Anderson, Christopher. "Societies Drop Opposition to Station," Science 265 (15 July 1994), p.

 

Anderson, Christopher. "Societies Drop Opposition to Station," Science 265 (15 July 1994), p.
311.

Ah, the politics of science. In the last few years, various scientific societies have opposed the
construction of the space station. But this year, things are different. Now societies are in support
of the station. What's changed?

NASA stopped speaking of the station as a scientific project and now talks about it in terms of
jobs, the cooperation of the Russians in the enterprise, and the potential to inspire. This has
helped.

"Opposing the station also put the societies at odds with powerful political forces, including the
President, key congressional leaders, and the aerospace industry. Several society heads report
veiled threats from Congress that opposing the station could hurt the chances of other
space-science missions. And NASA administrator Daniel Goldin's ‘reputation for vindictiveness
is well established.'"

The American Astronomical Society has come around to seeing the virtues of the station and
realizing that opposition to it hurt the entire scientific community. Executive Director of that
society, Peter Boyce denies "a rumor that the society had traded its support for the station in 1992
for a promise of $10 million in constructions funds for the Keck II telescope. But he
acknowledges that it is susceptible to political arm twisting. ‘The Administration really wants to
do the space station, and over the years they did get to us,' Boyce says. ‘I learned that you just
don;t get anywhere by trying to cut down somebody else's program to help your own.' He says
he learned one other lesson: ‘It just didn't make sense to wage a battle that didn't look
winnable.'"