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House Committee Urges NASA To Halt Work on Orbital Space Plane
space.com ^ | 10/27/03 | Jason Bates

Posted on 10/27/2003 4:37:08 PM PST by KevinDavis

WASHINGTON -- The leadership of the House Science Committee, the Congressional panel that authorizes NASA programs, wants NASA to halt work on the Orbital Space Plane, because of budget issues and concerns over the direction of the agency’s human space flight program.

In an Oct. 21 letter to NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe, the committee expressed “deep concern” with NASA’s approach to the program and urged the agency to defer work on the project until an inter-agency space review is completed by the White House and approved by the president and Congress.

The program “will not be successful on its current track,” said the letter, which was signed by Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-Texas), the chairman of the committee, and Rep. Ralph Hall (Texas), the ranking Democrat

(Excerpt) Read more at space.com ...


TOPICS: Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: nasa; ralphhall; sherwoodboehlert; space; texas; x37
These people complain about the lack of direction from NASA yet they have no problem giving money to other programs with demanding direction from these agencies. I'm not a big defender of NASA but there seems to be a double standard.
1 posted on 10/27/2003 4:37:09 PM PST by KevinDavis
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To: Normal4me; RightWhale; demlosers; Prof Engineer; BlazingArizona; ThreePuttinDude; Brett66; ...
Space Ping! This is the space ping list! Let me know if you want on or off this list!
2 posted on 10/27/2003 4:37:53 PM PST by KevinDavis (Let the meek inherit the Earth, the rest of us will explore the stars!)
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To: KevinDavis
X-37 is very doable, AND it would blend seamlessly with a BDB program.
3 posted on 10/27/2003 4:39:12 PM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: KevinDavis
Four concepts of Orbital Space Plane --

Launch concept --


4 posted on 10/27/2003 4:45:09 PM PST by My2Cents (Well...there you go again.)
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To: KevinDavis
NASA should have gone with this concept back in the '60s --


5 posted on 10/27/2003 4:55:06 PM PST by My2Cents (Well...there you go again.)
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To: My2Cents
Space Shuttle is huge. It will be at the Saturn V level with the new extended solid boosters. It wouldn't take much to come up with a BDB version.
6 posted on 10/27/2003 4:58:02 PM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: RightWhale
This congressional negativity is also being spurred by the iffy future of the ISS. Russia has far to go to begin shouldering their end and our reps are not happy with so much money going out to keep it viable.

I thought the ISS, the Space Plane and a series of pre-planted supply modules were pretty much the decided route to a manned Mars exploration. Perhaps a commercial business venture can keep the dream alive.
7 posted on 10/27/2003 5:26:24 PM PST by NewRomeTacitus (Forbidden Planet indeed.)
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To: My2Cents

They should haul out the old X-15's and start over.

8 posted on 10/27/2003 6:39:12 PM PST by Orangedog (Soccer-Moms are the biggest threat to your freedoms and the republic !)
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To: KevinDavis
Isn't Burt Rutan about to win the "X prise"?
9 posted on 10/27/2003 6:41:38 PM PST by ChadGore (Kakkate Koi!)
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To: KevinDavis
The committee also wants NASA, Congress and the White House to agree on the direction the human space flight program should take

Nope. Congress can't agree on anything. And NASA is there to do a job. Policy is set at a higher level. It's up to the President to set a direction, convince (enough) of Congress to come on board and then order NASA to go in that direction.

10 posted on 10/27/2003 8:44:37 PM PST by irv
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To: NewRomeTacitus
our reps are not happy with so much money going out to keep it viable.

Neither am I. It's a white elephant. We can do better. These days, I'm leaning toward a Lunar base.

11 posted on 10/27/2003 8:46:38 PM PST by irv
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To: irv
"We can do better. These days, I'm leaning toward a Lunar base."

Since so much progress has been achieved with polymers, molecular bonding and computer simulation I don't know why the Space Elevator project from a near-Equatorial site has not been sounded out. Weather anomalies aside, it is the most efficient solution to maximize our era's capabilities for economical access to commercial space endeavors.
12 posted on 10/27/2003 9:06:58 PM PST by NewRomeTacitus (Asteroid mining isn't for wussies.)
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To: KevinDavis
Perhaps, this means the adminstration is planning to give some direction and is pulling together a space goal. I say back to the Moon!
13 posted on 10/28/2003 12:12:22 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: NewRomeTacitus
"Weather anomalies aside, it is the most efficient solution to maximize our era's capabilities for economical access to commercial space endeavors."

While I'd agree in theory, I'm afraid in reality we can't simply put "aside" those "weather anomalies". Would be kind of a bummer to build it and then have an Isabel come and take it down.

