Space Access Update #74 8/31/97
Copyright 1997 by Space Access Society
The last message we put on the net was short and simple: "We lost", on
our web site, tagged onto the title of that mid-July alert on Future X
funding. We were running out the door on the first of a month's worth
of road trips, and didn't have enough time or enough info to say more.
We understand some people have gotten the wrong impression from our
leaving that message up so long - decided we must be discouraged. Nope,
we've just been very, very busy. Yes, that one was a tactical loss, but
it turns out that strategically a number of good things happened - many
because y'all made them happen. More on that in a bit.
We're also long overdue to take a look at the rapidly blossoming
entrepreneurial reusable launch field, the ultimate reason for all the
Congressional thrashing we do. Things are looking good, albeit far from
unstoppable yet. More on that this Update too.
What were we up to on this extended road trip? Well... This is a good
moment to mention that, while SAS's Advisory Board overlaps with the
Citizens' Advisory Council on National Space Policy (CACNSP, a quietly
influential part-time space policy think-tank that's been around since
the early eighties), and while our major policy of pushing for radically
more affordable and reliable space launch via commercially developed and
operated fully-reusable fast-turnaround small-groundcrew intact-abort-
capable rockets was hammered out (with our participation) by CACNSP back
in 1988, we at SAS do not officially speak for the Council.
Except in the cases where we do. Said cases requiring a bit more formal
coordination and review. Hence some additional delay before Update #75.
Have we got your attention? Good. Yes, the CACNSP has met again. No,
no radical new direction came out of the meeting, more a series of
logical extensions to the existing strategy mentioned above. The real
news is just how mainstream our preferred national space strategy is
becoming. We'll just have to get used to being respectable... More on
who's now with us and what it buys us in #75.
Stories this issue:
- Congressional Update: FY'98 NASA and DOD RLV R&D Funding Status,
Anticipated Alert Actions
- Commercial RLV (Reusable Launch Vehicle) Status Roundup, Summer '97
- SAS Odds & Ends
Congressional Update: FY'98 NASA and DOD RLV Funding Status
Congress is nearly through its traditional August recess, a good time to
look at what's happened so far, and at what we still hope to make happen
before the FY '98 budget thrash winds down sometime this fall.
For the self-starters among you, once Congress is back in session on
September 2nd, we need to start working the likely participants in three
different House-Senate conferences: The DOD Authorizations and DOD
Appropriations conferences, in both cases supporting the House's higher
$15 million funding level for Military Spaceplane tech work, and the
HUD/VA/IA (NASA) Appropriations conference, pushing to "fence off" $40
million within the existing NASA aeronautics/space technology budget
line to get "Future X" underway.
- DOD "Spaceplane" Tech Base Funding
Funding for USAF "Military Space Plane" (MSP) preliminary technology
work is at $15 million in both the House DOD Authorization and the House
DOD Appropriation bills. (Congress usually spends money in a two-step
process; first they come up with an "authorizations" bill, an officially
approved shopping list, then they pass an "appropriations" bill, in
effect actually writing the checks.)
We're supporting USAF MSP tech demo funding because, frankly, while NASA
is good on new technology, they seem to have cultural problems grasping
that anyone could actually want to routinely turn reusable rockets
around in an hour or two with a dozen greasy-coverall types. This is
probably because traditional NASA space operations couldn't use this
ability if they had it. USAF, meanwhile, seems to understand that this
ability would be hugely useful both militarily and commercially in the
relatively near future.
Over in the Senate, meanwhile, there's $10 million authorized for MSP,
but there is alas nothing in the Senate DOD Appropriation. We'll soon
be asking you all to work both of the House-Senate DOD funding bill
conferences, Authorization and Appropriation, to see if we can get the
higher House figure in both final bills. $15 million is less than we'd
hoped for, but it's enough to get some useful work underway. Assuming,
of course, we don't get hit with a line-item veto... But we'll worry
about that once the conferences are over.
We should mention that USAF Phillips Labs has just awarded two contracts
(using some of the money we all fought for last year) for startup work
on a Military Spaceplane (MSP) Integrated Technology Testbed (ITTB), a
ground test rig that will combine representative MSP hardware with
computer simulations to wring out bugs as early and cheaply as possible.
The ITTB is designed to produce useful results over a wide range of
eventual funding, a sensible approach given past holdups and shortfalls.
