “the ammunition to make a case” to revisit NASA’s plans for human spaceflight.
Propellant depots carry risks, too. Fuels like liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen must be kept at ultracold temperatures and, unless the depots were heavily insulated, would boil away over time. And transferring fuel in the weightlessness of space is not straightforward, although perhaps simply setting the depot and spacecraft into a slow spin would generate enough force to push the fuel into the spacecraft.
“It’s not a simple thing to transfer cryogenic propellant, on the ground, much less in space,” said Eugene M. Henderson, an engineer at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, who is one of about 20 people who worked on the study. “It’s a big variable.”
Still, he described the technical challenges as “fairly trivial” and said demonstration projects could show that the technology is feasible.

The new heavy-lift vehicle is the critical component of current space exploration plans but it will inevitably fall apart
Chang 9/14 (Kenneth, NYT, “NASA Unveils New Rocket Design”,, ZBurdette)

To push farther out into the solar system — to the moon and beyond, to asteroids, eventually to Mars — NASA unveiled plans on Wednesday for a behemoth rocket that would serve as the backbone of its human spaceflight program for decades.
The finished rocket would be the most powerful ever to rise from the gravitational bonds of Earth.
“We’re investing in technologies to live and work in space, and it sets the stage for visiting asteroids and Mars,” the NASA administrator, Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr., said at a news conference in Washington.
The megarocket, blandly named the Space Launch System, embodies the space agency’s enduring desire to aim far and dream big. But it also reflects a shrinking of near-term ambitions as budget cutters seek to rein in federal spending. Just two years ago, NASA had hoped to build an even larger rocket that would take astronauts back to the moon and set up an outpost there. With money more limited, the pace of progress will be much slower than during NASA’s Apollo heyday in the 1960s.
William H. Gerstenmaier, the agency’s associate administrator for human exploration, said NASA expected to devote $3 billion a year to the effort, or a total of about $18 billion over the next six years.
That would be enough to finish a rocket capable of lifting 70 metric tons into orbit; the largest unmanned rockets currently available can lift about one-third that much. The first unmanned test flight is scheduled for 2017.
The design would evolve to larger versions that could lift up to 130 metric tons. (The Saturn V rocket that powered the Apollo Moon exploration program could lift 120 metric tons.)
In contrast to the previous program, Constellation, which set a very specific goal — returning to the moon by 2020 — NASA has yet to decide destinations or deadlines for what it would do with its new rocket.
“We’ve talked conceptually about multiple destinations,” Mr. Gerstenmaier said. “We talk about an asteroid in 2025. We talk about Mars being the ultimate destination.”
More details would be worked out over the next year. “We can do pretty exciting missions with the capability that we’ve got,” Mr. Gerstenmaier said.
Congressional backers of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration hailed the announcement as resolving a standoff between Congress and the White House over the agency’s future. In February 2010, the Obama administration had proposed a radical shift in space exploration, canceling the Constellation program and deferring any decision on a replacement for five years.
But the administration retreated under Congressional pressure, first reviving the crew capsule from the Constellation program and now proposing a heavy-lift rocket that looks like Constellation’s slimmer sibling.
“This is a day we’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” said Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Texas Republican. “We wish it had been sooner, of course.”
Last year, Congress passed, and President Obama signed into law, a blueprint for the space agency calling for a rocket like the one announced Wednesday. But NASA missed deadlines for announcing how it would carry out the plan.
In frustration, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, where Senator Hutchison serves as ranking member, even issued a subpoena to NASA demanding information.
The unveiling of the heavy-lift rocket was a victory for Ms. Hutchison and Senator Bill Nelson, the Florida Democrat who is chairman of the commerce committee’s science and space subcommittee.
Texas is home to NASA’s Mission Control and Florida is where NASA’s rockets are launched from. The two senators played key roles in writing the NASA blueprint and outlining many specifics of the rocket they wanted NASA to build, leading critics to sarcastically call it the Senate Launch System.
The announcement took place on Capitol Hill, not NASA headquarters, and at the news conference it was Senator Nelson who spoke first for five minutes, describing the characteristics and capabilities the rocket.
For his part, General Bolden said, “I’m the administrator and not the expert at NASA” and deferred technical questions to a subsequent telephone news conference that Mr. Gerstenmaier held.
Critics note that NASA has announced ambitious rocket plans before, only to cancel them as costs escalated and schedules slipped.
“Yes, there will be budget cuts,” said James Muncy, a space policy consultant. “Yes, it will be stretched out. Yes, it will have problems. And yes, it will fall apart.”

1: Hegemony

U.S. deep space leadership is essential to hegemony
Schmitt 10—Former U.S. Senator and twelfth and last man to set foot on the Moon, as lunar module pilot for Apollo 17, (2/6/10, Harrison J., “Obama space policy cedes Moon to China, Space Statin to Russia and Liberty to the Ages,”, JMP)

The Administration finally has announced its formal retreat on American Space Policy after a year of morale destroying clouds of uncertainty. The lengthy delay, the abandonment of human exploration, and the wimpy, un-American thrust of the proposed budget indicates that the Administration does not understand, or want to acknowledge, the essential role space plays in the future of the United States and liberty. This continuation of other apologies and retreats in the global arena would cede the Moon to China, the American Space Station to Russia, and assign liberty to the ages.
The repeated hypocrisy of this President continues to astound. His campaign promises endorsed what he now proposes to cancel. His July celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the first Moon landing now turns out to be just a photo op with the Apollo 11 crew. With one wave of a budget wand, the Congress, the NASA family, and the American people are asked to throw their sacrifices and achievements in space on the ash heap of history.
Expenditures of taxpayer provided funds on space related activities find constitutional justification in Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, that gives Congress broad power to ˛promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts.˛ In addition, the Article I power and obligation to łprovide for the Common Defence˛ relates directly to the geopolitical importance of space exploration at this frontier of human endeavor. A space program not only builds wealth, economic vitality, and educational momentum through technology and discovery, but it also sets the modern geopolitical tone for the United States to engage friends and adversaries in the world. For example, in the 1980s, the dangerous leadership of the former Soviet Union believed America would be successful in creating a missile defense system because we succeeded in landing on the Moon and they had not. Dominance in space was one of the major factors leading to the end of the Cold War.
With a new Cold War looming before us, involving the global ambitions and geopolitical challenge of the national socialist regime in China, President George W. Bush put America back on a course to maintain space dominance. What became the Constellation Program comprised his January 14, 2004 vision of returning Americans and their partners to deep space by putting astronauts back on the Moon, going on to Mars, and ultimately venturing beyond. Unfortunately, like all Administrations since Eisenhower and Kennedy, the Bush Administration lost perspective about space. Inadequate budget proposals and lack of Congressional leadership and funding during Constellation's formative years undercut Administrator Michael Griffin's effort to implement the Program after 2004. Delays due to this under-funding have rippled through national space capabilities until we must retire the Space Shuttle without replacement access to space. Now, we must pay at least $50 million per seat for the Russians to ferry Americans and others to the International Space Station. How the mighty have fallen.
Not only did Constellation never received the Administration's promised funding, but the Bush Administration and Congress required NASA 1) to continue the construction of the International Space Station (badly under-budgeted by former NASA Administrator O'Keefe, the OMB, and ultimately by the Congress), 2) to accommodate numerous major over-runs in the science programs (largely protected from major revision or cancellation by narrow Congressional interests), 3) to manage the Agency without hire and fire authority (particularly devastating to the essential hiring of young engineers), and 4) to assimilate, through added delays, the redirection and inflation-related costs of several Continuing Resolutions. Instead of fixing this situation, the current Administration let go Administrator Griffin, the best engineering Administrator in NASA's history, and now has cancelled Constellation. As a consequence, long-term access of American astronauts to space rests on the untested success of a plan for the łcommercial˛ space launch sector to meet the increasingly risk adverse demands of space flight.
Histories of nations tell us that an aggressive program to return Americans permanently to deep space must form an essential component of national policy. Americans would find it unacceptable, as well as devastating to liberty, if we abandon leadership in space to the Chinese, Europe, or any other nation or group of nations. Potentially equally devastating to billions of people would be loss of freedom's access to the energy resources of the Moon as fossil fuels diminish and populations and demand increase.
In that harsh light of history, it is frightening to contemplate the long-term, totally adverse consequences to the standing of the United States in modern civilization if the current Administration's decision to abandon deep space holds. Even a commitment to maintain the International Space Station using commercial launch assets constitutes a dead-end for Americans in space. At some point, now set at the end of this decade, the $150 billion Station becomes a dead-end and would be abandoned to the Russians or just destroyed, ending America's human space activities entirely.
What, then, should be the focus of national space policy in order to maintain leadership in deep space? Some propose that we concentrate only on Mars. Without the experience of returning to the Moon, however, we will not have the engineering, operational, or physiological insight for many decades to either fly to Mars or land there. Others suggest going to an asteroid. As important as diversion of an asteroid from collision with the Earth someday may be, just going there hardly stimulates łScience and the useful Arts˛ anything like a permanent American settlement on the Moon! Other means exist, robots and meteorites, for example, to obtain most or all of the scientific value from a human mission to an asteroid. In any event, returning to the Moon inherently creates capabilities for reaching asteroids to study or divert them, as the case may be.
Returning to the Moon and to deep space constitutes the right and continuing space policy choice for the Congress of the United States. It compares in significance to Jefferson's dispatch of Lewis and Clark to explore the Louisiana Purchase. The lasting significance to American growth and survival of Jefferson's decision cannot be questioned. Human exploration of space embodies the same basic instincts as the exploration of the West ­ the exercise of freedom, betterment of one's conditions, and curiosity about nature. Such instincts lie at the very core of America's unique and special society of immigrants.
Over the last 150,000 years or more, human exploration of Earth has yielded new homes, livelihoods, know how, and resources as well as improved standards of living and increased family security. Government has directly and indirectly played a role in encouraging exploration efforts. Private groups and individuals take additional initiatives to explore newly discovered or newly accessible lands and seas. Based on their specific historical experience, Americans can expect benefits comparable to those sought and won in the past also will flow from their return to the Moon, future exploration of Mars, and the long reach beyond. To realize such benefits, however, Americans must continue as the leader of human activities in space. No one else will hand them to us. Other than buying our national debt, China does not believe in welfare for the U.S.
With a permanent resumption of the exploration of deep space, one thing is certain: our efforts will be as significant as those of our ancestors as they migrated out of Africa and into a global habitat. Further, a permanent human presence away from Earth provides another opportunity for the expansion of free institutions, with all their attendant rewards, as humans face new situations and new individual and societal challenges.
Returning to the Moon first and as soon as possible meets the requirements for an American space policy that maintains deep space leadership, as well as providing major new scientific returns. Properly conceived and implemented, returning to the Moon prepares the way to go to and land on Mars. This also can provide a policy in which freedom-loving peoples throughout the world can participate as active partners.
The Congressionally approved Constellation Program, properly funded, contains most of the technical elements necessary to implement a policy of deep space leadership, particularly because it includes development of a heavy lift launch vehicle, the Ares V. In addition, Constellation includes a large upper stage for transfer to the Moon and other destinations, two well conceived spacecraft for transport and landing of crews on the lunar surface, strong concepts for exploration and lunar surface systems, and enthusiastic engineers and managers to make it happen if adequately supported. The one major missing component of a coherent and sustaining deep space systems architecture may be a well-developed concept for in-space refueling of spacecraft and upper rockets stages. The experience base for developing in-space refueling capabilities clearly exists.
Again, if we abandon leadership in deep space to any other nation or group of nations, particularly a non-democratic regime, the ability for the United States and its allies to protect themselves and liberty will be at great risk and potentially impossible. To others would accrue the benefits ­ psychological, political, economic, and scientific ­ that the United States harvested as a consequence of Apollo's success 40 years ago. This lesson has not been lost on our ideological and economic competitors.
American leadership absent from space? Is this the future we wish for our progeny? I think not. Again, the 2010 elections offer the way to get back on the right track.

