Press Release

Teal Analyst Urges President’s Moon-Mars Commission to De-Link Missions

By SpaceRef Editor
March 27, 2004
Filed under , ,

Testifying before the President’s
Commission on Moon, Mars and Beyond at the Georgia Centers for Advanced
Telecommunications Technology in Atlanta, GA, Teal Group senior space analyst
Marco Caceres yesterday recommended that one way to improve the long-term
sustainability of President Bush’s new Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) is
to “de-link” the Moon-Mars missions and aim to accomplish each of them in
timeframes of within 10 years.

“It is fine to have a broad plan to send manned missions to the Moon and
then to Mars, but if you keep linking the two, we project that the public will
get confused by ‘information overload’ and eventually tire of hearing about
this grand scheme that will take 20-30 years to achieve, as has been the case
with the International Space Station,” said Caceres.

A central issue which the President’s Commission must address is how to
sustain a long-term program of the magnitude of SEI. The Commission, which is
tasked with developing a plan for implementation of the SEI, is scheduled to
submit a report to the President in June. The contents of the report will be
based, in part, on a series of hearings conducted throughout the US.

Caceres urged Commission Chairman Pete Aldridge and the other nine
Commission members to use the International Space Station as a model of “how
not to do a major space program.”

“There are many lessons to learn from this model, and one of them is that
in order to stay focused on and achieve a specific goal, the program must have
a clear starting point and a clear ending point. And the closer those two
points are to each other, the greater the probability of success …
assuming, of course, sufficient funding.”

Caceres noted that the space industry tends to view the future in terms of
5-10 years out, not 20-30 years. He stressed the importance of working within
10-year timelines in order to maintain political support and hold the public’s

“The ‘within-10-year first-launch timeline’ is a pretty good place for
NASA to start as it seeks to fill in the details of the Space Exploration
Initiative. But the agency cannot do this unless the Moon-Mars efforts are
clearly defined and marketed on their own specific merits … starting with
the Moon, since that’s the mission that is most doable in a reasonable

Caceres cautioned the Commission, “De-link the two missions, otherwise
there is a better than even chance that you end up dooming both.

To receive a copy of Teal Group’s testimony before the President’s
Commission, contact Doug Cornell, 703-573-5374,, or
Marco Caceres, 703-385-1992, x104,

Teal Group Corporation is a defense and aerospace consulting firm based in
Fairfax, Virginia. It provides competitive market intelligence to industry
and government.

SpaceRef staff editor.