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starship-design: FW: SSRT: X-33 Probs., Roton Rollout PR, SAU 80

-----Original Message-----
From: listserv@ds.cc.utexas.edu [mailto:listserv@ds.cc.utexas.edu] On
Behalf Of Chris W. Johnson
Sent: Wednesday, March 03, 1999 3:52 PM
To: Single Stage Rocket Technology News
Subject: SSRT: X-33 Probs., Roton Rollout PR, SAU 80


* X-33 Hydrogen Tank Problems and Schedule Slip
* Roton Rollout Press Release
* X-33 Launch Site Briefing Set for March 5
* Space Access Update no. 80


>From Aviation Week & Space Technology, Jan. 25, 1999, pp. 46-47, "Bonding
Bugs Delay X-33's First Flight" by Michael A. Dornheim.

"First flight of the X-33 single-stage-to-orbit testbed has slipped by
4-7 months due to delamination of the composite sandwich structure of a
liquid hydrogen tank during an autoclave cycle.

"The problem raises questions about being able to reliably manufacture
large sandwich structures, and the ability to non-destructively test the
bond strength between the face and sheet core. The lightweight tank is
key to achieving single-stage-to-orbit performance."

* Delamination of the tank wall occurred on the left-hand tank Dec. 23.
* The tank wall had passed ultrasound tests prior to the delamination.
* A replacement tank wall should be completed by March 25.
* Cost of this incident and its fix is to be under $5 million.
* The right-hand hydrogen tank has already been completed.
* Program schedule slipped one year because of incidents occurring
  between October and December 1998.
* First launch is now expected somewhere between April and July 2000.


From: baalke@kelvin.jpl.nasa.gov (Ron Baalke)
Newsgroups: sci.space.news
Subject: Rotary Rocket Company Debuts Affordable Space Vehicle
Followup-To: sci.space.policy
Date: 3 Mar 1999 17:33 UT

Rotary Rocket Company

Rotary Rocket Company Debuts Affordable Space Vehicle

MOJAVE, Calif., March 1, 1999 -- The Rotary Rocket Company today unveiled
a full-scale demonstrator of its Roton space vehicle before a crowd of
1,200 people, including top officials of NASA and the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA).

Novelist Tom Clancy, a member of the company's board of directors, said the
Roton ``is going to change the world'' by dramatically reducing the cost of
putting satellites and eventually passengers into orbit.

``It is our job as private citizens to make space happen, to make space
where people work, and to make space the place where products are made,''
Clancy told the international media gathered to document the first public
display of the Roton.

The Roton is a completely reusable single-stage space vehicle that returns
to its base in one piece, unlike old-style expendable launch vehicles that
are thrown away on each trip.

``The Roton is designed to launch some of the 2,000 satellites scheduled to
be put into orbit over the next decade, a market worth $50 billion,'' said
Gary C. Hudson, president and CEO of the company. Follow-on vehicles will
serve the space passenger market.

Patti Grace Smith, who is responsible for licensing private spaceships as
the associate administrator of the FAA, said ``I would like to congratulate
the entire Rotary Rocket team on this momentous occasion of the roll-out
of the Roton ATV and wish them the very best as they write this new
chapter in space history.''

Dr. Daniel Mulville, NASA's Chief Engineer, said the space agency welcomed
the innovations that entrepreneurial companies were bringing to the space
launch marketplace.

``We encourage your continued efforts to achieve your goal of becoming a
commercial reusable launch vehicle company. It is your goal, and it is our
goal as well,'' Dr. Mulville said. ``This is truly a significant event as we
move toward the 21st century and realize the vision of low-cost access
to space provided by the commercial sector.''

The Roton demonstrator that debuted today, the Atmospheric Test Vehicle
(ATV), will begin flight tests later this month from the Mojave Airport.
The ATV will carry out low-altitude tests to gather data about the
performance of its unique rotor-blade landing system. The ATV is similar
in concept to the Space Shuttle Enterprise that NASA built to analyze the
landing characteristics of its vehicle before building orbital versions.

Following the ATV flight tests, Rotary Rocket Company will begin
construction of two Prototype Test Vehicles (PTVs) for orbital flight tests
next year. Commercial delivery of communications satellites and other
cargoes to low Earth orbit (150 miles altitude) will follow in 2001.