Heg solves great power wars
Zhang and Shi 11 - * a researcher at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, D.C. ** Columbia University. She also serves as an independent consultant for the Eurasia Group and a consultant for the World Bank in Washington, D.C. “America’s decline: A harbinger of conflict and rivalry”

This does not necessarily mean that the US is in systemic decline, but it encompasses a trend that appears to be negative and perhaps alarming. Although the US still possesses incomparable military prowess and its economy remains the world’s largest, the once seemingly indomitable chasm that separated America from anyone else is narrowing. Thus, the global distribution of power is shifting, and the inevitable result will be a world that is less peaceful, liberal and prosperous, burdened by a dearth of effective conflict regulation.
Over the past two decades, no other state has had the ability to seriously challenge the US military. Under these circumstances, motivated by both opportunity and fear, many actors have bandwagoned with US hegemony and accepted a subordinate role. Canada, most of Western Europe, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Singapore and the Philippines have all joined the US, creating a status quo that has tended to mute great power conflicts.
However, as the hegemony that drew these powers together withers, so will the pulling power behind the US alliance. The result will be an international order where power is more diffuse, American interests and influence can be more readily challenged, and conflicts or wars may be harder to avoid.
As history attests, power decline and redistribution result in military confrontation. For example, in the late 19th century America’s emergence as a regional power saw it launch its first overseas war of conquest towards Spain. By the turn of the 20th century, accompanying the increase in US power and waning of British power, the American Navy had begun to challenge the notion that Britain ‘rules the waves.’ Such a notion would eventually see the US attain the status of sole guardians of the Western Hemisphere’s security to become the order-creating Leviathan shaping the international system with democracy and rule of law.
Defining this US-centred system are three key characteristics: enforcement of property rights, constraints on the actions of powerful individuals and groups and some degree of equal opportunities for broad segments of society. As a result of such political stability, free markets, liberal trade and flexible financial mechanisms have appeared. And, with this, many countries have sought opportunities to enter this system, proliferating stable and cooperative relations.
However, what will happen to these advances as America’s influence declines? Given that America’s authority, although sullied at times, has benefited people across much of Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, as well as parts of Africa and, quite extensively, Asia, the answer to this question could affect global society in a profoundly detrimental way.
Public imagination and academia have anticipated that a post-hegemonic world would return to the problems of the 1930s: regional blocs, trade conflicts and strategic rivalry. Furthermore, multilateral institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank or the WTO might give way to regional organisations.
For example, Europe and East Asia would each step forward to fill the vacuum left by Washington’s withering leadership to pursue their own visions of regional political and economic orders. Free markets would become more politicised — and, well, less free — and major powers would compete for supremacy.
Additionally, such power plays have historically possessed a zero-sum element. In the late 1960s and 1970s, US economic power declined relative to the rise of the Japanese and Western European economies, with the US dollar also becoming less attractive. And, as American power eroded, so did international regimes (such as the Bretton Woods System in 1973).
A world without American hegemony is one where great power wars re-emerge, the liberal international system is supplanted by an authoritarian one, and trade protectionism devolves into restrictive, anti-globalisation barriers. This, at least, is one possibility we can forecast in a future that will inevitably be devoid of unrivalled US primacy.

Perception of space dominance is key to overall deterrence—specifically solves war over Taiwan
Vorenberg 8 (2/12/08, Sue, Sante Fe New Mexican, “Scientists: U.S. power at stake in space race: Nation's success in moon project could prevent wars, earn right to lucrative helium mining”,, eLibrary)

"We must beat the People's Republic of China to the moon," said John Brandenburg, a senior propulsion scientist at Orbital Technologies Inc. in Wisconsin and a former scientist at Sandia National Laboratories. "A race to the moon is not a land war in Asia. And a race to the moon is one we can win."
Beating China to the moon might actually stop that country from invading Taiwan, he said, because it will make the U.S. look stronger to the international community. "We can't win a land war in Asia," Brandenburg added.
And while the idea of increasing NASA's budget might not be popular, using NASA to send that sort of message to other countries is something the current crop of political candidates needs to consider, said Tom Taylor, vice president of Lunar Transportation Systems Inc. in Las Cruces.
"I worry about some of the politics we see in this election year, and that politicians are looking at NASA's budget as a way to educate the masses rather than to push forward with space exploration," he said.
Deterring wars is often more psychological than reality-based, Brandenburg said, and a U.S. presence on the moon sends a strong signal that our nation is still a technological powerhouse.
"Our efforts in space are an indication of our wealth," Brandenburg said. "If we don't progress in space, people see us as a paper tiger. When we're in space, we're seen as a titanium tiger."
Skylab's premature descent through the atmosphere in July 1979 might have encouraged Iranian militants in November 1979 to take over the U.S. embassy in Tehran and capture hostages, he said, because it appeared that U.S. power was fading. "If we look weak in space, bad things tend to happen on Earth," Brandenburg said.
One of the biggest concerns is that the space shuttle program will stop in 2010, and the U.S. will have no way to get to the international space station -- other than hitching a ride with the Russians -- for at least four years as the next generation of U.S. space vehicles comes online, he said.
If we're not first to go back to the moon, other countries will get there first in the not-so-distant future, perhaps in the next 20 years or so, Taylor said.
And those countries could grab up access to helium 3 -- a source of clean, powerful fusion energy that could replace the entire power generation structure on Earth.
"While it's a little early to speculate, helium 3 is worth about $12 billion per 2,000 pounds -- if we could mine it on the moon, it would change our entire nuclear industry," Taylor said. "If other countries get there first, I fear that our nation will drop into some lesser status."
From a pure resource perspective, mining helium 3 could turn the U.S. into the top power producer in the world, Brandenburg said. "Once you get helium 3 on the moon, the moon becomes the new Persian Gulf," he said. "It's worth about 5,000 Saudi Arabias."
And while in the end, everything comes down to tight budgets in Washington, the two scientists say they still hope politicians will keep the bigger picture in mind and consider the next round of the space race is not something we want to lose.
"Resources are always tight in any society," Brandenburg said. "But you have to remember that exploration almost always leads to greater wealth."

Nuclear war
Hunkovic 9 – American Military University [Lee J, 2009, “The Chinese-Taiwanese Conflict
Possible Futures of a Confrontation between China, Taiwan and the United States of America”,]

A war between China, Taiwan and the United States has the potential to escalate into a nuclear conflict and a third world war, therefore, many countries other than the primary actors could be affected by such a conflict, including Japan, both Koreas, Russia, Australia, India and Great Britain, if they were drawn into the war, as well as all other countries in the world that participate in the global economy, in which the United States and China are the two most dominant members. If China were able to successfully annex Taiwan, the possibility exists that they could then plan to attack Japan and begin a policy of aggressive expansionism in East and Southeast Asia, as well as the Pacific and even into India, which could in turn create an international standoff and deployment of military forces to contain the threat. In any case, if China and the United States engage in a full-scale conflict, there are few countries in the world that will not be economically and/or militarily affected by it. However, China, Taiwan and United States are the primary actors in this scenario, whose actions will determine its eventual outcome, therefore, other countries will not be considered in this study.

Hegemony solves nuke war and extinction
Thomas P.M. Barnett 11 Former Senior Strategic Researcher and Professor in the Warfare Analysis & Research Department, Center for Naval Warfare Studies, U.S. Naval War College American military geostrategist and Chief Analyst at Wikistrat., worked as the Assistant for Strategic Futures in the Office of Force Transformation in the Department of Defense, “The New Rules: Leadership Fatigue Puts U.S., and Globalization, at Crossroads,” March 7

Events in Libya are a further reminder for Americans that we stand at a crossroads in our continuing evolution as the world's sole full-service superpower. Unfortunately, we are increasingly seeking change without cost, and shirking from risk because we are tired of the responsibility. We don't know who we are anymore, and our president is a big part of that problem. Instead of leading us, he explains to us. Barack Obama would have us believe that he is practicing strategic patience. But many experts and ordinary citizens alike have concluded that he is actually beset by strategic incoherence -- in effect, a man overmatched by the job. It is worth first examining the larger picture: We live in a time of arguably the greatest structural change in the global order yet endured, with this historical moment's most amazing feature being its relative and absolute lack of mass violence. That is something to consider when Americans contemplate military intervention in Libya, because if we do take the step to prevent larger-scale killing by engaging in some killing of our own, we will not be adding to some fantastically imagined global death count stemming from the ongoing "megalomania" and "evil" of American "empire." We'll be engaging in the same sort of system-administering activity that has marked our stunningly successful stewardship of global order since World War II. Let me be more blunt: As the guardian of globalization, the U.S. military has been the greatest force for peace the world has ever known. Had America been removed from the global dynamics that governed the 20th century, the mass murder never would have ended. Indeed, it's entirely conceivable there would now be no identifiable human civilization left, once nuclear weapons entered the killing equation. But the world did not keep sliding down that path of perpetual war. Instead, America stepped up and changed everything by ushering in our now-perpetual great-power peace. We introduced the international liberal trade order known as globalization and played loyal Leviathan over its spread. What resulted was the collapse of empires, an explosion of democracy, the persistent spread of human rights, the liberation of women, the doubling of life expectancy, a roughly 10-fold increase in adjusted global GDP and a profound and persistent reduction in battle deaths from state-based conflicts. That is what American "hubris" actually delivered. Please remember that the next time some TV pundit sells you the image of "unbridled" American military power as the cause of
global disorder instead of its cure. With self-deprecation bordering on self-loathing, we now imagine a post-American world that is anything but. Just watch who scatters and who steps up as the Facebook revolutions erupt across the Arab world. While we might imagine ourselves the status quo power, we remain the world's most vigorously revisionist force.
As for the sheer "evil" that is our military-industrial complex, again, let's examine what the world looked like before that establishment reared its ugly head. The last great period of global structural change was the first half of the 20th century, a period that saw a death toll of about 100 million across two world wars. That comes to an average of 2 million deaths a year in a world of approximately 2 billion souls. Today, with far more comprehensive worldwide reporting, researchers report an average of less than 100,000 battle deaths annually in a world fast approaching 7 billion people. Though admittedly crude, these calculations suggest a 90 percent absolute drop and a 99 percent relative drop in deaths due to war. We are clearly headed for a world order characterized by multipolarity, something the American-birthed system was designed to both encourage and accommodate. But given how things turned out the last time we collectively faced such a fluid structure, we would do well to keep U.S. power, in all of its forms, deeply embedded in the geometry to come.
To continue the historical survey, after salvaging Western Europe from its half-century of civil war, the U.S. emerged as the progenitor of a new, far more just form of globalization -- one based on actual free trade rather than colonialism. America then successfully replicated globalization further in East Asia over the second half of the 20th century, setting the stage for the Pacific Century now unfolding.

