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Re: Re: The future...etc.

Kelly and some unidentified person he quotes on 3/17/96 at
11:02 am (I plan someday to be able to decipher your quotes)
say that it is "frustrating being stuck in the 1990s while
trying to design a ship whose technology is really at least
100 years beyond our reach."

What would you think about modifying the purpose of the Project
slightly?  In a Reusable Launch Vehicle Study I ran 30 years
ago (my, how time flies!), we had a purpose you might consider
for this Project.  The purpose was (paraphrased, because the
Report is in my office 26 miles away, and I don't plan on
going in there in the near future) (1) to make an internally
consistent comparison of the different options, with conceptual
design only in enough detail to allow rating them regarding
feasibility and cost, and (2) to determine the advancements in
technology in relation to current levels required to make them
achievable.  While that study mainly considered options
consistent with a decision to develop the Space Shuttle only
five years hence (which we didn't know at that time), it spent
a lot of time examining the competitive standing and techno-
logical requirements for scramjets (aka "the Aerospaceplane"),
which may still be decades in the future today.

Such a comparative study could be a guide to steer future
efforts away from the losers, but mainly would provide the
"mission push" to support advancement in the key technologies.


P.S. To David: While the Interstellar Propulsion Society may
provide a forum to publish sophisticated technical papers, I
view the LIT/SSD as a forum to stimulate and shape the minds
of the emerging generation, who will be around to accomplish
the goals.  I would rather participate in stimulating enthus-
iasm than in deferring to existing authority.  It's a lot
more rewarding to figure how it should be done than to con-
tribute to extending the status quo.  It's better to be part
of an organization where what you say is more important than
how you say it.  I could go on and on...                   -Rex