The overall record of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration during the nearly 30 years of its existence has been a brilliantly successful one, in many different ways.

NASA has provided the scientific and technical foundations for a wide array of direct human services, most notably in worldwide communications, in improved understanding of the physical and chemical conditions for all forms of life on Earth, and in the global survey of natural resources. It has sponsored a golden age of advances in our knowledge of the solar system and of the remote astronomical universe, and it has achieved the popular cultural objective of flying human crews in space, most notably to and from the moon.

But despite all of these successes and our truly enormous potential for space activities, our national launching capability has been in a state of nearly total paralysis for a period of at least two and...

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