After 30 Years Of Dreams, A Wake-Up Call For NASA

In March, a panel of experts, convened by the National Research Council to advise the administration on the latest redesign of the space station Freedom, concluded that the proposed $30 billion monster was unsuited for scientific research. Surprisingly, space station proponents made little attempt to refute this harsh judgment. In a letter to NASA administrator Richard Truly, Vice President Dan Quayle, head of the National Space Council, simply dismissed the concerns of the scientific communit

Robert Park
May 26, 1991
In March, a panel of experts, convened by the National Research Council to advise the administration on the latest redesign of the space station Freedom, concluded that the proposed $30 billion monster was unsuited for scientific research. Surprisingly, space station proponents made little attempt to refute this harsh judgment.

In a letter to NASA administrator Richard Truly, Vice President Dan Quayle, head of the National Space Council, simply dismissed the concerns of the scientific community; science, he shrugged, is only one motivation for building a space station--and not even the most important one. In an apparent reference to the panel's concern that there would be insufficient electrical power on board for scientific experiments, Quayle wrote: "The importance of the Space Station is not in the power of its circuits; it is in the size of the dream."

There you have it. It's the dream that matters. And so it was...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?