Qwinn
14 posted on 10/28/2003 12:18:40 AM PST by Qwinn
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
"Perhaps, this means the adminstration is planning to give some direction and is pulling together a space goal. I say back to the Moon!"

Agreed! That, or perhaps colonize the asteroid belt. The idea would be to find a suitable asteroid, hollow it out with shaped explosives, inject a biosphere and spin it for gravity. People could live/work on the walls on the inside, with the center of the "tube" as a no-gravity zone.

Qwinn
15 posted on 10/28/2003 12:20:43 AM PST by Qwinn
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To: RightWhale
Space Shuttle is huge.

Well, yes it is. The orbiter alone masses over 99 metric tons empty. Of that, about 10 tons are taken up by the three expensive, "refurbishable" main engines. It is worth noting that only 20% of the on-orbit mass is payload.

It will be at the Saturn V level with the new extended solid boosters.

Please direct us to a URL explaining the changes in mass/thrust/burn time/flight profile/etc. with these "extended SRBs". The poor ISP and dead weight numbers for SRBs should allow only very modest improvements in total on-orbit mass due to SRB enhancements.

I also do not have much faith in NASA's follow-through on projects such as these - they have a habit of cancelling them after spending billions and not flying any new designs, with the exception of the Super Lightweight External Tank, which enabled NASA to get an acceptable payload to the ISS, but may have contributed to the Columbia failure.

It wouldn't take much to come up with a BDB version.

Shuttle is pretty much the WORST place to start for a BDB design. The plain empty external tank costs well over $60 million, the SSMEs and the SRBs also cost in excess of $50M. Low cost BDB designs cannot use much STS hardware: it is all too expensive.

Now, if you didn't really mean BDB and just meant "heavy lift booster" , then I would agree that STS hardware, in particular the SLW-ET + SSME cluster makes a fine upper stage for a heavy-lift cargo vehicle, as long as you are more concerned about performance than cost.

16 posted on 10/28/2003 3:08:31 AM PST by Mr170IQ
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To: KevinDavis
Urges? Wants? Either NASA should do it or not. Who's calling the shots here?
17 posted on 10/28/2003 3:21:31 AM PST by mewzilla
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To: My2Cents
When I look at the pix you posted in #4 and #5, I can't help but wonder what hitting a strong wind shear on ascent would do to that vehicle sticking out in front.

I'm thinking that if they ever do build one of these, the attach ring is going to have a much bigger diameter than the ones in these artists' renderings.

18 posted on 10/28/2003 3:28:48 AM PST by snopercod (Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:)
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To: Mr170IQ
Please direct us

Just takeoff thrust and weight. Efficiency would still be cnsiderably short of the Saturn V.

19 posted on 10/28/2003 9:26:36 AM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: NewRomeTacitus
Since so much progress has been achieved with polymers, molecular bonding and computer simulation I don't know why the Space Elevator project from a near-Equatorial site has not been sounded out.

It has been, thoroughly. This “space railroad” is going to do for the Final Frontier what the early railroads did for the American West.

OSP as a NASA project should be abandoned, and a competition between private spacecraft companies be started instead, with the OSP production contract going to the winner.

20 posted on 10/28/2003 9:31:51 AM PST by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: Orangedog
Re: X-15, I agree. I recall seeing renderings of an X-15 on top of a boster rocket. Point is: NASA already had a darned good space plane in the 1960s.
21 posted on 10/28/2003 9:49:47 AM PST by My2Cents (Well...there you go again.)
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To: ChadGore

22 posted on 10/28/2003 9:52:13 AM PST by My2Cents (Well...there you go again.)
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To: My2Cents
Things could have been a lot different, but what one would the TV networks have paid more attention to...the no-frills drop of an X-15 from under the wing of a B-52, or one of Von Braun's big, noisy and impressive looking Saturn 5's lifting off? It's hard to have a true appriciation for just how monsterous a Saturn 5 really is until you stand right next to one like the have on display at the museum.
23 posted on 10/28/2003 9:59:14 AM PST by Orangedog (Soccer-Moms are the biggest threat to your freedoms and the republic !)
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To: KevinDavis
China will eventually find a way to get it done, while NASA and Congress stand around bickering.
24 posted on 10/28/2003 10:01:44 AM PST by Mr. Jeeves
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To: KevinDavis
AAAAAARgh!

"Do you know any slow or special people?"

O_o
25 posted on 10/28/2003 10:02:58 AM PST by Constantine XIII
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To: KevinDavis
Oops, should have read the article before posting. :p

I thought they were talking about the the ramjet powered vehicle.

heh
26 posted on 10/28/2003 10:04:51 AM PST by Constantine XIII
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