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starship-design: FW: SSRT: Space Access Update no. 86 (fwd)

-----Original Message-----
From: listserv@ds.cc.utexas.edu [mailto:listserv@ds.cc.utexas.edu] On
Behalf Of Chris W. Johnson
Sent: Monday, June 28, 1999 10:22 PM
To: Single Stage Rocket Technology News
Subject: SSRT: Space Access Update no. 86 (fwd)

Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 19:11:22 -0400 (EDT)
From: Donald L Doughty <spacelst@world.std.com>
To: DC-X <delta-clipper@world.std.com>
Subject: Space Access Update #86  6/25/99 (fwd)
Reply-To: delta-clipper@world.std.com

                  Space Access Update #86  6/25/99
               Copyright 1999 by Space Access Society

Stories This Issue:

 - Rumors Of Rotary's Death Greatly Exaggerated

 - House, Senate NASA Appropriations Markups Both Now Due In July

                         Rotary Rocket News

Apparently some people read a lot more into our Rotary Layoffs story
last week than was there - the company is not dead, it is continuing
operations, and it is in no danger of running out of funds anytime
soon.  It has laid off, as we reported, a large part of its current
staff - exactly how large is still not entirely clear; the best
figure we can come up with is approximately - very approximately -
half their sixty-or-so employees.  The majority (if not the
entirely) of those laid off seems to be the twenty or so "Rocketjet"
rotary engine development team members - Rotary is putting
development of their proprietary high-performance engine on
indefinite hold.

Rotary has meanwhile announced that they plan to use a derivative of
the NASA "Fastrac" low-cost engine in their "PTV", no further
details made public.  This has created considerable confusion, as
Rotary didn't specify the PTV-1, a suborbital test vehicle where
Fastrac's relatively low performance might be acceptable, or PTV-2,
the followon orbital prototype where high engine performance is much
more important.

It is now our understanding that engines derived from Fastrac
(Fastrac itself is too heavy for the application) will power the
PTV-1 suborbital vehicle.  PTV-2 engine options aren't being
discussed at the moment; anything we said would be speculation.
Rotary has stated that while they may revive the Rocketjet in the
future, it is not the engine they expect to use for initial orbital
vehicles - whatever that engine might be, it was selected on the
basis of reduced schedule risk as compared to the Rocketjet.

Meanwhile, Rotary conducted a successful seven-minute test of the
ATV's tip-jet powered landing rotor systems this week.  The miswired
rotor-speed control system was fixed, the overstrained rotor
components were replaced from inventory, and the system is up and
running.  Look for initial ATV flight test, if all goes well, in the
next few weeks.

            House, Senate to act on NASA Funding in July

The Senate postponed initial markup of the NASA (HUD/VA) FY'00
Appropriation from early next week to after the July 4th recess.
The House meanwhile moved its NASA Appropriation up from September
to sometime in July also.  Our best current guess is that this means
the House and Senate have agreed to both stick to the multiyear
deficit-deal budget caps on the HUD/VA Appropriation bill - this
means trouble for NASA, as sticking to the caps will mean an across-
the-board cut of nearly 10% in all discretionary HUD/VA items,
meaning about a billion dollar reduction in NASA rather than the
slight increase that had been anticipated.

All you self-starters out there, start working any Senators or
Representatives you may have on Appropriations - ask them to support
adding modest funding for X-Ops to NASA "Future-X" - if they want to
know how much, well, we could live with $40 million.  It's going to
be a tough budget year, work this one hard.  We'll have a more
detailed alert out once the markup schedule is pinned down.

(And as a bonus for all of you who've read this far, look for
interesting and very positive news out of another of the RLV
startups soon.  More on this the instant it's a done deal...)

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