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Statement of Walt Faulconer Before the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

Status Report From: House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Statement of Walt Faulconer President, FCG, LLC

Before the

Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics U.S. House of Representatives

Hearing on:

Keeping Our Sights on Mars: A Review of NASA’s Deep Space Exploration Programs and Lunar Proposal

May 8, 2019

Statement of Walt Faulconer

Before the

Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics U.S. House of Representatives

Hearing on:

Keeping Our Sights on Mars: A Review of NASA’s Deep Space Exploration Programs and Lunar Proposal

May 8, 2019

Chairwoman Johnson, Ranking Member Lucas and members of the subcommittee, I am honored to be here today to discuss and support NASA’s deep space exploration programs first returning the United States to the surface of the moon by 2024 and on to Mars in the 2030s. This year while we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, China, India and Israel are sending their craft to the moon. Where is the United States? We are currently facing a formidable challenge from China to surpass our leadership in certain critical areas such as Deep Space Exploration Programs and Lunar exploration. I for one actually welcome this challenge because it helps us to focus and galvanize to maintain our leadership in space. Leveraging over 60 years of experience that brought us the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station and now new craft like SLS/Orion, CST100, New Shepherd, DreamChaser, Cygnus, and Dragon we have an armada of capabilities to build upon to return to the moon and head on to Mars.

I applaud the goal of returning to the surface of the Moon by 2024 because it provides needed urgency and focus. It is also achievable. It took us 7 years from President Kennedy’s speech in September 1962 starting with very little to get to the Moon with Apollo 11 in July 1969. In fact, when President Kennedy gave us the challenge to go to the moon, only 3 Americans had flown in space, Shepard, Grissom and Glenn. That was it. In 1964, five years before the Apollo 11 mission, launch of the powerful Saturn V was still more than two years away. And this time it will be different when we go back to the moon because besides investing in these craft over the past 10 years, we will be going with our international partners and a robust commercial industry.

The second core requirement is to go back to the Moon in a sustainable way. We are going back to stay. That means we have to address what we are going to do on the Moon after we get back in 2024. As I addressed in the paper I provided you, there are key questions we will be able to answer on the Moon in our endeavor to explore including:

- Science questions – we have discovered many new questions and science pursuits since the Apollo program and that includes things called lunar swirls, “skylights” and applied science providing ground truth to the resources and minerals we have seen from orbit.

- Exploration questions – Do humans have a future in space, can we “live off the land”, and what adjustments to our plan do we have to make based on what we learn along the way?

- Business questions – Is there a sustainable commercial business on or around the moon?

- National Interest questions – How do we ensure American leadership in space?

The third core requirement is keeping our sights on Mars. We need an approach that is extensible to getting us to Mars. The National Academy Pathways study that Dr. Luine represents had a key recommendation to maintain long-term focus on Mars as the horizon goal for Human space exploration. It is correct, but let’s face it, we’re not ready to go to Mars today because the risk is too high. One of the studies going on at JPL for example is looking at quantifying the risk and determining how much of the risk can be retired by going to the surface of the Moon, or identifying what risks are not being retired by anything we’re planning. That will be important to help create an extensible exploration architecture, starting with the end goal in mind. When we go back to the Moon we need to learn how to live off of the land, live for longer durations and deal with the hazards that astronauts will face on Mars. All of this will be essential to understand before we send humans on that very long journey to Mars.

We can achieve these goals but our largest challenge is not the technology, engineering or ingenuity rather it is overcoming the institutional momentum that slows the process down, keeps the status quo, and protects rice bowls or “programs of record”. We need to organize and streamline for success. When Dr. George Mueller came to NASA from Bell Labs to lead us getting to the Moon in 1963 he recognized that NASA even in its infancy needed to be re- organized and refocused from top to bottom. He bravely and fearlessly took on the establishment and streamlined program efficiencies borrowing from the success of the Air Force minuteman program while strengthening independent system engineering with bringing on Bellcom to provide the needed enterprise level systems engineering and integration. All of this can be accomplished with courageous leadership - leadership of this committee and people at this

table. I look forward to very soon seeing American’s walking again on the surface of the moon and soon after walking on Mars.

As President Kennedy Stated, “The goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills. A challenge we are willing to accept and one we are unwilling to postpone” Thank you very much for opportunity to appear before this committee and I look forward to your questions.

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