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starship-design: FW: SSRT: Space Access Update no. 87 (fwd)

-----Original Message-----
From: listserv@ds.cc.utexas.edu [mailto:listserv@ds.cc.utexas.edu]On
Behalf Of Chris W. Johnson
Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 1999 3:41 PM
To: Single Stage Rocket Technology News
Subject: SSRT: Space Access Update no. 87 (fwd)

You'll find two forwarded items in this message:
(1) Space Access Society Political Alert 07/19/99
(2) Space Access Update #87  7/19/99


Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999 01:19:30 -0400 (EDT)
From: Donald L Doughty <spacelst@world.std.com>
To: DC-X <delta-clipper@world.std.com>
Subject: Space Access Political Alert  7/19/99 (fwd)
Reply-To: delta-clipper@world.std.com

           Space Access Society Political Alert 07/19/99

This one is important - it's one of our top priorities for this
year.  (See Update #81 at www.space-access.org for details.)
Please give it everything you've got.

Summary: The Senate HUD/VA (NASA) Appropriations bill is scheduled for
subcommittee then committee "markup" this week, starting Wednesday
July 21st.  The House equivalent is scheduled for markup starting
next Monday, July 26th.  If your Representative or a Senator from
your state is on the House or Senate Appropriations Committee (see
attached lists) please call fax or write them at their Washington
office and ask them to do two things in the NASA Appropriation

  - Add $50 million to NASA Future-X for reusable rocket low-cost
flight operability demonstrations done as small business setasides,
to encourage increased competition in the space launch business.

  - Do not add any funding for the premature and oversold "Spaceliner
100" airbreathing launch vehicle project, as a matter of priorities.

Background, Item 1: We're pushing for startup funding for one or
more NASA Future-X low-cost fast-turnaround high-speed reusable-
rocket flight operations demonstrators, done as small business
setasides, with a goal of $100 million or less (Future-X
"Pathfinder" class projects) per flight vehicle program.  The majors
all have their own X-rocket projects, none to date very promising as
far as significantly cheaper launch goes.  We think it's time to
give one or more of the entrepreneurial startup launch companies a
chance to show what they can do on a shoestring.

Background, Item 2: The "Spaceliner 100" RBCC-engined (RBCC is a
notional hybrid rocket-airbreather) space launch vehicle project has
been repeatedly oversold in recent months, to the point where we
think the overstated and sometimes downright deceptive claims being
made are actively damaging the already-fragile commercial investment
environment for more proven near-term low-cost launch approaches.

We approve of ongoing research aimed at bringing the various
"Spaceliner 100" technologies closer to ready for prime time.  We
strongly oppose attempts to fund a half-billion-dollar flight
vehicle project based on an as-yet hypothetical engine at the
expense of real current commercial reusable launch vehicle projects.
We think initiation of a $500 million "Spaceliner" flight vehicle
project is both grossly premature in terms of the state of the
technologies involved, and damaging to the near-term chances of
implementing far more mature low-cost launch technologies.

                             How To Do It

If your Representative or one or both of your Senators is on the
lists at the end of this alert, get their DC office address, fax
number, or phone number from www.vote-smart.org. (Alternative: make
a call to your local library information desk.)

Compose a polite concise one-page latter to them, identifying
yourself as a constituent of theirs, telling them what you'd like
them to do, then briefly explaining why - just hit one or two high
points, don't overexplain.  Thank them for their attention, sign the
letter, and send it.  Paper mail is best if it can get there in
time, fax is a close second (a voice call is good too) and email is
way back in last place, as far as the chances of getting attention -
staffers are aware paper mail, faxes, or phone calls take more
effort, so they take these more seriously.

If you can't fax, then phone their DC office number, ask for whoever
handles NASA appropriations questions, then when connected to that
staffer (or more likely their voice mail) tell them briefly who you
are ("I'm Joe Smith from Missouri") and what you want them to do,
then (unless they have questions) thank them for their time and ring


    Space Access Society

Senate Appropriations Committee Members
     * HUD/VA (NASA) Subcommittee member

  - Republicans
Ted Stevens (AK), Chair
Thad Cochran (MS)
Arlen Specter (PA)
Pete Domenici (NM)
Christopher Bond (MO) * (Subcommittee chair)
Slade Gorton (WA)
Mitch McConnell (KY)
Conrad Burns (MT) *
Richard Shelby (AL) *
Judd Gregg (NH)
Robert Bennett (UT)
Ben Nighthorse Campbell (CO)
Larry Craig (ID) *
Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX) *
Jon Kyl (AZ) *

  - Democrats
Robert Byrd (WV), Rnk. Mem. *
Daniel Inouye (HI)
Ernest Hollings (SC)
Patrick Leahy (VT) *
Frank Lautenberg (NJ) *
Tom Harkin (IA) *
Barbara Mikulski (MD) * (Subcommittee RMM)
Harry Reid (NV)
Herbert Kohl (WI)
Patty Murray (WA)
Byron Dorgan (ND)
Dianne Feinstein (CA)
Richard Durbin (IL)

