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starship-design: FW: SSRT: Space Access Update no. 82 (fwd)

-----Original Message-----
From: listserv@ds.cc.utexas.edu [mailto:listserv@ds.cc.utexas.edu] On
Behalf Of Chris W. Johnson
Sent: Friday, May 14, 1999 11:40 AM
To: Single Stage Rocket Technology News
Subject: SSRT: Space Access Update no. 82 (fwd)

Date: Thu, 13 May 1999 20:10:36 -0400 (EDT)
From: Donald L Doughty <spacelst@world.std.com>
To: DC-X <delta-clipper@world.std.com>
Subject:  Space Access Update #82  5/12/99
Reply-To: delta-clipper@world.std.com

                  Space Access Update #82  5/12/99
               Copyright 1999 by Space Access Society

Just some quick notes this issue...

 - Branson Tours Rotary Rocket's Mojave Facility

 - Political Followup - Senate and House NASA Authorizations

 - SA'99 New Site & Schedule Succeed, Space Access'00 Planned For
   April 27-29 2000

This just in: Richard Branson today toured Rotary Rocket Company's
Mojave manufacturing and test facility.  Branson, an airline
executive/owner (Virgin Atlantic Airways) and sportsman/adventurer
(several around-the-world balloon flight attempts) recently
announced he plans a space tourism company (Virgin Galactic
Spaceways) once suitable transports are available, and went on to
mention Rotary Rocket's Roton as the closest to being ready of those
looked into.  This touched off a flurry of rumors about a Branson
investment in Rotary, but Rotary representatives have been careful
not to confirm or deny any such negotiations are underway.

(Rotary's Gary Hudson did confirm at our recent Space Access'99
conference that to date his company has raised $30 million of the
$150 million their development plans call for.)

It seems a pretty safe bet under the circumstances that Rotary is in
fact negotiating with Branson over an investment, and that this will
likely be public knowledge soon - a crew from CBS was in evidence
today in Mojave.

Meanwhile, back at the Congress, a progress report on the political
alerts we've put out recently.  The Senate Commerce Committee marked
up their NASA Authorization on schedule last week; the most
noteworthy change was addition of $150 million "for future planning
(space launch)" in FY'00.  We expected something like this and can't
take credit - it looks likely to be for "Spaceliner 100"; we hope to
convince key Senators to support our low-cost rocket ops demontrator
program in addition to/instead of this.  Your contacts were a step
forward in this effort.

The House Science Committee postponed their NASA Authorization
markup for a week, to tomorrow, Thursday May 13th, to give them more
time to work on various issues.  If you haven't yet contacted your
member of the Committee (assuming you have one) tomorrow morning is
the final deadline for this markup.  We're cautiously optimistic
about some additional "Future-X" money here plus some language
favorable to low-cost ops demos and the entrepreneurial startups.

The Authorizations markups were the warmup, mind.  Now comes the
main event, the NASA Appropriations markups, where the actual money
is allocated.  We'll likely be asking for all-out efforts on these
in the next week or two - stay tuned.

Space Access'99 went well, from an organizational point of view.
Attendance was down slightly from last year, about what we expected
given the late start we got after losing our old hotel.  The new
hotel worked out well, though - more modern and comfortable than the
old Safari Resort, with a very helpful and friendly staff and a nice
restaurant.  The local shopping and restaurants aren't quite as
upscale as in downtown Scottsdale, but they're close by, they're
decent, and the neighborhood is very relaxed and suburban.  Our
experiment with a Thursday evening - Saturday night schedule went
extremely well, with much less airline-schedule-induced attendance
dropoff late in the conference than under the old Friday-Sunday
setup - we'll be doing Thursday-Saturday next year too.  We're
looking at April 27-29 2000 now - it was pointed out to us that the
previous weekend is Easter next year, and we try to avoid conflicts
with organizations larger than us.  We are talking to the same hotel
again about a contract for that weekend; we hope to have the site
and date for next year pinned down ASAP.

More on the full program another time - for now, we'll just say that
we've finally seen video of laser propulsion actually working, after
twenty years of viewgraphs.  Time flies when you're having fun...

To everybody who made SA'99 a success - thanks!

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 unedited and
in its entirety.

 Space Access Society

 "Reach low orbit and you're halfway to anywhere in the Solar System"

                                        - Robert Anson Heinlein