2: Cooperation

Depots dramatically increase space capabilities and are key to effective space cooperation
Zegler et al. 9 (Frank Zegler, Bernard F. Kutter, Jon Barr, ULA, “A Commercially Based Lunar Architecture”,, ZBurdette)

The proposed lunar architecture illuminates how the powerful leveraging effects of simple orbital depots can enable small expendable launch vehicles, compatible with existing DoD and commercial payload needs, to establish, support and expand a lunar base with a continuous human presence. The costs and protracted schedule associated with the development of extremely large boosters and multiple in-space stages can be eliminated and the resources applied to the lunar lander, propellant tankers and depots built around a common in-space stage. The simplicity of the architecture enables development that actually fits within projected budgets which is in sharp contrast to the present approach. The door to lunar exploration is presently shut due being simply unaffordable with the present architecture. The proposed architecture reopens that door.
By separating out propellant delivery the architecture not only encourages economic production rates for multiple launch suppliers but provides a commodity task that fosters innovation for new launch suppliers, enables contributions from foreign sources and truly effective international cooperation. In many ways it is the functional equivalent of the establishment of airmail as a commodity activity for the fledgling aircraft and airline industries of the early 20th century.

Space cooperation is key to prevent extinction
Hays 10 (Peter, PhD, Director of the Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies, Visiting Fellow, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, senior policy analyst supporting the plans and programs division of the National Security Space Office, retired Lieutenant Colonel, “Space Law and the Advancement of Spacepower”,, ZBurdette)

Other impediments to further developing space law are exacerbated by a lack of acceptance in some quarters that sustained, cooperative efforts are often the best and sometimes the only way in which humanity can address our most pressing survival challenges. Cosmic threats to humanity's survival exist and include the depletion of resources and fouling of our only current habitat, threats in the space environment such as large objects that could strike Earth and cause cataclysmic damage, and the eventual exhaustion and destruction of the Sun. The message is clear: environmental degradation and space phenomena can threaten our existence, but humanity can improve our odds for survival if we can cooperate in grasping and exploiting survival opportunities. Law can provide one of the most effective ways to structure and use these opportunities. Sustained dialogue of the type this volume seeks to foster can help raise awareness, generate support for better space law, and ultimately nurture the spacepower needed to improve our odds for survival.

Space cooperation spills over—solves a space arms race
Mindell et al. 8 (David, Director of the Space, Policy, and Society Research Group of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “The Future of Human Spaceflight”, December 2008,, ZBurdette)

International partnerships in human spaceflight represent the best use of science and technology to advance broad human goals and bring nations together around common values, hence they are a primary objective. The 1975 Apollo -Soyuz Test Project, for example, showcased an international gesture of cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union at a time of tension between the nations. Through these and similar means, human spaceflight can be an effective instrument of global diplomacy.
United States should reaffirm its long standing policy of international leadership in human spaceflight and remain committed to its existing international partners. In a significant shift from current policies, such leadership should not be defined only as “first, largest, and in charge.” Leadership should also represent foresight in building new relationships and collaborations, and in setting an example for human spaceflight as a civilian enterprise. Given the public enthusiasm for human spaceflight around the globe, a clear perception of the United States as collaborating with other countries to accomplish goals in space would have far reaching benefits. The United States should invite international and commercial partners to participate in its new exploration initiatives to build a truly global exploration effort, with significant cost sharing. The United States should continue to build a sustainable partnership with Russia to promote shared values, build greater credibility and confidence in the relationship, and ultimately improve U.S. national and international security. Such a partnership would support Russia’s interest in prolonging the service life of the ISS until 2020 and cooperating on transportation elements of the lunar and Mars programs. A sustainable partnership could ensure utilization of the ISS, share costs and risks, help prevent proliferation, and help turn Russian public opinion in favor of collaboration with the United States in other arenas.
As China enters the human spaceflight arena, the United States now faces the potential of international cooperation in space with the newest spacefaring nation.
Until now, China and the United States have had little cooperation in human spaceflight, indeed the United States has sought to isolate China on this issue, largely due to concerns about human rights and technology transfer. Continuing this policy could foster public perceptions, in both countries, of another race to the moon, creating political pressures on the U.S. space program and potentially bringing China additional prestige, soft power, and geopolitical influence for competing in a race that the United States won forty years ago.
By contrast, cooperation with China in space could encourage the Chinese to open their space program and help end speculation about their intentions in space. It could also provide a disincentive for China to engage in a secret competitive space program. Cooperation could also begin to create some Chinese reliance on U.S. technology. It would, by definition, improve strategic communication between U.S. and Chinese space officials, leading to better understanding of the other side’s intentions and concerns. Engaging the Chinese aerospace and defense establishment in long-term, sustainable cooperation with the U.S. would ideally make them less prone to sudden unilateral provocative actions, such as the January 2007 anti-satellite test.
Any movement on the U.S. relationship with China in human spaceflight must be nuanced by consideration of the larger relationship, particularly regarding commerce and national security. Still, by pursuing cooperation the United States could reassert its role as the leader of global human space efforts and avoid a costly lunar space race and a dangerous space arms race. China would meet its goals of displaying technological prowess and raising national prestige by engaging with the world’s greatest space power. Dispelling the notion of a new race to the moon (or other destinations) will be beneficial for both the United States and China. The United States should begin engagement with China on human spaceflight in a series of small steps, gradually building up trust and cooperation. Despite technical and political hurdles on both sides, such efforts could yield benefits for U.S. primary objectives. All would entail radical revision of the current situation of non-cooperation between the United States and China.

Space weaponization causes nuclear war
Mitchell, communications prof, et al. 1 – Associate Professor of Communication and Director of Debate at the University of Pittsburgh (Dr. Gordon, ISIS Briefing on Ballistic Missile Defence, “Missile Defence: Trans-Atlantic Diplomacy at a Crossroads”, No. 6 July,

A buildup of space weapons might begin with noble intentions of 'peace through strength' deterrence, but this rationale glosses over the tendency that '… the presence of space weapons…will result in the increased likelihood of their use'.33 This drift toward usage is strengthened by a strategic fact elucidated by Frank Barnaby: when it comes to arming the heavens, 'anti-ballistic missiles and anti-satellite warfare technologies go hand-in-hand'.34 The interlocking nature of offense and defense in military space technology stems from the inherent 'dual capability' of spaceborne weapon components. As Marc Vidricaire, Delegation of Canada to the UN Conference on Disarmament, explains: 'If you want to intercept something in space, you could use the same capability to target something on land'. 35 To the extent that ballistic missile interceptors based in space can knock out enemy missiles in mid-flight, such interceptors can also be used as orbiting 'Death Stars', capable of sending munitions hurtling through the Earth's atmosphere. The dizzying speed of space warfare would introduce intense 'use or lose' pressure into strategic calculations, with the spectre of split-second attacks creating incentives to rig orbiting Death Stars with automated 'hair trigger' devices. In theory, this automation would enhance survivability of vulnerable space weapon platforms. However, by taking the decision to commit violence out of human hands and endowing computers with authority to make war, military planners could sow insidious seeds of accidental conflict. Yale sociologist Charles Perrow has analyzed 'complexly interactive, tightly coupled' industrial systems such as space weapons, which have many sophisticated components that all depend on each other's flawless performance. According to Perrow, this interlocking complexity makes it impossible to foresee all the different ways such systems could fail. As Perrow explains, '[t]he odd term "normal accident" is meant to signal that, given the system characteristics, multiple and unexpected interactions of failures are inevitable'.36 Deployment of space weapons with pre-delegated authority to fire death rays or unleash killer projectiles would likely make war itself inevitable, given the susceptibility of such systems to 'normal accidents'. It is chilling to contemplate the possible effects of a space war. According to retired Lt. Col. Robert M. Bowman, 'even a tiny projectile reentering from space strikes the earth with such high velocity that it can do enormous damage — even more than would be done by a nuclear weapon of the same size!'. 37 In the same Star Wars technology touted as a quintessential tool of peace, defence analyst David Langford sees one of the most destabilizing offensive weapons ever conceived: 'One imagines dead cities of microwave-grilled people'.38 Given this unique potential for destruction, it is not hard to imagine that any nation subjected to space weapon attack would retaliate with maximum force, including use of nuclear, biological, and/or chemical weapons. An accidental war sparked by a computer glitch in space could plunge the world into the most destructive military conflict ever seen.

