Maybe there's a clue in this letter, where he seems to have a grudge against "the Clintonistas" who had not been fans of SDI and were too cozy with NASA. Here's the text:
You might want to point out that we also did Clementine as a test of the SDI Brilliant Pebbles concept, and also discovered ice on the moon, for $80 M. It had been sitting there since will before Apollo (say a few B yrs) and NASA never flew to check it out. Part of the motivation was to demonstrate that things could be done cheaply in space, also necessary for effective defense.
The entire Goldin Faster Cheaper Better mantra grew out of SDI, endorsed by the Space Council as you recall, and all of NASA’s current crop of robotic missions are being built off of what SDI developed and tested with Clementine, and the Delta series experiments. But NASA has had a mixed record in implimenting it, the only outfit that is doing it well is APL, a DoD/SDI lab, and Spectrum Astro, an SDI created company.
The threat of SDI, the validation of what Reagan achieved, and the threat of cheap space to NASA and the Clintonistas was large enough that the first use of the line item veto was to torch Clementine follow-ons and DC-X follow-ons. We had to get into space to show the Soviets we were serious and it worked on several fronts.
The lunar ice will alone be worth well more than was ever spent on SDI and its just a side benefit, the current economic benefits to the US as you know of the success of SDI is incalcuable. You might want to post this on the site to respond to our French friends, who by the way have every reason to try to subvert US military space power and use useful mouthpieces along the way.
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