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starship-design: FW: SSRT: Space Access Update no. 77 (fwd)

My own added comments:

This is the one "backup" program that should not have been cut. It is not 
just a crucial defense technology (even my six year old son understands the 
importance of controlling the high ground) but it was the single program 
outside of NASA's influence that seemed to have a chance of producing real, 
beneficial technological advances. By cutting this program, for whatever 
reasons, Hamre has just hamstrung America's chance to maintain its 
technological lead in space research.

Lee Parker

-----Original Message-----
From:	Chris W. Johnson [SMTP:chrisj@mail.utexas.edu]
Sent:	Friday, October 17, 1997 12:43 PM
To:	Single Stage Rocket Technology News
Subject:	SSRT: Space Access Update no. 77 (fwd)

Date: Fri, 17 Oct 1997 01:50:46 -0400 (EDT)
From: NSS List Account <nsslists@world.std.com>
To: DC-X <delta-clipper@world.std.com>
Subject: Space Access Update #77  10/16/97 (fwd)
Reply-To: delta-clipper@world.std.com

                    Space Access Update #77  10/16/97
                 Copyright 1997 by Space Access Society

stories this issue:

 - Air Force "Spaceplane" Startup Funding Line-Item Vetoed

  ** SAS Alert: Contact Your Representative, Both Senators, ASAP **
       Urge Override of Defense Appropriation Line-Item Vetoes


(Space Access Society's sole purpose is to promote near-term radical
reductions in the cost of reaching space.  You may redistribute this
Update in any medium you choose, as long as you do it whole and intact.
Contact us for permission to use excerpts beyond "fair use" limits.)

               Cheap Space Access Tech Development Vetoed

On advice of Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre, the President
marked the fiftieth anniversary of Chuck Yeager's historic sound-barrier
mission by line-item vetoing both the present and the future of ultra
high-speed flight.  Leading the list of thirteen vetoed items from the
FY'98 DOD Appropriation were $39m continued operations funding for the
SR-71 high speed reconaissance/research aircraft, plus $10m startup
funding for a USAF low-cost/fast-turnaround reusable rocket technology
program known as "Military Spaceplane" or MSP.  (SAS has strongly
supported MSP as having significant benefits both commercial and

Also vetoed were the Clementine II miniature asteroid probe and an Army
theatre ASAT technology project, plus nine other small projects the
majority of which were advanced technology development efforts.  Some of
these projects were controversial, but only one ("Defense Techlink Rural
Technology") even made our Pork-O-Meter quiver.  The money saved by
these vetoes is miniscule, $144 million out of a $248 billion FY'98
Defense budget, roughly six one-hundredths of one percent of the total.

We single out Hamre because at the White House press briefing he made it
clear that he was the one who'd come up with the final list of cuts.
(Before his recent promotion to Deputy Secretary of Defense under new
SecDef William Cohen, John Hamre was the OSD [Office of the Secretary of
Defense] Comptroller who shut down DC-X for most of a year by refusing
to release its funding.)  The White House's main purpose in this action
was apparently to establish procedures for how the new line-item veto
power will be exercised - White House OMB Director Frank Raines said
repeatedly that he is focussing on how this will end up changing the
overall White House-Congress relationship in crafting funding bills.

We believe that Deputy SecDef Hamre, in coming up with a list heavily
weighted toward high-payoff advanced technology projects, has allowed
institutional political biases to color his advice to the White House,
has contravened published White House space policy, is damaging the US
technology base (and thus future US national security), and is also
damaging White House relations with Congress, likely with adverse
consequences for smooth implementation of the new line-item veto law.

In the case of Military Spaceplane, we have considerable evidence that
Hamre has also flat-out lied in stating "these are the items for which
we really don't have a military requirement in the Department" and in
assuring the White House of the same.  We have a copy of a letter from
CINCSPACE, the general commanding Air Force Space Command, outlining MSP
progress and calling it a "key program".  We are told CINCSPACE has put
in place a formal military requirement for this program, complete with a
"conops" (concept of operations) and a mention in the Air Force POM
(Program Objective Memorandum, the Air Force's future budget-planning
document).  Hamre's office was informed of all this last Friday; they
apparently chose to ignore these facts and plow ahead regardless.