Contention Two: Launches

Propellant depots are fundamental to the space launch industry—the SLS fails
Cowing 10/12 (Keith, “Internal NASA Studies Show Cheaper and Faster Alternatives to The Space Launch System”,, ZBurdette)

On 26 September 2011, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) issued a press release regarding fuel depots. This included a letter to former Administrator Mike Griffin who had dismissed the notion of fuel depots and commercial launch vehicles as being a viable alternative to the Space Launch System (SLS) during Congressional testimony.
Rohrabacher noted "When NASA proposed on-orbit fuel depots in this Administration's original plan for human space exploration, they said this game-changing technology could make the difference between exploring space and falling short. Then the depots dropped out of the conversation, and NASA has yet to provide any supporting documents explaining the change," says Rohrabacher."
Well, despite what NASA may or may not have been telling Rep. Rohrabacher about its internal evaluations regarding the merits of alternate architectures that did not use the SLS (and those that incorporated fuel depots), the agency had actually been rather busy studying those very topics.
And guess what: the conclusions that NASA arrived at during these studies are in direct contrast to what the agency had been telling Congress, the media, and anyone else who would listen.
This presentation "Propellant Depot Requirements Study - Status Report - HAT Technical Interchange Meeting - July 21, 2011" is a distilled version of a study buried deep inside of NASA. The study compared and contrasted an SLS/SEP architecture with one based on propellant depots for human lunar and asteroid missions. Not only was the fuel depot mission architecture shown to be less expensive, fitting within expected budgets, it also gets humans beyond low Earth orbit a decade before the SLS architecture could.
Moreover, supposed constraints on the availability of commercial launch alternatives often mentioned by SLS proponents, was debunked. In addition, clear integration and performance advantages to the use of commercial launchers Vs SLS was repeatedly touted as being desirable: "breaking costs into smaller, less-monolithic amounts allows great flexibility in meeting smaller and changing budget profiles."
In a time when space sector jobs are an issue this alternative architecture to the use of the SLS would create real jobs and get humans beyond low Earth orbit years sooner than what the Senate demands be done via the pork filled route.
Right now there is a slow-motion purge underway within OCT and across the agency to move anyone who thinks beyond the SLS mindset in ways that could do things in a much less costly fashion with much greater flexibility.
And if some of these words below look familiar, well they should - see "Using Commercial Launchers and Fuel Depots Instead of HLVs" (March 2011) and "The HLV Cost Information NASA Decided Not To Give To Congress" (January 2011). Studies have been bouncing around NASA for some time that cite alternatives to large government-developed Ares-V/SLS-class boosters such as the use of fuel depots and commercial launch vehicles.
Propellant Depot Requirements Study - Status Report - HAT Technical Interchange Meeting - July 21, 2011
Why Examine Propellant Depots Without HLLVs?
  • Large in-space mission elements (inert) can be lifted to LEO in increments on several medium-lift commercial launch vehicles (CLVs) rather than on one Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle (HLLV)
  • Over 70 percent of the exploration mission mass is propellant that can be delivered in increments to a Propellant Depot and transferred to the in-space stages
  • Saves DDT&E costs of HLLV
  • Low-flight-rate HLLV dominated by high unique fixed costs. Use of CLVs eliminates these costs and spreads lower fixed costs over more flights and other customers.
  • Use of large re-fueled cryo stages saves DDT&E/ops costs for advanced propulsion stages (e.g., SEP)
  • Provides opportunity for more easily integrated commercial and international partner mission participation
  • Tens of billions of dollars of cost savings and lower up-front costs to fit within budget profile
  • Allows first NEA/Lunar mission by 2024 using conservative budgets
  • Launch every few months rather than once every 12-18 months
-Provides experienced and focused workforce to improve safety
-Operational learning for reduced costs and higher launch reliability.
  • Allows multiple competitors for propellant delivery
-Competition drives down costs
-Alternatives available if critical launch failure occurs
-Low-risk, hands-off way for international partners to contribute
  • Reduced critical path mission complexity (AR&Ds, events, number of unique elements)
  • Provides additional mission flexibility by variable propellant load
  • Commonality with COTS/commercial/DoD vehicles will allow sharing of fixed costs between programs and "right-sized" vehicle for ISS
  • Stimulate US commercial launch industry
  • Reduces multi-payload manifesting integration issues
  • Congressional language
  • Requires longer storage of cryo propellants than alternatives and addition of zero-g transfer technologies
  • Volume/mass constraints (e.g, fairing size)
  • NASA loses some control/oversight
  • Added complexity of common CPS/depot
  • Launch capacity build-up
  • Aligning LEO departure plane with departure asymptote location for small NEA departure windows given LAN precession
Launch Rate and Capacity Issues
  • Propellant depot options eliminated during HEFT 1 because of supposed launch capacity constraints
  • Current US and world-wide launch vehicles operating significantly under-capacity
-Average launch rate for each major LV family is only 2.2/year.
  • Possible future LV capacity constraints is only an issue in the short term. Given a few years to invest, capacity is not a long-term problem.
  • Additional capacity is a "feature", not a "bug", for US launch industry
  • Current launch capabilities:
- Atlas V: 5-9/year. Could be doubled with modest infrastructure investment, and doubled again with additional infrastructure investments (e.g., Build a second VIF.ULA inputs at NASA HQ, 10/2010).
- Delta IV: 2-5/year. Could be doubled with modest infrastructure investment, and doubled again with additional infrastructure investments (e.g., Second launch pad,ULA inputs at NASA HQ, 10/2010).
- Falcon: 20/year by 2015, including 10 heavy, 12 already under contract, additional pads planned at WTR and ETR, less than $70M each (Musk E-Mail, Feb 2011)
- Taurus II: : 6-12/year by 2015. (Claybaugh E-Mail, March 2011)
- SeaLaunch: 5/year. Coming back on line. Capacity could be doubled with moderate infrastructure.
- International partners (Ariane5, H-II, Proton, Soyuz, Zenit, GSLV): More than 21/year for Ariane5 & Proton alone
Advantages of Propellant Depot over Refueling
  • Most expensive hardware/capability can be located on the depot to be re-used over and over again rather than be expended every flight
  • The expendable CPS and delivery tankers can be made as dumb/cheap as possible
  • Mass of the CPS that has to be pushed through thousands of m/s of delta-V can be reduced
  • All of the important and costly avionic/software/IVHM can be on the depot
  • The prox-ops and rendevousand docking systems can be on the depot, rather than on CPS
  • The depot could do the last prox-ops maneuvers and even berth the tanker/CPS with an RMS
  • Relieves CPS of need for active boil-off control for cis-lunar missions with few burns (Injection burns are made shortly after undocking. For NEO missions that need burns after 100 days of travel, this could be done by storablesor cryotanks inside of the main tanks and conditioned via passive systems and/or fuel cells)
  • Reduces risk to CPS from MMOD by reducing required time in orbit prior to departure
  • Reduces number of rendezvous events required to fuel CPS from many to one, reducing risk of collision or propellant transfer failure
  • Reduces risk of LOM by decoupling propellant delivery flights from delivery of mission elements (i.e., elements stay on the ground until needed for mission)
  • Opens the possibility to add other in-space services (e.g., maintenance and repair)
  • Potential for multiple customers and creation of new commercial industry
NEA Mission Observations - Mixed Fleet
  • Costs $10s of billions less through 2030 over alternate HLLV/SEP-based architecture approaches
- Only $10B more than all Falcon Heavy approach
  • Fits within conservative exploration budget through 2030 with extended ISS and budget cuts while allowing 3-4 NEA missions
  • Breaking costs into smaller, less-monolithic amounts allows great flexibility in meeting smaller and changing budget profiles
  • Allows first mission to NEA in 2024, potentially several years earlier than HLLV/SEP-based approaches, meeting President's deadline and actual availability of NEA 2008EV5
  • Launch capacity not much of an issue with two suppliers
- Availability risk also improved
  • Use of two CLVs, similar to COTS, should reduce cost and risk through competition
  • Integration of large CPS stage with multiple vehicles could reduce commonality and add complexity
Lunar Mission Observations -RP Depot/CPS
  • Costs $10s of billions less through 2030 over alternate HLLV/SEP-based architecture approaches
- Only $2B more than LO2/LH2 Depot approach
  • Fits within conservative exploration budget through 2030 with extended ISS and budget cuts while allowing 4-8 lunar missions
  • Breaking costs into smaller, less-monolithic amounts allows great flexibility in meeting smaller and changing budget profiles
  • Allows first lunar mission to in 2024, potentially several years earlier than HLLV-based approaches
  • Launch capacity does not appear to be a major issue
  • Dependence on a single CLV and provider likely unacceptable
  • Integration of large CPS stage with small-diameter Falcon easier due to smaller stage size
  • Integration of lunar lander on Falcon limits design options
  • RP-based depot/CPS provides slightly higher LCC for lunar missions with lower risk

Depots would be an effective alternative to the SLS—solve launch costs
Gasser 9/24 (Andrew, retired from the Air Force after a 20-year career, co-atuhored with a 35-year veteran aerospace engineer with almost 30 years in advanced programs defining launch and exploration architectures, October 24, 2011, “Propellant depots: the fiscally responsible and feasible alternative to SLS”,, ZBurdette)