Roton's ability to launch satellites at low cost will benefit consumers
through affordable high-speed Internet connections via satellite,
less-expensive satellite telephones, and cheaper television programming via
satellite. Existing expendable launchers are expensive, costing $2,000 to
$5,000 per pound of cargo, and they fail at a rate of about one launch in
ten, resulting in the destruction of the satellite payloads. Rotary Rocket
will charge only $1,000 a pound (or less for multiple launch purchases) and
the Roton is designed to land intact in the event of most equipment

The Roton's two pilots are a key safety feature because they will be able to
override Roton's automatic systems if they fail to respond appropriately to
unexpected flight conditions.

The Roton airframe and tankage are built by Scaled Composites, founded by
aviation legend Burt Rutan, creator of the first round-the-world aircraft,
the Voyager. Rotary Rocket is developing Roton's high-efficiency rotary
rocket engine, its landing rotors and its avionics.

Rotary Rocket Company is headquartered in Redwood City, Calif.

For information contact Geoffrey Hughes, director of business development,
at 650-298-3300, or visit the Web site at www.rotaryrocket.com.


From: baalke@kelvin.jpl.nasa.gov (Ron Baalke)
Newsgroups: sci.space.news
Subject: X-33 Launch Site Briefing Set For March 5
Followup-To: sci.space.policy
Date: 3 Mar 1999 17:44 UT

Jim Cast
Headquarters, Washington, DC                    March 3, 1999
(Phone:  202/358-1779)

Dom Amatore
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL
(Phone:  256/544-0031)

Fred Brown
Dryden Flight Research Center, CA
(Phone:  661/258-2663)

Ellen Bendell
Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, CA
(Phone:  661/572-4155)



     NASA and Lockheed Martin X-33 program officials will brief
news media about the completion of construction on the X-33
launch site and its operations at 1 p.m. EST on Friday, March 5.
The briefing will originate from NASA's Dryden Flight Research
Center, Edwards, CA, and will be broadcast on NASA Television.

     Scheduled to participate in the briefing are:

*  Steve Ishmael, NASA X-33 deputy program manager for
operations, Palmdale, CA
*  Carl Meade, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works X-33 manager for
flight assurance, Palmdale, CA

     Construction of the 30-acre, $32 million X-33 Flight
Operations Center began in November 1997 and was completed in
just a little more than 12 months, on time and under budget.
This unique facility marks a dramatic departure from traditional
launch sites.  Designers took advantage of lessons learned over
years of operating launch sites and aircraft facilities to create
a complex that supports aircraft-like operations for a launch
vehicle, which in turn supports the NASA X-33 program's overall
goal of low-cost access to space.

     The X-33 is a half-scale, suborbital technology demonstrator
of a reusable launch vehicle (RLV) Lockheed Martin calls the
VentureStar.  The goal of the program is to demonstrate
advanced technologies that will dramatically increase launch
vehicle reliability and lower the cost of putting a pound of
payload into space from $10,000 to $1,000.

     Currently being developed by NASA and Lockheed Martin Skunk
Works, Palmdale, CA, the X-33 is scheduled for a series of 15
flight tests beginning in mid-2000.  It eventually will fly at
speeds between Mach 13 and 15 and at an altitude of 60 miles to
prove its technologies and systems.

     NASA Television is available on GE-2, Transponder 9C at 85
degrees West longitude, vertical polarization, with a frequency
of 3880 MHz and audio of 6.8 MHz.  News media will be able to ask
questions of the program representatives from participating NASA

                            - end -

Note to television editors:  NASA will uplink launch-site
construction b-roll, and will debut new, extremely high-fidelity
computer animation of the X-33 launch and landing with the
televised briefing.


Date: Mon, 1 Mar 1999 19:28:36 -0500 (EST)
From: Donald L Doughty <spacelst@world.std.com>
To: DC-X <delta-clipper@world.std.com>
Subject: Space Access Update #80  2/28/99 (fwd)
Sender: delta-clipper-approval@world.std.com
Reply-To: delta-clipper@world.std.com

                  Space Access Update #80  2/28/99
               Copyright 1999 by Space Access Society

1998 was a year of transition for the space industry, a year of the
slow build of a number of trends, good and bad.  Now that we're well
into 1999, some of these trends have reached or passed the point where
we think attention is required.  We're back.

But we're also waaaaay behind.  Look for stories in an upcoming
Update on X-33's growing problems, the revived Breaux Bill (just
reintroduced as S.469), NASA Future-X's first major flight vehicle
project, Military Spaceplane's continuing survival, the latest in
the commercial expendable and reusable launch fields, and FAA AST's
progress toward new operating regulations for commercial RLV's.

But before that, coming in SAU #81, SAS's four key policy priorities
for 1999: Fixing the Breaux Bill, funding a new Future-X reusable
rocket operations demonstrator, funding some growth in MSP, and what to
do about X-33.  That Update awaits only some final tweaks.