Without going into detail, the evidence suggests Hamre subscribes to a
school of thought that considers radically cheaper decentralized space
access to be destabilizing, and supports limiting the spread of
affordable launch technology both here and abroad.  We respectfully
suggest that basic missile/spacelaunch technology is spreading wide and
fast despite strenuous efforts to contain it.  Rather than continue
futile attempts to close the barn door after the horse is already gone,
perhaps we should devote a bit more attention to outpacing the
metaphorical horse by developing advanced affordable RLV technology?


                           - Political Alert -

We understand that the procedure for overturning line-item vetoes to a
funding bill is a simple majority up-or-down vote on the whole package.
We strongly urge all interested parties to contact their Representative
and both their Senators, and ask them to support a vote to override
these Defense Appropriation line-item vetoes.  Get contact info at:
   http://www.vote-smart.org     (have your local zipcode ready)

 - Background -

 - What is "Military Spaceplane"?  Nope, it doesn't necessarily have
wings or jet engines.  What it's supposed to work toward is airplane-
like *operating characteristics* - between-mission turnarounds measured
in hours not weeks, ground support by tens of mechanics not hundreds of
white-labcoat types, operating bases that can be set up in days with a
few truckloads of gear, not multi-year construction projects.  The goal
is to be able to fly a variety of space missions on hours rather than
months notice, for a million or so per flight rather than hundreds of
millions.  In the near-term, this would probably mean a reusable rocket.

And yes, Virginia, this capability would have commercial as well as
military applications, and no, NASA X-33 even if it meets every last one
of its stated goals will fall far short of this mark - NASA apparently
had problems envisioning anything beyond modest incremental improvements
to their own current capabilities in setting up X-33.  Some at NASA
still seem to believe it's not their job to develop RLV technology for
any missions but their own, with an implicit dismissal of military and
commercial requirements.

 - US National Space Policy, September 1996: Some Quotes

       Access to and use of space is central for preserving peace and
       protecting U.S. national security as well as civil and commercial
        (2) The goals of the U.S. space program are to:
            (b) Strengthen and maintain the national security of the
            United States;

            (c) Enhance the economic competitiveness, and scientific and
            technical capabilities of the United States;
        (4) The U.S. Government will maintain and coordinate separate
       national security and civil space systems where differing needs

      National Security Space Guidelines

       (3) National security space activities shall contribute to U.S.
       national security by:

        (a) providing support for the United States' inherent right of
            self-defense and our defense commitments to allies and

        (b) deterring, warning, and if necessary, defending against
            enemy attack;

        (c) assuring that hostile forces cannot prevent our own use
            of space;

        (d) countering, if necessary, space systems and services used
            for hostile purposes;

        (e) enhancing operations of U.S. and allied forces;

        (f) ensuring our ability to conduct military and intelligence
            space-related activities;

        (g) satisfying military and intelligence requirements during
            peace and crisis as well as through all levels of conflict;

        (h) supporting the activities of national policy makers, the
            intelligence community, the National Command Authorities,
            combatant commanders and the military services, other
            federal officials, and continuity of government operations.

        (4) Critical capabilities necessary for executing space missions
       must be assured. This requirement will be considered and
       implemented at all stages of architecture and system planning,
       development, acquisition, operation, and support.

    Intersector Guidelines

    The following paragraphs identify priority intersector guidance to
    support major United States space policy objectives.

   (2) Space Transportation

   (a) Assuring reliable and affordable access to space through U.S.
       space transportation capabilities is fundamental to achieving
       national space policy goals. Therefore, the United States will:

                 (i) Balance efforts to modernize existing space
                 transportation capabilities with the need to invest in
                 the development of improved future capabilities;

                 (ii) Maintain a strong transportation capability and
                 technology base to meet national needs for space
                 transport of personnel and payloads;

                 (iii) Promote reduction in the cost of current space
                 transportation systems while improving their
                 reliability, operability, responsiveness, and safety;

                 (iv) Foster technology development and demonstration to
                 support a future decision on the development of next
                 generation reusable space transportation systems that
                 greatly reduce the cost of access to space;


 Space Access Society

 "Reach low orbit and you're halfway to anywhere in the Solar System"
                                        - Robert Anson Heinlein