The Human Space Flight (HSF) portion of NASA’s budget is consumed by the Space Launch System (SLS). We recognize that by the time SLS flies—if it does, in fact, fly—its estimated cost is well over $18 billion. We must ask ourselves, “is there a better way to perform HSF in America?” We contend there is a better way that is not only fiscally responsible, but also relies heavily upon the free market.
Many inside NASA have quietly pushed for HSF exploration utilizing an architecture of our current roster of Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles (EELVs) and propellant depots. In fact, former NASA administrator Mike Griffin called propellant depots “the holy grail of deep-space exploration” in testimony before the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee last month during a hearing about future human space flight plans. While many NASA insiders and pundits have claimed that there were studies that showed propellant depots were scientifically possible and a better choice economically, NASA leadership has claimed that they have not seen such evidence. If NASA leadership has not seen the studies on propellant depots, then who is burying the studies like the one that was leaked to NASA Watch on October 12th? We have known about this study for some time and believe that propellant depots are not only scientifically feasible but also that such an approach is the fiscally responsible option for America to regain its lead in HSF exploration.
Griffin, though, is skeptical about using propellant depots, based on last month’s testimony. On heavy-lift, he stated, “Because of economies of scale inherent to the design of launch vehicles, the cost-per-pound of payload to orbit nearly always improves with increasing launch vehicle size. Thus, a heavy-lift vehicle should be designed to be as large as possible within the constraints of the facilities and infrastructure available to build and transport it. This provides the greatest marginal capability at the lowest marginal cost.” While his statement is true based on price trends for Atlas V, Delta IV, and Falcon launch vehicles, the largest vehicles do not provide the lowest cost-per-pound to orbit. Two launch vehicles defined by NASA’s Human Exploration Framework Team (HEFT) had an estimated cost-per-pound to orbit between $8,000 and $11,000 for payloads of 154,000 and 220,000 pounds (70,000 and 100,000 kilograms); the Atlas V and Delta IV families’ price-per-pound to orbit ranges between $5,000 and $9,000 for launch capacity between 22,000 and 55,000 pounds (10,000 and 25,000 kilograms); and posted launch prices Space Exploration Technologies’ (SpaceX) Falcon launch vehicles are $1,000 and $3,000 per pound for 23,000 and 117,000 pounds (10,400 and 53,000 kilograms) payload capacity. Atlas V, Delta IV, and Falcon 9 vehicles are currently in operation while the Falcon Heavy is in development; the two HEFT vehicles, by contrast, are purely conceptual. Estimates for Ares 5 launch cost ranged from $540 million to $1.5 billion to place 280,000 pounds (127,000 kilograms) in LEO, or $2,000 to $5,400 per pound.
When discussing fuel depots and launch cost, Mike Griffin goes on to say, “Ares 5 offers the lowest cost-per-pound for payload to orbit of any presently known launch vehicle design.” Clearly the values above do not support his claim as existing launch vehicles have costs-per-pound between $3,000 and $9,000 while the conceptual Ares 5 and HEFT launch vehicles have estimated costs between $2,000 and $11,000 per pound to orbit.
In 2005, shortly after the Exploration Systems Architecture Study was released, Griffin, speaking at an American Astronautical Society meeting in Houston, said that on-orbit propellant was worth $10,000 per kilogram ($4,550 per pound) to NASA. This value is close to the Delta IV Heavy cost per pound to orbit and, one can infer, the expected cost per pound to orbit for Ares 5. At the same time posted launch prices for SpaceX Falcon vehicles were approximately $4,000 per kilogram ($1,814 per pound), significantly less than the stated value of on-orbit fuel.
Estimated launch costs for NASA’s Ares 5 and HEFT vehicles are based on two to four missions to the Moon per year. Atlas V, Delta IV, and Falcon 9 costs reflect launch rates between three (Delta IV) and eight (Falcon 9) per year. Using existing rockets for exploration missions with the two vehicle masses each less than 25,000 kilograms and with over 150,000 kilograms of fuel required per mission would add at least 16 flights to the current manifest for two missions per year. Increasing the launch rate of existing systems can significantly reduce launch cost, especially as rates grow from 1 to 50 per year as shown by Gstattenbauer, Franke, and Livingston in their paper, “Cost Comparison of Expendable, Hybrid, and Reusable Launch Vehicles,” AIAA-2006-7211-801, presented at the AIAA Space 2006 Conference in San Jose, California.
Griffin’s testimony also included the following statement: “Further, a fuel depot requires a presently non-existent technology – the ability to maintain cryogenic fuels in the necessary thermodynamic state for very long periods in space.” While it is true the required technologies have not yet been flown in space, they have been developed, ground-tested, and are ready for space flight tests. In addition, their performance characteristics have been incorporated into upper stage and depot design concepts indicating cryogenic propellants can be maintained in the appropriate thermodynamic state for over a year with zero oxygen boil-off and less than 0.05% per day boil-off of the initial hydrogen mass. By incorporating cryocoolers (cryogenic refrigeration units), it may be possible to eliminate hydrogen boil-off as well. To mature these technologies and make them available for exploration missions, NASA is currently funding four contractors to define an appropriate cryogenic propellant storage and transfer technology demonstration mission with a target launch date in 2016.
While not addressed by Griffin in his testimony, one typically hears that including fuel depots in exploration missions significantly decreases the probability of mission success since, as the logic goes, the more launches one needs to conduct a mission the less likely it is they will all be successful. Typical launch reliability is around 98%. Therefore, if a mission requires one launch, the probability of having a successful launch is 0.98. If a mission requires 5 launches, then the probability that all five launches will be successful is 0.90 (0.98 x 0.98 x 0.98 x 0.98 x 0.98); for 12 launches, the probability of successfully launching all payloads would be 0.785. But, if fuel transfer is used to conduct that same mission using two hardware launches and 10 fuel launches, the probability of all launches being successful would be 0.71, if and only if, the hardware is launched first followed by 10 sequential launches transferring fuel directly from the fuel tanker into the departure stage. This assumes all launches have a probability of success of 0.98 and the probability of successful fuel transfer is 0.99.
On the other hand, with a depot, fuel can be launched first followed by mission hardware launch, propellant transfer, and departure. This changes the probability of mission success to the probability of successful hardware launch times the probability of having sufficient fuel on hand times the probability of successfully transferring fuel from the depot to the departure stage. If the probability of successful transfer (docking, transferring, undocking) is 0.99 and only 10 launches are scheduled to provide the required 10 fuel loads, the probability of mission success is 0.701 (0.98 x 0.98 x (0.98 x 0.99)10 x 0.99). However, the probability getting all mission hardware loaded with required propellant can approach 0.95 (0.98 x 0.98 x 0.99 x 0.99996) where 0.99996 is the probability of having 10 or more successful propellant launches and transfers into the depot out of 14 scheduled.
The NASA Ares 5 and HEFT 70 t and 100 t launch vehicle concepts have a higher estimated cost per pound to LEO than existing launch vehicles. Adding additional capability to existing launch vehicles may provide lower marginal cost per increased capability but it does necessarily mean large launch vehicles offer the lowest cost per pound to orbit. Technologies for storing and transferring cryogenic propellants in a low Earth orbit fuel depot exist, have been developed and tested in the lab, and are ready for a planned demonstration space mission in 2016. Conducting exploration missions with fuel depots and smaller launch vehicles offer similar probabilities of launch success as using two or three large launch vehicles and can drive down launch costs as rates increase as well as offering increased flexibility and lower cost per launch failure.
NASA cannot accurately predict the future flight rate of the SLS or its infrastructure cost. Currently there are only two planned flights for SLS, one in December 2017 and one in 2021. SLS will use many of the now-inefficient system processes used for shuttle. This is not a personal attack on the brilliant men and women who supported shuttle. This is just simply pointing out the bureaucracy that has not allowed NASA to innovate processes and systems in operations in the same fashion as the private sector.
It is fair to say that SLS will have similar costs to shuttle for infrastructure. If we believe Griffin’s testimony, the shuttle infrastructure costs $2.3 billion a year for the first launch and $300 million for each subsequent launch. This economic model is a fiscally irresponsible position to take in our current political climate. Expending billions of dollars and human resources for infrastructure will limit the exploration and settlement capabilities of the United States.
Depots allow NASA to use existing EELV integration and launch infrastructure that is considerably less expensive. This savings could then be passed on to do other things, like develop a lunar lander or a nuclear propulsion module, both of which are unfunded and off the radar with the SLS option. This is a win/win/win scenario that everyone should get behind.
NASA wins: They get a modular architecture that allows customization. However, NASA should not fall into the paradigm that depots can only be used for HSF. Depots can be used for science missions as well. NASA can also divert more money to programs that are subjected to SLS pressures. At the September hearing everyone acknowledged that our commercial crew partners would be the first to return Americans to space. At that same hearing former astronaut Gene Cernan stated that America would need nuclear propulsion to go to Mars. Propellant depots allow for both the commercial crew and technology budgets to be bumped up.
The free market wins: By using depots, the free market will also invest their own resources to help develop the technology. Through mechanisms like Space Act Agreements with milestone payments, NASA can have that limited government oversight that everyone would agree we need. Different companies will have different approaches to achieving the requirements set by NASA. Corporations will put their “own skin in the game”. This will drive costs down with multiple options available. Free market competition will spur further innovation that will only benefit the American space program.
The American taxpayer wins: They are wary of government failure. NASA simply cannot afford another Constellation or James Webb Space Telescope. The reasons for program costs overruns and schedule slips is inconsequential. They have happened and we need to recognize and learn from these mistakes. Everyone, from the administrator on down to the engineers in the trenches, needs to understand that we will not get another chance at this. The taxpayers are watching their government more than ever. As a bonus, the many launches required for propellant depots would not only help drive down EELV costs but also provide a reason for vacationers to visit the Space Coast.
The information presented here proves that the propellant depot architecture is a viable alternative to the Space Launch System. Just as importantly, the propellant depot strategy fits within the country’s need for programs that are in sound monetary policy. NASA needs a strategy that NASA leaders and employees can back in private, as well as in public.

Low cost orbital access key to solve extinction—changes the political calculations for going to war
Collins and Autino 10 - * Life & Environmental Science, Azabu University AND Andromeda Inc., Italy (Patrick and Adriano, “What the growth of a space tourism industry could contribute to employment, economic growth, environmental protection, education, culture and world peace,” Acta Astronautica 66 (2010) 1553–1562, science direct)