House Appropriations Committee Members
     * HUD/VA Subcommittee member

C.W. Bill Young, Florida, Chairman
Ralph Regula, Ohio
Jerry Lewis, California
John Edward Porter, Illinois
Harold Rogers, Kentucky
Joe Skeen, New Mexico
Frank R. Wolf, Virginia
Tom DeLay, Texas *
Jim Kolbe, Arizona
Ron Packard, California
Sonny Callahan, Alabama
James Walsh, New York * (Subcommittee chair)
Charles H. Taylor, North Carolina
David L. Hobson, Ohio *
Ernest J. Istook, Jr., Oklahoma
Henry Bonilla, Texas
Joe Knollenberg, Michigan *
Dan Miller, Florida
Jay Dickey, Arkansas
Jack Kingston, Georgia
Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, New Jersey *
Roger F. Wicker, Mississippi *
Michael P. Forbes, New York
George R. Nethercutt, Jr., Washington
Randy "Duke" Cunningham, California
Todd Tiahrt, Kansas
Zach Wamp, Tennessee
Tom Latham, Iowa
Anne Northup, Kentucky *
Robert Aderholt, Alabama
Jo Ann Emerson, Missouri
John E. Sununu, New Hampshire *
Kay Granger, Texas
John E. Peterson, Pennsylvania

David R. Obey, Wisconsin
John P. Murtha, Pennsylvania
Norman D. Dicks, Washington
Martin Olav Sabo, Minnesota
Julian C. Dixon, California
Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland
Alan B. Mollohan, West Virginia * (Subcommittee RMM)
Marcy Kaptur, Ohio *
Nancy Pelosi, California
Peter J. Visclosky, Indiana
Nita M. Lowey, New York
Jose E. Serrano, New York
Rosa L. DeLauro, Connecticut
James P. Moran, Virginia
John W. Olver, Massachusetts
Ed Pastor, Arizona
Carrie P. Meek, Florida *
David E. Price, North Carolina *
Chet Edwards, Texas
Robert E. "Bud" Cramer, Jr., Alabama *
James E. Clyburn, South Carolina
Maurice D. Hinchey, New York
Lucille Roybal-Allard, California
Sam Farr, California
Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., Illinois
Carolyn C. Kilpatrick, Michigan
Allen Boyd, Florida



Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999 01:18:40 -0400 (EDT)
From: Donald L Doughty <spacelst@world.std.com>
To: DC-X <delta-clipper@world.std.com>
Subject: Space Access Update #87  7/19/99 (fwd)
Reply-To: delta-clipper@world.std.com

                   Space Access Update #87  7/19/99
                Copyright 1999 by Space Access Society

Stories This Issue:

  - Key Weeks Here For Congressional RLV Funding in NASA, DOD

  - FAA RLV Launch/Reentry Regs Comment Period Closes Tuesday

  - Departed Friends

  - Thirty Years Since "One Small Step" - Editorial


               Key Weeks For Congressional Space Funding

Our two main Federal funding priorities this year are $50 million
new money for NASA Future-X reusable rocket flight ops demos
("X-Ops") done as small-business setasides in order to foster new
competition in the space-launch market, and $35 million in new money
for USAF reusable rocket upper stage work (the X-40B "Space Maneuver
Vehicle").  (See www.space-access.org/updates/sau81.html for more

Congress and the White House continue to maneuver over potential
future surpluses, the '97 deficit deal spending caps, and tax cuts.

Congress is trying to get the actual spending legislation, the dozen
or so Appropriations Bills, done before the August congressional
recess, so as to avoid late-September clock pressure (FY'00 actually
starts October 1st) if the White House vetoes any of them.

The '97 deficit deal caps have been partially dodged till now via
creative accounting, but that won't work this year - the bills are
coming due.  The combination of the post-Kosovo defense increase and
deferred cuts coming home to roost would mean something like a 10%
cut to (among other things) NASA next year, *if* the caps are held
to.  The deficit hawks want to stick to the caps, the White House
wants to forget about them, while much of the Congress is somewhere
in between.  The probable result is a compromise - we'd guess NASA
will still be cut, but likely by a lot less than 10%.

The short version of what this means for us is twofold:

One, the actual money bill for NASA, the HUD, VA, and Independent
Agencies FY'00 Appropriation, is now scheduled to be "marked up" in
committee on the Senate side this coming Wednesday, July 21st, and
in the House on Monday July 26th.  These dates have slipped
repeatedly in recent weeks, but we don't think there's much room for
them to slip more without pushing them into September.

The DOD appropriation, meanwhile, has already been passed by the
Senate (with $25 million for USAF SMV), is likely to be passed by
the House this week (with $12.5 million for USAF SMV), and (our best
guess) will likely go to conference before the August recess - we
plan to push hard for higher funding in the conference.

