Space Program | Open Line (1981) - Episode 2


Dr. LeConte Cathey discusses the uses of satellite technology and how the space shuttle could lead to the discovery of other life forms.

The space shuttle provides the opportunity to put delicate satellites up on a permanent basis with large solar panels, and we could power the devices to go into orbit, giving us a long-term, close-up view of other planets. Dr. Cathey also suggests other planets being mined for sources of energy, such as nickel and cobalt and ways of delivery to Earth. He discusses the question of manned space travel to Mars and the difficulty associated with this because of its distance. He mentions that Mars has evidence of water being present, with creek bottoms and lake bottoms, and an atmosphere, but it would have to be pressurized for human beings. 

He discusses the use of satellites to control power grids and measuring land motions and land coverage with satellites for measuring snow water and the level of water in our rivers. He mentions the universal satellite that would be used as a combat control center. He discusses the fact that it will be private industry and the military that support the space program, as government reduced. 

Dr. Cathey discusses the pre-planning in 1972 that led to the development of the space shuttle that we have now seen and how photographs from satellites, including infrared, will be used. When asked if the glamour will be gone, once industry and the military move into this arena, and emphatically states, "No, it will never be gone. How could you look at a launch like that and think the glamour...I had goosebumps on the bottom of my feet, man. You never get over that. That much energy at one time...that's dramatic, no matter how you do it. It will never go away." 

LeConte Cathey died on Feb. 10, 1999..