The major source of social friction, including international friction, has surely always been unequal access to resources. People fight to control the valuable resources on and under the land, and in and under the sea. The natural resources of Earth are limited in quantity, and economically accessible resources even more so. As the population grows, and demand grows for a higher material standard of living, industrial activity grows exponentially. The threat of resources becoming scarce has led to the concept of ‘‘Resource Wars’’. Having begun long ago with wars to control the gold and diamonds of Africa and South America, and oil in the Middle East, the current phase is at centre stage of world events today [37]. A particular danger of ‘‘resource wars’’ is that, if the general public can be persuaded to support them, they may become impossible to stop as resources become increasingly scarce. Many commentators have noted the similarity of the language of US and UK government advocates of ‘‘war on terror’’ to the language of the novel ‘‘1984’’ which describes a dystopian future of endless, fraudulent war in which citizens are reduced to slaves.
7.1. Expansion into near-Earth space is the only alternative to endless ‘‘resource wars’’
As an alternative to the ‘‘resource wars’’ already devastating many countries today, opening access to the unlimited resources of near-Earth space could clearly facilitate world peace and security. The US National Security Space Office, at the start of its report on the potential of space-based solar power (SSP) published in early 2007, stated: ‘‘Expanding human populations and declining natural resources are potential sources of local and strategic conflict in the 21st Century, and many see energy as the foremost threat to national security’’ [38]. The report ended by encouraging urgent research on the feasibility of SSP: ‘‘Considering the timescales that are involved, and the exponential growth of population and resource pressures within that same strategic period, it is imperative that this work for ‘‘drilling up’’ vs. drilling down for energy security begins immediately’’ [38].
Although the use of extra-terrestrial resources on a substantial scale may still be some decades away, it is important to recognise that simply acknowledging its feasibility using known technology is the surest way of ending the threat of resource wars. That is, if it is assumed that the resources available for human use are limited to those on Earth, then it can be argued that resource wars are inescapable [22,37]. If, by contrast, it is assumed that the resources of space are economically accessible, this not only eliminates the need for resource wars, it can also preserve the benefits of civilisation which are being eroded today by ‘‘resource war-mongers’’, most notably the governments of the ‘‘Anglo-Saxon’’ countries and their ‘‘neo-con’’ advisers. It is also worth noting that the $1 trillion that these have already committed to wars in the Middle-East in the 21st century is orders of magnitude more than the public investment needed to aid companies sufficiently to start the commercial use of space resources.
Industrial and financial groups which profit from monopolistic control of terrestrial supplies of various natural resources, like those which profit from wars, have an economic interest in protecting their profitable situation. However, these groups’ continuing profits are justified neither by capitalism nor by democracy: they could be preserved only by maintaining the pretence that use of space resources is not feasible, and by preventing the development of low-cost space travel. Once the feasibility of low-cost space travel is understood, ‘‘resource wars’’ are clearly foolish as well as tragic. A visiting extra-terrestrial would be pityingly amused at the foolish antics of homo sapiens using longrange rockets to fight each other over dwindling terrestrial resources—rather than using the same rockets to travel in space and have the use of all the resources they need!
7.2. High return in safety from extra-terrestrial settlement
Investment in low-cost orbital access and other space infrastructure will facilitate the establishment of settlements on the Moon, Mars, asteroids and in man-made space structures. In the first phase, development of new regulatory infrastructure in various Earth orbits, including property/usufruct rights, real estate, mortgage financing and insurance, traffic management, pilotage, policing and other services will enable the population living in Earth orbits to grow very large. Such activities aimed at making near-Earth space habitable are the logical extension of humans’ historical spread over the surface of the Earth. As trade spreads through near-Earth space, settlements are likely to follow, of which the inhabitants will add to the wealth of different cultures which humans have created in the many different environments in which they live.
Success of such extra-terrestrial settlements will have the additional benefit of reducing the danger of human extinction due to planet-wide or cosmic accidents [27]. These horrors include both man-made disasters such as nuclear war, plagues or growing pollution, and natural disasters such as super-volcanoes or asteroid impact. It is hard to think of any objective that is more important than preserving peace. Weapons developed in recent decades are so destructive, and have such horrific, long-term side-effects that their use should be discouraged as strongly as possible by the international community. Hence, reducing the incentive to use these weapons by rapidly developing the ability to use space-based resources on a large scale is surely equally important [11,16]. The achievement of this depends on low space travel costs which, at the present time, appear to be achievable only through the development of a vigorous space tourism industry.
8. Summary
As discussed above, if space travel services had started during the 1950s, the space industry would be enormously more developed than it is today. Hence the failure to develop passenger space travel has seriously distorted the path taken by humans’ technological and economic development since WW2, away from the path which would have been followed if capitalism and democracy operated as intended. Technological know-how which could have been used to supply services which are known to be very popular with a large proportion of the population has not been used for that purpose, while waste and suffering due to the unemployment and environmental damage caused by the resulting lack of new industrial opportunities have increased.
In response, policies should be implemented urgently to correct this error, and to catch up with the possibilities for industrial and economic growth that have been ignored for so long. This policy renewal is urgent because of the growing dangers of unemployment, economic stagnation, environmental pollution, educational and cultural decline, resource wars and loss of civil liberties which face civilisation today. In order to achieve the necessary progress there is a particular need for collaboration between those working in the two fields of civil aviation and civil space. Although the word ‘‘aerospace’’ is widely used, it is largely a misnomer since these two fields are in practice quite separate. True ‘‘aerospace’’ collaboration to realise passenger space travel will develop the wonderful profusion of possibilities outlined above.
8.1. Heaven or hell on Earth?
As discussed above, the claim that the Earth’s resources are running out is used to justify wars which may never end: present-day rhetoric about ‘‘the long war’’ or ‘‘100 years war’’ in Iraq and Afghanistan are current examples. If political leaders do not change their viewpoint, the recent aggression by the rich ‘‘Anglo-Saxon’’ countries, and their cutting back of traditional civil liberties, are ominous for the future. However, this ‘‘hellish’’ vision of endless war is based on an assumption about a single number—the future cost of travel to orbit—about which a different assumption leads to a ‘‘heavenly’’ vision of peace and ever-rising living standards for everyone. If this cost stays above 10,000 Euros/kg, where it has been unchanged for nearly 50 years, the prospects for humanity are bleak. But if humans make the necessary effort, and use the tiny amount of resources needed to develop vehicles for passenger space travel, then this cost will fall to 100 Euros/kg, the use of extra-terrestrial resources will become economic, and arguments for resource wars will evaporate entirely. The main reason why this has not yet happened seems to be lack of understanding of the myriad opportunities by investors and policy-makers. Now that the potential to catch up half a century of delay in the growth of space travel is becoming understood, continuing to spend 20 billion Euro-equivalents/year on government space activities, while continuing to invest nothing in developing passenger space travel, would be a gross failure of economic policy, and strongly contrary to the economic and social interests of the public. Correcting this error, even after such a costly delay, will ameliorate many problems in the world today.
As this policy error is corrected, and investment in profitable space projects grows rapidly in coming years, we can look forward to a growing world-wide boom. Viewed as a whole, humans’ industrial activities have been seriously underperforming for decades, due to the failure to exploit these immensely promising fields of activity. The tens of thousands of unemployed space engineers in Russia, America and Europe alone are a huge waste. The potential manpower in rapidly developing India and China is clearly vast. The hundreds of millions of disappointed young people who have been taught that they cannot travel in space are another enormous wasted resource.
We do not know for certain when the above scenario will be realised. However, it could have such enormous value that considerable expenditure is justified in order to study its feasibility in detail [5]. At the very least, vigorous investment by both private and public sectors in a range of different sub-orbital passenger vehicle projects and related businesses is highly desirable. Fortunately, the ambitious and rapid investment by the Indian and Chinese governments in growing space capabilities may finally jolt the space industries of Russia, America, Europe and Japan out of their long economic stagnation, and induce them to apply their accumulated know-how to economically valuable activities—notably supplying widely popular travel services to the general public.

Contention three: NASA

The SLS will cause political backlash that causes massive NASA budget cuts—plan solves
Matthews 11 (Mark, Orlando Sentinel, Washington Bureau, “New NASA moon rocket could cost $38 billion”,, ZBurdette)

The rocket and capsule that NASA is proposing to return astronauts to the moon would fly just twice in the next 10 years and cost as much as $38 billion, according to internal NASA documents obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.
The money would pay for a new heavy-lift rocket and Apollo-like crew capsule that eventually could take astronauts to the moon and beyond. But it would not be enough to pay for a lunar landing — or for more than one manned test flight, in 2021.
That timeline and price tag could pose serious problems for supporters of the new spacecraft, which is being built from recycled parts of the shuttle and the now-defunct Constellation moon program. It effectively means that it will take the U.S. manned-space program more than 50 years — if ever — to duplicate its 1969 landing on the moon.
That is certain to infuriate NASA supporters in Congress, who last year ordered NASA to build a new heavy-lift rocket by December 2016 — a deadline the agency says it can't meet. And it may well convince others there's no good reason not to slash NASA's budget as part of a recent deal to cut federal spending by at least $2.1 trillion over 10 years.
"It's easier to balance the budget by going after the big numbers rather than the little numbers," said Howard McCurdy, a space expert at American University. He said the new rocket might be spared if NASA keeps the program within its budget — a big if considering NASA's past history of significant cost overruns.
"That's what is going to get them [NASA officials] in trouble, if they come back hat in hand asking for money," McCurdy said.
According to preliminary NASA estimates, it would cost between $17 billion and $22 billion to ready the new rocket and Orion capsule for a test flight in December 2017 that would put an unmanned capsule into a lunar orbit. An additional $12 billion to $16 billion would be needed to launch the first crew on a lunar flyby in August 2021.
NASA spokesman David Weaver said nothing was final, however, and that the agency still was crunching numbers. "We want to get this right and ensure we have a sustainable program so we don't repeat the mistakes of the past," Weaver said in a statement.
The preliminary estimate is NASA's first step to forecast the cost of the fledgling program.
The agency also has contracted with Booz Allen Hamilton, a Virginia consulting firm, to conduct an independent assessment. The firm's findings are expected in mid-August, and even agency insiders expect Booz Allen Hamilton to come back with a higher price tag given NASA's history of lowballing initial cost estimates.
Since 1990, the agency has been classified as "high risk" for cost overruns by the Government Accountability Office, Congress' financial watchdog, and studies of NASA programs by the Congressional Budget Office found overruns of 50 percent or more were routine.
The high cost and 10-year schedule comes despite a 2010 agreement by Congress and the White House that all but requires NASA to rely on existing shuttle parts and remnants of the now-defunct Constellation moon program, which cost taxpayers $13.1 billion through April without producing a flyable rocket or capsule. The intent was to get the rocket built quickly and comparatively cheaply.
While NASA has not officially announced a design, internal NASA documents show the agency intends to replicate much of the shuttle design, retaining the shuttle's orange fuel tank and side-mounted boosters. The planelike orbiter would be replaced by the Orion capsule, left over from the Constellation program, atop the tank.
U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., a frequent NASA critic, said the money would be better spent by investing in commercial rocket companies or converting existing military rockets — rather than recycling equipment from NASA's scrap yard.
"This is an absolute waste of borrowed money," said Rohrabacher in a statement, who added that "for much, much less than $38 billion" NASA could invest in new technologies — such as orbiting fuel depots — that would help NASA use military or commercial rockets and "explore the solar system with our existing American launch vehicle fleet."
NASA has been working to jump start a commercial space industry that would ferry crew and cargo to the International Space Station this decade. And while the rockets and capsules are smaller and less complex than would be required to go to the moon, initial cost estimates for commercial spaceflight appear much lower than NASA's numbers.
On Thursday, Boeing announced that it intended to build its own capsule to fly aboard an existing rocket, the Atlas V, which it said could be ready to fly crew to the space station by 2015.
John Elbon, manager of Boeing's commercial crew program, said the company could meet the milestone if it received some of the $850 million per year that President Barack Obama has requested over the next five years for commercial spaceflight.
"Those numbers are in the neighborhood of what it would take to make this program successful, so I would hope Congress would consider funding the program at or near those levels," Elbon said.
Another contender is SpaceX of California, which last year designed, built and flew its Dragon capsule into orbit and safely returned it to Earth for less than $1 billion. Founder Elon Musk has told friends that he thinks SpaceX could build a rocket able to fly to the moon for around $3 billion.
One champion of the new government-run rocket program, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said in 2010 that if NASA cannot build a new heavy-lift rocket by 2016 for $11.5 billion, "we ought to question whether or not we can build a rocket."
When asked about the preliminary cost and schedule estimates — and whether Nelson stood by that statement — Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin wrote in an email: "… everything is under review by omb [Office of Management and Budget] and others and subject to change."