- NASA RLV "Future X" Funding
And that brings us to NASA RLV (Reusable Launch Vehicle) funding in the
Federal fiscal year starting October 1st, FY '98. Things are
complicated... X-33 and X-34 funding were reasonably assured from the
start this year, barring scandal or disaster. The real question was,
would there be any money for additional space launch experimental flight
test projects this year? A lot of different people tried to come up
with answers, generally at the last second without much coordination,
with predictable results thus far: nada, nothing, not one red cent.
The good news is that after a rough first half we are all more or less
talking to each other, and chances are good we can get some modest
startup money for NASA's "Future X" program this coming year, likely a
few tens of millions.
("Future X" is NASA's proposed framework for an ongoing series of space
launch technology X-projects. The planners apparently paid attention to
the lessons from NASA's initial space X-projects; we like what we've
seen so far. We do have one suggestion: Include people from the
ultimate customers on whatever board decides which projects to spend
limited funds on. NASA is supposed to be supporting a new commercial
reusable launch industry here, and according to current White House
policy NASA is also supposed to be supporting future US military
reusable launch technology requirements. Project selection board
members from USAF and from industry [especially from the startups] would
seem a good way to make sure these customers' needs are not overlooked.)
Down to specifics: When last we communicated, we were asking you all to
contact your representatives in support of one or more "Rohrabacher-
Roemer" amendments to the House NASA (HUD/VA/Independent Agencies)
Appropriations bill, amendments that would forbid transferring $150
million from other NASA accounts to pay for Space Station overruns,
cancel an un-Authorized $100 million Station account increase for
Russian overruns, and give $100 million new money to Future X instead.
(Background: Representative Dana Rohrabacher [R CA] is the new head of
the House Science Committee's Space Subcommittee, in charge of NASA
Authorizations. Representative Jerry Lewis [R CA] heads the House
HUD/VA/Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, in charge of
NASA Appropriations. Lewis has been in the Congress considerably longer
than Rohrabacher, and has considerably more clout in NASA funding
matters due to neglect of the NASA Authorizations process in past years.
Rohrabacher's sponsorship of these amendments to the House version of
the NASA Appropriations bill was a direct challenge to Lewis's hold on
the NASA funding turf.)
By the way, your efforts in this were quite effective. Representative
Rohrabacher reports that a number of his colleagues came up to him out
of the blue and expressed support in the days before the HUD/VA/IA
Appropriation came to the House floor, surprising him until he realized
that we activists had been busy making the case for Future X.
Unfortunately, the Rohrabacher-Roemer Amendments never came to a vote.
Whether by chance or by opposition finesse, the time for offering
amendments to the NASA portion of the bill came and went in minutes,
several hours earlier than expected. Representative Rohrabacher was
away from the House floor, and could not get back in time. Several
others with amendments to offer are said to have been caught out the
same way. Science Committee Chair James Sensenbrenner was on the floor
and we are told would have offered Rohrabacher's amendment, but was
misinformed that the amendment was "out of order"; we're told it had in
fact been cleared with the House Paliamentarian.
Representative Sensenbrenner instead offered a stripped-down amendment
that would have removed the $100 million of new money for Russian
Station overruns without adding anything for Future X. This amendment
went down on a relatively close 200-227 vote; this was what "We Lost".
There's no telling how much closer things would have been if the
(apparently popular) funding for Future X had been linked.
Representative Sensenbrenner did get something useful out of the mess:
Representative Lewis agreed on the record that any reprogramming of
funds to Station from elsewhere in NASA would have to be approved by the
Space Subcommittee as well as Lewis's HUD/VA/IA Appropriations
Subcommittee. This at least limits the damage that can be done to the
rest of NASA by Station's growing problems - the latest we hear is that
Station's accumulated overruns are up over $800 million.
We're frankly relieved that we're back out of the business of directly
opposing any piece of Station funding - it's a mess, but as long as it
doesn't directly threaten our interest in cheap access, it's not our
mess. And while this may have been a tactical loss for the Space
Subcommittee, between the surprising level of support you all mustered
and the concessions gained on reprogramming oversight, this looks like
at least a modest strategic gain. If the lesson in watching every pitch
when playing House floor hardball gets taken to heart, our friends in
this matter could gain significant influence in the long run.
Meanwhile, back to what we can get done this year. There are three
angles to work. First, there's the House-Senate conference on the
HUD/VA/IA Appropriation, where we might see reallocation of some
existing funding to get Future X started. It can't be much, as
Congressional rules are that conference totals can't be larger than the
higher of the House and Senate versions coming in - but a few tens of
millions will suffice to get useful things underway this coming year.
