Debates and Disagreement
There were many issues to be resolved before the question of whether to move forward with a space station could be ready for presidential decision. They included: whether the scientific community or national security community would support a space station program; what was the design of the space station of the station the president would be asked to approve; how much that station would cost; and whether the U.S. space station program would be open to international participation. Those issues were extensively analyzed and debated during the April-August 1983 period. The SIG (Space) study process proved highly bureaucratic, as interested agencies and White House staff offices had widely differing perspectives. There emerged deeply felt disagreements among senior Cabinet officials and White House staff on the wisdom of approving the space station proposal, and by August those disagreements resulted in deadlock. President Reagan at several points during 1983 signaled that he was personally in favor of developing a space station. But Reagan’s decision-making style meant that he did not impose his personal preferences early on in the policy-making process; issues were fully debated before policy options were presented to the president for choice.