Funding for other NASA programs will be devoured
Matthews 11 (Mark, Orlando Sentinel, “NASA's smaller programs could be at risk”,, ZBurdette)

The cost of NASA's two flagship programs — a new space telescope and its next rocket — is poised to devour much of the agency's shrinking budget in coming years, putting at risk everything from efforts to develop futuristic spacecraft to returning rocks from Mars, scientists and congressional insiders warn.
At a time when budgets are being slashed government-wide, price estimates for the James Webb Space Telescope and NASA's new rocket and crew capsule either have increased by billions of dollars or are at risk to do so, according to internal NASA documents and external evaluations.
The Webb telescope, a high-tech successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, once was expected to cost $3.5 billion and launch this year. Now, the estimate is $8.7 billion, with a 2018 launch date. And NASA's proposed Space Launch System and Orion capsule — capable of taking humans to the moon and beyond — could run the agency at least $32 billion over the next decade, a figure that auditors caution is likely optimistic.
The trend has alarmed astronomers and others, who are concerned that less-visible projects — such as robotic Mars missions and various space probes — will be sacrificed.
"So, we have one giant money sponge (JWST) already sucking up dollars with yet another money sponge (SLS) on the drawing board. Since the money simply is not there to do either project to begin with, trying to do both of them together will devour funds from smaller NASA programs," wrote Keith Cowing in a recent post on his influential blog NASA Watch.
Heightening concern is the new focus in Congress on spending cuts, leading many to think that NASA's 2010 budget of $18.7 billion won't be repeated. The White House already has asked agencies to submit 2013 budget requests that are 10 percent below their 2011 levels — essentially a $1.85 billion cut to NASA.
"That would be huge," said Richard Anthes, co-chair of a National Academies panel that sought to prioritize Earth space science missions. He said he worried that the number of Earth science missions would decrease from roughly 20 ongoing now to about five in 2020, because dying satellites — that measure everything from winds, clouds and atmospheric pollution to ocean temperatures, currents and salinity — won't be replaced, or their successors will carry fewer instruments.
"We've gone from guarded optimism … to a lot of pessimism," Anthes said.
NASA spends about a fifth of its current budget — about $4 billion — on manned spaceflight; another $2 billion to $3 billion on the International Space Station; about $5 billion on science, like lunar and Martian probes; and the remainder on aeronautics, technology research, education and overhead.
Earlier this year, Webb was expected to cost about $375 million annually — but then the price was bumped from $6.5 billion to $8.7 billion. Investigators last year found that NASA had managed the project poorly and had significantly low-balled the cost of launching a telescope with a 21-foot mirror to a position about 1 million miles from Earth.
The overruns have drained NASA's science budget and contributed to the cancellation of two joint missions with the European Space Agency: one that would have studied supermassive black holes, and another that would have looked at a mysterious cosmic force known as gravitational waves.
"James Webb is the next-generation space telescope and will be marvelous if it ever gets built — but that's the question," said Dan Britt, a professor at the University of Central Florida and incoming chair of planetary sciences at the American Astronomical Society.
Britt, like many scientists, does not doubt the potential of a telescope designed to find the first galaxies in the universe. But he and others are concerned that Webb's cannibalization of NASA's science budget will kill any chance of bold new projects, such as a mission to return soil samples from Mars.
Also at risk, Britt said, are smaller grants of $200,000 or less that help university scientists and students conduct research into topics such as meteorites. "That's a drop in the bucket for Webb that really hammers those who train the next generation of scientists and the ability of U.S. scientists to compete in the world," he said.
For its part, NASA officials said no decision has been made on how Webb's latest overruns would affect other programs. Spokesman Dwayne Brown said those changes would be reflected in NASA's 2013 budget request, due for release in early 2012.
Less clear is the budgetary impact of NASA's next manned spacecraft program.
Last year, Congress and the White House agreed to cancel the troubled 5-year-old Constellation moon program (which cost about $13 billion) and instead build a new rocket and crew capsule that would reuse pieces of both the space shuttle and Constellation programs.
Congress, led by U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, and Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, has pressed President Barack Obama to devote a significant share of NASA's budget toward the effort — a move so far resisted by the administration, which has yet to release an official design for the rocket.
The administration wants to spend more money on programs like technology research, including innovations such as orbiting fuel depots and a solar sail that could be used for deep-space exploration.
Internal NASA documents show the program will be expensive no matter which side wins.
Under the White House plan, NASA would spend $32.5 billion on a rocket that would launch just two missions over the next decade — an unmanned flight in 2017 and a manned mission to loop around the moon in 2021.
The Senate plan would cost more — about $45.6 billion over the next 10 years — but fly more often: an unmanned mission in 2017, a manned mission in 2018 and one a year thereafter. It also includes plans for a far larger "heavy-lift" rocket that would be one of the most powerful ever built.
Both plans, however, assume increased NASA budgets and that the project will stay on time and on budget — something that independent auditors at Booz Allen Hamilton asked to review the spacecraft program said was problematic.

1: Earth Sciences

Scenario 1 is Earth sciences—

Earth sciences are critical to environmental protection—the impact is extinction
Killeen 5 – Phd. Director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (Timothy, 28th April 2005, “Senate Hearing on NASA's Earth Science Program”,, ZBurdette)