Two, there will still be considerable pressure on NASA funding.
Getting new money for Future-X reusable rocket flight ops demos,
something we think is key to getting cheap space transportation in
this generation, will take all the push we've got.  We also, alas,
need to oppose startup funding for the "Spaceliner 100" airbreathing
space launcher project, as a matter of priorities - the RBCC engine
technology just isn't there yet, and there simply isn't enough money
to do needed near-term rocket work and start a premature "NASP II"
project also - "Spaceliner" proponents have talked about spending
$500 million through 2004.

If either of your Senators, or your Representative is on an
Appropriations committee (you can check at www.vote-smart.org) we
need you - yes, you - to write them a letter or give them a phone
call, and ask them to:

  - Add $50 million to NASA Future-X for reusable rocket low-cost
flight operations demonstrations done as small business setasides.

  - Do not add any funding for the premature "Spaceliner 100"
project, as a matter of priorities.

The current deadline for the Senate is, Wednesday July 21st for the
HUD/VA subcommittee markup, Thursday for the full Appropriations
committee markup.  In the House, next Monday for the HUD/VA
subcommittee markup, Tuesday the full committee.  These dates may
yet slip again - but even if they do, your timely effort will be a
huge help in getting what's needed in a very tight NASA budget.

For more details on how to do this, see the Alerts we'll be sending
out after this, or check our website, www.space-access.org.  Thanks!

       FAA RLV Launch/Reentry Regs Comment Period Closes Tuesday

The ninety-day comment period on FAA AST's NPRM (Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking) on Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) launch and reentry
safety regulations closes Tuesday, July 20th - all comments must
arrive at FAA in writing by close of business tomorrow.  For any
procrastinators among the affected parties, the .pdf text of the
proposed regulations can be found at
with a posting date of April 20th.

                           Departed Friends

Most of you likely know by now that Pete Conrad, third man on the
moon, only man to vertical-land rockets on two planets, and founder
of the USL group of space operations companies, died last week after
a motorcycle accident, and is being buried today in Arlington
National Cemetary.

Pete Conrad could have rested on his laurels after leaving NASA, but
didn't - he continued actively advancing the space business as a key
figure in the DC-X reusable rocket demonstrator program and then as
founder and head of USL.  If he'd lived another ten years, we
wouldn't have bet against him landing on the Moon again, in a ship
his company owned this time - and he would have been at the controls.

Pete Conrad had his head in the stars but his feet firmly planted on
the ground.  Our sympathy goes out to his family and friends.  We'll
miss him.

                  Thirty Years Since "One Small Step"

  - Henry Vanderbilt, Executive Director, Space Access Society

Thirty years ago this Tuesday, I recall a hot still summer afternoon
in the bunkroom of our vacation shack in the Connecticut woods, my
ear glued to my (six-transistor!) radio, finally hearing those words
crackling over the air - "Houston, this is Tranquility Base - the
Eagle has landed."  I'd blown off going to the beach that day with
the rest of my family, I was just too into following the Moon
mission.  Once they were actually down safely I was excited enough a
thirteen-year-old that my dad drove us both back up to Boston so we
could watch the first moonwalk on our old black-and-white TV that
evening.  I was totally pumped - a dream was coming true.

If you had told me then that thirty years and near a half-trillion
dollars later, the US would just be getting started on its second
space station, twenty years after trashing the first, I would have
thought you were nuts.  Thirty years and a half-trillion dollars?  A
growing Lunar base for sure, likely a foothold on Mars too, miners
fanning out to the asteroids, and the first probes to nearby stars
leaving soon, that's what I would have reasonably expected.

Tuesday July the 20th 1999 is a day to remember proudly what we've
achieved in the past, but it's also a day to contemplate the decades
of time and mountains of dollars we've wasted (and continue to
waste) on bureaucratic self-perpetuation since Apollo.  "Keeping the
team together" in hindsight was the recipe for institutional
sclerosis in what has become the NASA-Industrial complex.  The
massive manned-space part of the agency still hasn't recovered, and
may never recover, absent political will to do what should have been
done post-Apollo: Define a realistic new mission, and redesign the
organization from scratch to meet it.

In the last ten years, we've started moving forward again, taking
chances again, building and flying X-vehicles, developing new
engines (there are more new rocket engines in test in the US right
now than at any time since the early sixties), and perhaps most
radical of all, beginning to figure out how to do space the way that
endures - at a profit.

We are however doing this far more in spite of than aided by the
institutional dinosaurs of the NASA-Industrial complex.  We don't
see any practical way to reform them; the bureaucratic and political
inertia involved is massive.  We anticipate that they will keep
plodding along doing a hugely expensive minimal manned-space program
until they stumble into some form of self-destruction.

Our main hope is to bypass them, staying out from under the
dinosaurs' feet when possible, giving them the occasional hotfoot
when they do try to step on us.

Not exactly the best of all possible worlds, thirty years after Neil
Armstrong's giant leap for mankind - but it beats the hell out of no
hope at all.  It's a good day to think about all the hard work still
ahead of us, and to resolve to never dig ourselves a hole this large

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