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starship-design: FW: SSRT: Space Access Updsate no. 85 (fwd)

-----Original Message-----
From: listserv@ds.cc.utexas.edu [mailto:listserv@ds.cc.utexas.edu] On
Behalf Of Chris W. Johnson
Sent: Monday, June 21, 1999 8:50 PM
To: Single Stage Rocket Technology News
Subject: SSRT: Space Access Updsate no. 85 (fwd)

Date: Sun, 20 Jun 1999 14:17:28 -0400 (EDT)
From: Donald L Doughty <spacelst@world.std.com>
To: DC-X <delta-clipper@world.std.com>
Subject:  Space Access Update #85  6/18/99
Reply-To: delta-clipper@world.std.com

                  Space Access Update #85  6/18/99
               Copyright 1999 by Space Access Society

Stories This Issue:

 - Rotary Rocket Layoffs, Reorganization

 - NASA Now Faces Significant FY'00 Cuts

                         Rotary Rocket News

This just in - Rotary Rocket Company, of Redwood City and Mojave
California, is laying off a large part of their current staff due to
lack of timely additional investment.  Rotary is approximately $30
million into an overall $150 million program to build, test, and
operate commercially the Roton medium-lift reusable launch vehicle.

We understand that Rotary will retain a small core staff and will
continue preparing their ATV (Aerial Test Vehicle, a systems,
airframe, and landing-mode demonstrator) for its first test flight,
pending reorganization of the company.

[Editorial] We cannot say for certain that recent NASA public
positions implicitly and explicitly advising against investment in
Rotary and other reusable launch startups were directly responsible
for this turn of events.  But they sure didn't help - and NASA's
silence even after we contacted the Administrator's press secretary
back in May, about the New Scientist story slamming the startups
(www.newscientist.com/keysites/netropolitan/19990508netro.html) is

To expand on that specific instance, the New Scientist quote, about
the startups depending on "system gimmicks" to cover for their
"unbelieveable lack of technology" (see SAU #84 for our rebuttal) in
the context of a story on a possible Richard Branson investment on
Rotary, looks to us far too likely to have been a factor in
Branson's presumed non-invest decision.

To amplify and emphasize what we said in SAU #84: We demand an
unambiguous repudiation of the totally unacceptable anti-RLV startup
investment advice voiced in the May 8th New Scientist article.

We also demand that NASA state clearly that it supports the low-cost
launch startups, and that it will contract for their services to
accomplish NASA missions as appropriate, as soon as those services
are available on a regular commercial basis.

                     NASA Budget Cuts Now Likely

In other news just in, for a variety of arcane political reasons,
the Senate and House NASA Appropriators both now look likely to
stick with the deficit-deal budget caps this year after all - this
will mean something on the order of a $1 billion cut in NASA's
budget for the coming year, rather than the moderate increases
everyone had anticipated.  The Senate markups are supposed to start
the week after next.

[Editorial] We will have to think long and hard over the next few
days on what we will fight for, and what we won't.

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 A. Heinlein