Space Access Society Notes

    - Space Access '99 Conference Set For April 23-24 in Phoenix

    - A Word From SAS's Executive Director (On Our Low '98 Profile)

Just a quick note - Rotary Rocket Company will officially roll out
their ATV (Atmosphere Test Vehicle landing-mode demonstrator)
tomorrow, Monday March 1st, at 11 am pacific time (2 pm eastern).
Catch the live webcast at http://www.rollout.org, check
http://www.rotaryrocket.com for details.

    - Space Access '99 Conference Set For April 23-24 in Phoenix

We're off to a late start organizing and publicizing SA'99 this
year, due to our old hotel being redeveloped and due to health
problems over the winter.  But there are still two months to go -
plenty of time to book flights, reserve rooms, and sign up!

Space Access '99 hospitality and registration open at 6 pm Thursday
April 22nd 1999, rooms 100 and 102 (off the pool deck) at the
Quality Inn South Mountain, 5121 E LaPuente Ave - go about ten miles
east on I-10 from the Phoenix Airport, turn right off the Elliot
Road exit, take your first right onto 51st Ave, then the next right
to the hotel (just past the Wells Fargo branch.)

Intro sessions will run from 8 pm to 10 pm Thursday.  Main sessions
will run all day Friday the 23rd and Saturday the 24th, with post-
dinner sessions both days.  Registration and SA'99 Hospitality will be
open by 8 am Friday and Saturday.

The speakers list is starting to shape up - some fine "yes's",
including Max Hunter, Rotary Rocket, Pioneer Rocketplane, Universal
Space Lines, and Space Access LLC, plus strong "maybe's" from a
whole bunch more who we intend to pin down in the next week or two,
plus some interesting surprise long shots we're working.  It'll once
again be a cross-section of who's who in the emerging low-cost
launch industry, presenting an informal snapshot of where things are
this spring of 1999.  (Be there or miss out - part of our relaxed
atmosphere and up-to-the-second inside information is that we don't
ask for formal papers and we don't do proceedings.)

Our new hotel is the Quality Inn South Mountain, about ten miles
from the Phoenix Airport via "Super Shuttle" van, in a quiet tree-
lined suburban neighborhood, with a half-dozen restaurants within
easy walking distance, within a mile of the world-class Pointe South
Mountain's resort golf and riding stables.  We were able to work out
a good deal with the Quality Inn, with room rates of $59/$69/$79
plus a location for our famous Space Access Hospitality Suite (yes,
Eileen and the gang will be back) right across the pool deck walkway
from our presentation hall.

The $59/$69/$79 gets you a "standard", "deluxe", or "business class"
room - "standard" is pretty nice, "deluxe" is similar but very recently
redone, "business class" has some extras.  Call (602) 893-3900 for
reservations and mention "Space Access" for the rate.  Book right away
if you can - this is a new hotel for us, and the more rooms we have
booked early, the easier it is to wheedle favors from the hotel to make
it a better conference.

Space Access '99 registration is $100 if received by Wednesday April
21st, $120 at the door, $10 off for SAS members ($30 for one year's
membership), mail checks to SAS, 4855 E Warner Rd #24-150, Phoenix
AZ 85044.  See you there!


RE SAS's low profile last year, a short personal note from yr obdt
servant the Executive Director...

   I began 1998 just a little burnt burnt out after a decade in the
   trenches of the cheap access wars, unable to summon much energy
   for anything short of major priorities.  That passed, between
   rest and the increasingly obvious fact that we hadn't won this
   battle of ideas yet after all - our spacefaring future is still
   very much in doubt.

   By autumn of last year, I was ready to charge back into the fray,
   except for one minor problem  - I was totally unable to summon
   the concentration needed to write clearly about this complex
   scene.  I could see no reason for this; I thought I was going nuts.

   To make a long story short, last month I was diagnosed with
   Lyme disease, a nasty tick-borne bug that gradually, stealthily
   makes you feel like forty-two going on ninety-two.  The good news
   is, a lot of the symptoms clear up fast once treatment begins -
   it was like someone turned on the lights again.  I still tire
   easily and likely will limit travel for a while, but I'm back at
   work.  And not a moment too soon; things are getting interesting
   once again...

   To those of you who went on supporting SAS this last year
   despite our low profile, my heartfelt thanks.

                                        Henry Vanderbilt


Space Access Society's sole purpose is to promote radical reductions
in the cost of reaching space.  You may redistribute this Update in
any medium you choose, as long as you do it unedited in its entirety.

 Space Access Society

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