Second, there's the potential for Dan Goldin using his authority as NASA
Administrator to reallocate enough money within the appropriate NASA
budget line to get Future X underway. We are cautiously optimistic on
this possibility, especially if we can get a formal expression of
Finally, there's the strong possibility that the Senate will pass a NASA
Authorization too once the dust has settled from this year's budget, and
thus that we'll see a NASA Authorization actually signed into law for
the first time in years. This would not affect this coming year's NASA
funding directly, though positive statements about Future X and formal
authorization to spend money on it in FY'98 couldn't hurt. This could
certainly serve as a platform for defining future NASA priorities,
though, and it would be a significant step towards regaining influence
for the NASA authorizers.
So stand by - as September arrives, there'll be a number of chances for
you all to do some more good. Thanks again for all you've done already!
Commercial RLV Status Roundup, Summer '97
We have spent most of our public efforts lately jawboning the government
about this policy or that project. It would be easy to come away with
the impression that we believe the government is our chief hope for
actually producing radically cheaper more reliable space transportation
Nope. Not that government doesn't have a major role - it's just that
over the last year, the sector we consider our best hope in the long
run, the commercial startups, have been quietly taking care of business.
It's past time though we took a look at what progress the commercial
market reusable space launch efforts are making. The answer is quite
encouraging. (No, not encouraging enough that we feel ready to abandon
our two-pronged government+commercial strategy. At least not yet.)
Last year we passed an historic milepost without even noticing:
According to a KPMG (Kemper Peat-Marwick Group) survey quoted in
Business Week in late July, 1996 was the first year when more than half
of worldwide space revenues ($77 billion total) came from other than
government sources. Post Cold War, government space is flat while
commercial space is growing fast - the balance of power is shifting from
the bureaucrats to the market.
And the expanding market for space launch is key. Until quite recently,
conservative launch market analysts were pushing the notion that the
market would consist mainly of government missions plus traditional GEO
comsats for the indefinite future, and it would thus be flat or even
decline as the comsats got longer-lived and fiber optics got cheaper.
Thus, there would be no market driver for cheap launch, and no reason to
invest in an RLV, absent a government commitment to force most business
onto one chosen winner. (We note that the rampant talk of "The RLV"
replacing Shuttle implicitly embraces the preceding view - a view in our
opinion both shortsighted and pernicious. Let a hundred rockets fly!)
The conservatives have finally begun to notice the huge new market
presented by the multitude of new LEO comsat systems. They could hardly
avoid doing so any longer, given that the leading edge of this new wave
has already pushed existing launch capacity to its limits. The new
conservative line seems to be that this is just a temporary blip, that
in a few years things will fall back to the way they've always been, a
few dozen expendable launches a year, forever and ever amen. Telling
the current powers that be what they want to hear about the status quo
is one way to make a living, we observe - but it's suddenly a perilous
way, now that the real status quo is becoming rapid change.
In the real world, the first of the LEO comms networks are bought, paid
for, partially launched, and due online within a year, and the
followons, expansions, and supplements are already being financed. One
system developer alone recently briefed launch companies on their need
for as many as 500 launches through the early part of next century.
We're told that historically, there's no such thing as communications
overcapacity - that every time a new technology has come along to
increase capacity, demand has risen to fill the new capacity and more.
We see no reason to think LEO comms will be the exception.
LEO commsats alone are likely to require thousands of launches over the
next decade or two, far more than existing launch systems can handle.
Our rough estimate is that this market alone is going to rise to well
over a hundred sats a year around the turn of the century, and stay
there or rise slowly for the forseeable future, between replacements,
modernizations, and expansions. There's no such thing as communications
So what does all this mean for commercial cheap launch? A gathering
groundswell of commercial investment in new launch capacity - big money
into a few relatively low-risk upgrades of existing expendable systems,
mixed-source investment into several projects to field new-design
moderate-cost (~$1K/lb) "industrial" expendables, plus significant
amounts of private risk capital going into a half-dozen startup outfits
aiming at fielding partially or wholly reusable launch systems.
We think the upgrades of existing expendables, the Atlas 2AS and Delta 3
and Boeing Zenit Sea-Launch, are interesting primarily as proofs that
commercial finance in the high hundreds of millions can now be readily
found for space-launch projects perceived as low-risk. Technologically,
these are only a modest step toward a high-volume low-cost market.