First, NASA plays a crucial role in this country's vibrant Earth sciences program. NASA is the dominant federal funding agency for U.S. scientists and engineers who address fundamental questions about our planet, provide practical knowledge about the way the Earth functions, and reveal how human activities affect the environment upon which all life depends. NASA funding for Earth science provides the intellectual capital and scientific infrastructure to produce work that is not just intellectually exciting but critical to human existence. Second, rapid advances in NASA Earth observing capabilities, coupled with revolutionary advances in information technology, have positioned us for an extraordinary new era in Earth science research one in which we can quantitatively understand and predict the Earth as a system, with the temporal and spatial fidelity needed by decision makers at many levels of our society: local, regional, and global. This will lead directly to major societal benefits including: improved national security better weather forecasts and warnings more targeted climate outlooks better management of natural resources including water, agriculture, and energy more effective mitigation of natural disasters such as drought, floods, landslides, and volcanic eruptions. Third, the importance of Earth science and the central role of NASA in this field argue for careful, thorough, and deliberative assessment to inform program planning, especially when major changes are being considered. The current pace of budgetary and program change in NASA is inconsistent with such an approach and could result in irrevocable damage to programs and scientific teams that have taken decades and billions of tax dollars to build. I fully understand that NASA faces many difficult choices arising from the pursuit of ambitious goals in a period of national budget constraints. However, I believe it important to proceed carefully when making decisions regarding important national assets and programs such as those represented within the NASA Earth Science effort.
A. The Importance of Earth Science and NASA's Role
It is clear after decades of pioneering satellite observations that Earth is a system of tightly coupled parts that interact in complex ways to produce the whole. The study of such interactions has become known as Earth system science, and has led to numerous insights about how the Earth functions and how it is evolving and changing over time. To understand how the atmosphere supports and protects life, for example, one must appreciate the complex and tightly coupled circulation dynamics, chemistry, interactions with the oceans, ice, biosphere, and land surface: all driven by solar radiation. And today, the natural system is clearly susceptible to changes due to human activity, creating still more complexity and variability over many scales of time and space. In any foreseeable future, we will have to understand this "system of systems" in order to help create, maintain, safeguard, and guide human societies. Earth system science, based on comprehensive and accurate ground- and space-based observations, is the toolkit that enables such investigation. Furthermore, the manner in which we explore other worlds will be informed by the understanding of our own. For me personally, this "blue marble" photograph taken over 30 years ago by Apollo 17 astronauts on the way to the moon perfectly represents this complex system. You have all seen this incredible picture hundreds of times in advertisements, reports and public media. It is perhaps one of the most significant, but under-sung, societal icons we possess. At NCAR, it is featured in a wall mural. There are many ways to illustrate the importance of NASA's role in supporting
Earth system science in the U.S. In sheer budgetary terms, NASA is the single largest environmental science program supported by the federal government. The widely respected budget analyses of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) indicate that NASA provided 34 percent of the total funding for the environmental sciences in 2004. Much of this spending is devoted to the design, development, and operation of scientific instruments, the spacecraft that carry them, and the data systems required to process, analyze, archive, and distribute data to the scientific community and other users. But it should also be remembered that NASA provides significant resources to university investigators through the research and analysis component of its program.
In fact, leaving spacecraft and data system costs aside, AAAS analyses show that NASA was the third largest provider of competitively awarded extramural funding for the university environmental science community in 2004, trailing only the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Even small reductions in the NASA program have large effects in the university community. This matters both because research and analysis is the process by which useful information is derived from remote sensing systems, and because university-based research activities provide the human capital (undergraduates, graduate students, young researchers and engineers) that underpins the entire space program. The effects of funding perturbations reach far beyond the year in which they occur. The design and development of an Earth observation satellite takes a decade or more, and keeping young scientists and engineers engaged in such work requires some degree of steady ongoing support.
Another way of showing NASA's importance to this field is by looking at what has been accomplished. The scientific and practical results from NASA's Earth science program are much too extensive for me to catalogue here, but two examples can illustrate the unique contribution that NASA has made to our understanding of the Earth's atmosphere and its variations.
Example 1: Ozone depletions The first example is probably well known to you. The ozone "holes" in the Antarctic and Arctic were monitored from space by various NASA satellite systems, including the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS). The diagnosis of the physical and chemical mechanisms responsible for these dangerous changes to our protective ozone shield was made possible by the combination of observations, modeling, and theory supported by NASA. In fact, it was a NASA high-altitude aircraft that made the "smoking gun" measurements that convinced the scientific and policy communities that chlorine compounds produced by various human activities were centrally responsible for the observed ozone loss. Following these observations, international protocols were put in place that are beginning to ameliorate the global-scale ozone loss. The TOMS instrument has provided an ongoing source of data that permits us to track the level of ozone in the stratosphere, the annual opening and closing of the "ozone hole," and how this phenomenon is changing over time. These continuing measurements and analyses and the effective regulatory response have led, among other things, to a reduction in projected deaths from skin cancer worldwide. Example 2: Air Pollution Observations Last week, President Bush mentioned proposed rules to limit air pollution from coal-fired power plants. Air pollution is clearly an important concern. NASA has played a major role in the development of new technologies that can monitor the sources and circulation patterns of air pollution globally. It is another tremendous story of science serving society through innovation. In this case, through an international collaboration, NASA deployed a one-of-a-kind instrument designed to observe global carbon monoxide and its transport from the NASA Terra spacecraft. These animations show the first global observations of air pollution. Sources of carbon monoxide include industrial processes (see, for example, source regions in the Pacific Rim) and fires (for example in Amazonia). These global-scale data from space have helped change our understanding of the relationship between pollution and air quality we now know that pollution is not solely or even primarily a local or regional problem. California's air quality is influenced by industrial activity in Asia, and Europe's air quality is influenced by activities here in America. From such pioneering work, operational systems can now be designed to observe pollution events, the global distribution of chemicals and particulate matter in the atmosphere, and the ways in which these substances interact and affect the ability of the atmosphere to sustain life such a system will undoubtedly underpin future efforts to understand, monitor, and manage air quality globally. Without NASA's commitment to innovation in the Earth sciences, it is hard to believe that such an incredible new capability would be available today. B. The Promise of Earth Observations in the Next Decade The achievements of the last several decades have laid the foundation for an unprecedented era of discovery and innovation in Earth system science. Advances in observing technologies have been accompanied by vast improvements in computing and data processing. When the Earth Observing System satellites were being designed, processing and archiving the data was a central challenge. The Terra satellite produces about 194 gigabytes of raw data per day, which seemed a daunting prospect at the time of its definition. Now laptop memories are measured in gigabytes, students can work with remote sensing datasets on their laptops, and a large data center like NCAR increases our data holdings by about 1000 gigabytes per day. The next generation of high performance computing systems, which will be deployed during the next five years or so, will be petascale systems, meaning that they will be able to process millions of gigabytes of data. The ongoing revolution in information technology has provided us with capabilities we could hardly conceive of when the current generation of Earth observing satellites was being developed. We have just begun to take advantage of the synergies between these technological areas. The U.S., through NASA, is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this technological opportunity. Example 3: Weather Forecasting Weather forecasting in the Southern Hemisphere has been dramatically improved through NASA's contributions, and this experience illustrates the power of remote sensing for further global improvements in weather prediction. The lack of surface-based data in the Southern Hemisphere once meant that predictive skill lagged considerably behind that achieved in the Northern Hemisphere. The improvement in the accuracy of Southern Hemisphere weather forecasting is well documented and almost entirely due to the increased use of remote-sensing data. But improvements in the quality of satellite data were not sufficient. Improvements in data assimilation a family of techniques for integrating observational results into predictive models were also necessary. The combination has resulted in rapid improvement in Southern Hemisphere forecasting, which is now nearly equal to that in northern regions. Data assimilation capabilities continue to advance rapidly. One can now easily conceive of forecast systems that will fuse data from satellites, ground-based systems, databases, and models to provide predictions with unprecedented detail and accuracy perhaps reaching natural limits of predictability. A new generation of weather forecast models with cloud-resolving spatial resolution is coming on line, and these models show significant promise for improving forecast skills across the board. Use of new NASA remote sensing data from upcoming missions such as Calipso (Cloud-Aerosol and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite) and CloudSat will be essential to fully validate and tune these new capabilities which will serve the nation in providing improved hurricane and severe storm prediction, and in the development of numerous decision support systems reliant on state-of-the-art numerical weather prediction capabilities. Example 4: Earth System Models Data from NASA missions are central to constructing more comprehensive and detailed models that will more realistically represent the complexity of the Earth system. Cloud observations from MODIS (the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) and precipitation measurements from GPM (the Global Precipitation Mission), for example, are critical to improving the representation of clouds and the water cycle in such models. Observations from MODIS and Landsat are fundamental to the development of more sophisticated representation of marine and terrestrial ecosystems and atmosphere land surface interactions. The inclusion of this detail will help in the creation of true Earth system models that will enable detailed investigation of the interactions of Earth system processes and multiple environmental stresses within physically consistent simulated systems. In general terms, Earth system observations represent the only means of validating Earth system model predictions. Our confidence in short-term, regional-scale weather predictions is based on how closely they match observed regional conditions. Assessing the performance of global-scale, longer-term model predictions likewise depends on comparing model results with observational records. Scientific confidence in the ability of general circulation models to represent Earth's climate has been greatly enhanced by comparing model results for the last century with the observational records from that period. At the same time, the sparse and uneven nature of past observational records is an ongoing source of uncertainty in the evaluation of model results. The existence of much more comprehensive and consistent global measurements from space such as the data from the NASA Terra, Aqua, and Aura satellites is a giant step forward in this regard, and, if maintained, will enable much more rigorous evaluation of model performance in the future. In summary, Earth system models, with increasing temporal and spatial resolutions and validated predictive capabilities, will be used by industry and governmental decision makers across a host of domains into the foreseeable future. This knowledge base will drive new economies and efficiencies within our society. I believe that requirements flowing from the needs and capabilities of sophisticated Earth system models will be very useful for NASA in developing strategic roadmaps for future missions. C. The Importance of Careful Planning The central role of NASA in supporting Earth system science, the demonstrated success and impact of previous and current NASA missions, and the promise of continued advances in scientific understanding and societal benefits all argue for a careful, analytical approach to major modifications in the NASA Earth science program. As noted above, the development of space systems is a time-consuming and difficult process. Today's actions and plans will have long-term consequences for our nation's capabilities in this area. The link between plans and actions is one of the most important points I want to address today. From the outside, the interagency planning process seems to be experiencing substantial difficulties in maintaining this link. The NASA Earth science program is part of two major Presidential initiatives, the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). With regard to the CCSP, it is not apparent that the strategies and plans developed through the interagency process are having much impact on NASA decision-making. In January 2004, then-Administrator of NASA, Sean O'Keefe, called for acceleration of the NASA Glory mission because of the direct relevance of the mission to understanding the roles of aerosols in the climate system, which is one of the highest-priority science questions defined in the CCSP research strategy. NASA is now proposing cancellation of the mission. As I have emphasized throughout this testimony, the progress of and benefits from Earth system science research are contingent upon close coordination between research, modeling, and observations. The close coordination of program planning among the agencies that support these activities is also a necessity. This coordination currently appears to be fragile. The effect of significant redirections in NASA and reduction in NASA's Earth science effort are equally worrisome in the case of the Administration's GEOSS initiative, which is focused on improving the international coordination of environmental observing systems. Both NASA and NOAA satellite programs are vital to this effort. The science community is very supportive of the GEOSS concept and goals. There are over 100 space-based remote-sensing systems that are either operating or planned by various nations for the next decade. Collaboration among space systems, between space- and ground-based systems, and between suppliers and users of observational data is critical to avoiding duplication of effort and to getting the most out of the investments in observing technology. The tragic example of the Indian Ocean Tsunami demonstrates the need for such coordination. The tsunami was detected and observed before hitting land, but the absence of effective communication links prevented warnings from reaching those who needed them in time. A functioning GEOSS could lead to major improvements in the rapid availability of data and warnings, and the U.S. is right to make development of such a system a priority. But U.S. credibility and leadership of this initiative will be called into question if our nation is unable or unwilling to coordinate and maintain the U.S. programs that make up the core of our proposed contribution. D. Answers to Questions Posed by the Committee My testimony to this point has outlined my views on a series of key issues for the NASA Earth science program. Much of the text found above is relevant to consideration of the specific questions posed by the Committee in its letter of invitation. In this section, I provide more direct answers to these questions to the extent possible and appropriate. How should NASA prioritize currently planned and future missions? What criteria should NASA use in doing so? I believe that NASA should work with the scientific and technical community and its partner agencies to define a NASA Earth science plan that is fully compatible with the overall CCSP and GEOSS science strategies. In my view, the interaction with the scientific and technical community should include both input from and review by the National Research Council (NRC) and direct interaction with the strong national community of Earth science investigators and the aerospace industry who are very familiar with NASA capabilities and developing technological opportunities. Competitive peer review processes should be used appropriately in assessing the merit of competing approaches and in key decision-making. I believe NASA should also find a means of involving users and potential users of NASA-generated data in this process, perhaps through public comment periods or a series of workshops. Sufficient time should be allotted to this process for a careful and deliberative evaluation of options. This science plan should then guide the process of setting mission priorities. Defining criteria to use in comparing and deciding upon potential missions would be an important part of this planning exercise. I would recommend consideration of a set of criteria that include: * compatibility with science priorities in the CCSP and GEOSS science plans * potential scientific return from mission * technological risk * direct and indirect societal benefits * cost. I believe that the decadal planning activity underway at the NRC in response to a request from NASA and NOAA is a valuable step in this process. What are the highest priority unaddressed or unanswered questions in Earth science observations from space? I believe this question is most appropriately addressed through the community process suggested above. There are many important Earth science questions, and prioritizing among them is best done in a deliberative and transparent process that involves extensive input from and discussion by the science community. I would personally cite soil moisture, three-dimensional cloud characteristics, global vector tropospheric winds, pollutant characteristics and transport, carbon fluxes, and aerosol distributions as all high priority measurements to make on a global scale. What have been the most important contributions to society that have come from NASA Earth sciences over the last decade (or two)? NASA Earth science programs have played a key role in developing our understanding of the Earth as a coupled system of inter-related parts, and in the identification and documentation of a series of global-scale changes in the Earth's environment, including ozone depletion, land use and land cover change, loss of biodiversity, and climate change. Other examples of societal contributions include improved weather forecasting, improved understanding of the large-scale climate variations, such as the El Nino-Southern Oscillation and the North Atlantic Oscillation that alter seasonal patterns of rainfall, and improved understanding of the status of and changes in marine and terrestrial ecosystems that contributes to more effective management of natural resources. What future benefits to the nation (societal applications) are possible that NASA Earth sciences could provide? What gaps in our knowledge must we fill before those future benefits are possible? In a broad sense, NASA Earth science activities are part of developing a global Earth information system that can provide ongoing and accurate information about the status of and changes in the atmosphere, oceans, and marine and terrestrial ecosystems that sustain life, including the impact of human activities. The continued development of observation systems, sophisticated Earth system models, data assimilation methods, and information technologies holds the promise of much improved predictions of weather and climate variations and much more effective prediction and warning of natural hazards. Much has already been accomplished to lay the groundwork for such a system, but many important questions remain. Some of the most important have to do with the functioning and human alteration of the Earth's carbon, nitrogen, and water cycles, and how these cycles interact; the regional manifestation of global scale climate change; and the reactions of ecosystems to simultaneous multiple stresses.


The United States federal government should ensure the deployment of a propellant depot architecture.


We will update this part of the wiki as the Woodward Academy tournament progresses. Generally, however, the 2NRs are a disadvantange and a counterplan.

Generic Arguments:

DA - Politics - Cybersecurity

DA - Politics - Jackson-Vanik

DA - Tradeoff - Earth Sciences

DA - Tradeoff - JWST

DA - Tradeoff - DoD Bombers

This page has been updated 5 times since it was created on 3/22/2012. It was last updated on 3/23/2012 by 15Pattabia.