The various new "industrial" medium-cost expendables all have to strike
a delicate balance of weight, reliability, and ease of operation against
manufacturing cost to get prices down to the thousand dollars a pound
ballpark they're aiming at. It can be done - the Russians seem to have
pulled it off with a number of launchers - but it's not easy.
Our estimate is that the hard cost floor for expendable boosters isn't
much under $1000 per pound of payload to low orbit. This is why we
don't spend a lot of effort on supporting such projects, however
substantial the savings over current expendables could be - the
improvement is certainly worthwhile, and might well find a profitable
market niche for a time, but it isn't the revolutionary cost reduction
that is our raison d'etre. Five times cheaper is nice - but we want
potential for one-hundredfold or greater cost reductions.
Our expectation is that, once one or more fast-turnaround reusables are
flying, the operators will start selling excess capacity at a near-
marginal-cost discount to build up their cashflow, opening up new low-
cost high-volume markets - point-to-point express/passenger, short-
notice university science sats, space tourism - whatever pays. At that
point we will be able to retire in good conscience, our job done.
Anyway, now that we've rambled on so in our intro, here's a quick survey
of the reusable players we know about. The criteria we used for
inclusion here were raising enough money to come up with a detailed
design, plus an approach with significant potential for reduced cost as
compared to current expendables, plus serious intent to compete in the
commercial market. We expect we've overlooked some players - but we
can't write about what we haven't heard about. Talk to us.
The technical data that follows we're fairly sure of - funding data is
much harder to come by, and where mentioned should be taken as best-
guess estimates based on scraps, hearsay and rumors unless indicated
otherwise. (We *knew* things were getting serious a couple years ago
when a lot of old friends started watching what they said - a sure sign
real money had arrived.)
- Kistler Aerospace
Kistler is based in Washington state, and currently plans to fly out of
DOE's Nevada Test Site, Woomera Australia, or both. Their "K1" ship is
a two-stage inline-stacked-cylinders fully reusable (both stages are
recovered), designed more for ruggedness and simplicity than for extreme
high flight-rate potential.
The advantage to this approach is reduced risk, reduced development
cost, and quick entry onto the market - Kistler's first test flight is
scheduled for late 1998, with commercial service in early '99.
The disadvantage is the relatively limited flight rate, with potential
for eventual price undercutting from more sophisticated reusable
vehicles. Nevertheless, being there first could be worth a lot to
Kistler - they're at least a year ahead of any of the other reusable
launch outfits, and they should be able to undercut significantly any of
the existing expendables once they're rolling.
The K1 first stage is powered by three Russian NK-33 LOX-kerosene
engines, stored surplus from the old Soviet N-1 moon rocket program,
tested and supported by the established US engine comany Aerojet. The
first stage relights one of these engines after separation and flies
back toward the launch site, where it is recovered by a combination of
steerable parachutes and airbags. The second stage uses a single
similar NK-43 engine and flies all the way to orbit with the payload,
then reenters after payload separation and is also recovered at the
launch site via steerable parachutes and airbags. Max payload to LEO is
expected to be around ten thousand pounds due east, near Delta 2 class.
Kistler is said to have received something close to half the ~$250
million total financing they say they'll need to fly - the remainder is
said to be lined up. The financing is, we hear, Hong Kong based.
Kistler's web site is at http://www.newspace.com/industry/kistler.
- Kelly Space & Technology/Eclipse Launch Services
Kelly S&T is based in southern California. Their "Eclipse" concept is
to tow a winged rocket to altitude behind a large subsonic jet transport
aircraft, cut loose, start the rocket, and fly into space. Reentry and
landing would be as a conventional winged glider. The initial proposed
"Eclipse" would be a suborbital vehicle, able to pop up to orbital
altitude and deploy a lightsat payload plus upper stage; the upper stage
would then boost the payload to orbital speed while the "Eclipse"
spaceplane reenters and lands. Longer term, Kelly plans lighter higher-
performance versions that would ascend directly to orbit after release
from the tow plane.
Kelly S&T is currently working on a proof-of-concept demonstration,
funded at least in part by government research grants, and supported
with in-kind resources by both USAF and NASA's Dryden flight test
center, much of the support a matter of coordinating chase plane and
heavy transport test flights that would have occurred regardless.
(We approve of this sort of flexible in-kind support for reusable launch
developers, and now that it's been demonstrated, we'd like to see it
applied to outfits less blessed in their local congressional delegations
- Kelly's operation spans George Brown's and Jerry Lewis's districts.
We see nothing improper in this, mind - the new support approach had to
be tested somewhere. It apparently works, and now we'd like to see the
method extended as appropriate to other outfits.)
Kelly's proof-of-concept is to take a retired USAF F-106, restore it to
flightworthiness, then one step at a time, modify it for towing aloft,
for rocket power, and for reentry heat protection. The F-106 is a large
1960's-vintage Mach 2+ delta-winged interceptor with an internal missile
bay 3' wide by 15' long - in theory, if all works out as planned, it'd
be able to loft small test payloads (a couple hundred pounds max) plus
upper stage to orbit if all the modifications are done.
Current project status is that the F-106 has been flying since this
spring (bringing thirty-year-old airframes up to snuff turns out to be
non-trivial) and has spent much of this summer flying formation behind
USAF C-141 transports and NASA 747's, measuring airflow at various
positions and accumulating data for use in Eclipse computational design
tools. Initial towed flight test for the Kelly F-106 is tentatively
scheduled for mid-October.
On the business front, earlier this summer Kelly formed Eclipse Launch
Services to operate the vehicles once they're ready. Kelly signed a
deal last winter with Motorola for ten launches of two satellites each
at $8.9 million per launch, for a potential total of $89 million. The
deal is contingent on Kelly having the ability to launch, and no money
changes hands till then - but it should increase investor confidence.
Kelly S&T has also cut a deal with the New Jersey Economic Development
Authority and the local airport authority to fly Eclipse launch missions
out of the Atlantic City Airport, which has a 10,000 foot runway and (as
best we can tell from available maps) a flight path for the towed
combination that doesn't pass over heavily inhabited areas. We'd guess
this will ease FAA AST licensing, an open question still for all the
startups. (Launch licensing has been transferred from Commerce
Department OCST to the Federal Aviation Administration's AST [Advanced
Space Transportation] department. Details are still being thrashed.)
See http://www.kellyspace.com for more.
- Pioneer Rocketplane
Pioneer is based in Colorado, and is setting up an operation in Southern
California as we type. Company officials respond to queries as to how
much funding they have by saying "enough" - we're reasonably sure they
got at least enough private funding last winter to take them through
detail design of their Pathfinder vehicle, at a guess several million
dollars, and they're also one of four NASA "Bantam-X" lightsat-launcher
technology project first-round winners, a contract worth two million
dollars. The naming of recently retired USAF General Tony McPeak
(former USAF Chief of Staff) to their board of directors doesn't hurt
their credibility either.
Pioneer's Pathfinder concept is a winged vehicle that would take off
from a runway powered by a pair of surplus fighter turbofan engines,
fully fueled but with no oxidiser on board. At altitude the Pathfinder
would rendezvous with a tanker aircraft carrying liquid oxygen, tank up,
then shut down the turbofans, light a rocket engine, and fly into space
on a suborbital trajectory. It would then drop off a payload plus upper
stage before reentering; the upper stage would boost the payload on into
orbit. Payload to orbit is currently planned as 2000-4000 lbs.
Pathfinder will have two pilots (plus a jumpseat) from the start. The
jumpseat may yet be an aid in attracting investment...
Pioneer announced last month a deal with Thiokol to provide a range of
solid and liquid rocket upper stages, first for Pathfinder test flights
and then for a range of operational Pathfinder payload sizes. The solid
stages are to be variants of existing Thiokol upper-stage motors, the
liquid stages are to be developed as part of the NASA Bantam program.
A significant Pathfinder configuration change announced last month was
moving the two turbofan engines up from the wing roots to the base of
the vertical tail. This is said to simplify the structure and reduce
the need for inlet shielding for the turbofans, as the inlets will be in
the lee of the fuselage during reentry.
Major anticipated Pathfinder advantages are airbreathing self-ferry with
payload between payload-processing, launch, and landing sites, plus
ability to operate out of conventional airports under conventional air
traffic rules for both takeoff and landing.
See http://www.rocketplane.com for more.
- Rotary Rocket Company
Rotary Rocket of California publicly acknowledges having six million in
funding; we're told it came from two private individuals last fall. The
company is rumored to actually have an amount in the high tens of
millions of financing lined up, out of a total vehicle development and
test requirement in the low hundreds of millions. Detail design and
preliminary hardware fabrication and tests are underway at the company's
Redwood City and Mojave facilities.
Rotary's "Roton" configuration has changed considerably in the year and
a half since an article on it appeared in "Wired" magazine. As it was
described to us last month, the vehicle is a very compact (about 225,000
lbs liftoff weight) SSTO, with a fallback option of suborbital "pop-up"
launch if there's a performance shortfall. The main vehicle body is a
squat cylinder, topped with a narrower cylindrical payload section.
Takeoff is vertical, powered by a "rotary" rocket engine inside the base
of the vehicle. How to describe the (patent-pending) engine... Picture
a wagon wheel, with propellant feed in through the hub and out the
spokes to combustion chambers aimed sideways from the rim. Propellant
pumping is centrifugal via engine rotation, powered we assume by slight
offset from vertical of the rocket chambers. Chamber pressure is down
considerably from the original Roton's blade-tip engines' 6000 psi. The
reduced pressure is practical because the new setup can use the base of
the vehicle in an "aerospike" nozzle configuration to make up low-
altitude efficiency losses, and because taking the engines off the rotor
tips reduces the premium on compactness.
Reentry is ballistic using the base of the vehicle as the main heat
shield. Initial heat shielding will be passive, with transition to
active cooling planned once sufficient flight-testing has been done.
Final approach and landing is unpowered, using semi-retractable rotor
blades in the nose to do a helicopter engine-out style autorotation
landing, as in the original Roton design, eliminating the need for
either landing propellant or last-second engine relight.
Rotary's approach has in our estimation the highest medium-term
potential payoff in operating cost floor, if they succeed in keeping
weights down enough to achieve SSTO performance with a useful payload.
If (as is often the case in new aeospace vehicles) weights grow, they
still should be competitive in the suborbital pop-up payload market.
See http://www.rotaryrocket.com for more.
- Universal Space Lines
Universal Space Lines is a bit different from the other startups. They
aren't primarily interested in developing reusable launchers, though
they say they'll do it if they have to. They'd prefer someone else did
that though, so they can do what they really want to: Operate commercial
space ships. Pete Conrad, their CEO, described the sort of ships they'd
like to be able to buy at last fall's SFF conference, and it's a pretty
close fit with what we've been pushing for: fast-turnaround, small
groundcrew, fully reusable - the sort of ship with a lot of schedule
flexibility, and a lot of room for increasing revenue by raising the
low-marginal-cost flight rate.
USL meanwhile pursues a two-pronged strategy - offering their in-house
ground-control/flight-control/operational skills (they have described
themselves in public as "really the DC-X team"; many if not most of
their people indeed worked on DC-X then DC-XA until the project was
finally shut down) as a subcontractor on various other companies' space-
launch and satellite projects, and honing their vehicle skills for a
possible eventual RLV development of their own with a NASA "Bantam-X"
lightsat launch technology contract. They along with Pioneer
Rocketplane are one of four $2 million Bantam initial phase winners.
USL doesn't yet have a web site - we understand they've been too busy
working subcontracts to set one up.
It's not quite time to put all our eggs in the commercial RLV basket -
but at least there is a basket now. We do see two ways the government
could still screw this up: One, announce subsidised competition that
scares away investors, EG developing new LRB's (Liquid Rocket Boosters)
then allowing the USA Shuttle operating consortium to carry commercial
payloads at less than fully amortised prices, or for that matter giving
in to Lockheed-Martin on a VentureStar "anchor-tenant" or development-
cost loan guarantee deal. Two, more subtly, cripple the new market by
failure to make appropriate reforms to current space launch and reentry
regulations. We'll be watching these issues closely - but we've made
huge progress for these to even *be* issues! Life is good.
SAS Odds 'n Ends
Honest - we WILL ship the videotapes that are up to four months past
due. The records are all here, but are completely buried and will take
a couple days we just haven't had lately to dig out and organize. Our
humblest and most abject apologies. And if you've written us a check in
the last few months, don't assume we've lost it - we'll undoubtedly
deposit it at the most inconvenient time possible, soon.
On the positive side, we've signed a hotel contract for next spring's
Space Access '98 conference. It'll be at the Safari Resort in
Scottsdale Arizona once again, Friday evening April 17th through Sunday
evening April 19th, 1998. Make your plans early, save on airfares, and
be there with the heart of the coming cheap launch industry once again.
Space Access Society's sole purpose is to get the cost of reaching space
radically cheaper, soon. You may redistribute this Update in any medium
you choose, as long as you do it whole and intact.
Space Access Society
"Reach low orbit and you're halfway to anywhere in the Solar System"
- Robert Anson Heinlein
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