Space Access Update #68  7/21/96 
                 Copyright 1996 by Space Access Society 

We've gotten used to relaxing this last year or two, perhaps a bit too 
much.  The main questions over X-33 weren't whether it would happen, but 
details of how.  We fought those issues, won some, lost some, but none 
seemed life or death at the time.  So now we have an X-33 on its way, 
and we find that we're only marginally more optimistic about seeing 
"affordable reliable access to space for all" anytime soon than we were 
back when "X-33" was still an unassigned x-number.  No satisfying some 
people, eh?  Incurable Malcontents R Us, looks like. 

Well, maybe.  Maybe not.  We think there's a strong case for at least 
one additional X-rocket project, as a low cost combined technological 
complement, engineering/managerial backup, and stay-focussed incentive 
for X-33.  We think the logical candidate for this project is a series 
of incremental upgrades to the existing successful DC-XA, run by USAF 
working with NASA.  We think this can immensely increase the overall 
chances of RLV program success for roughly 20% additional funding. 

If you don't agree with us, let us know - maybe you'll convince us, 
maybe we'll convince you, likely we'll all learn.  Email comments to, or make public comments to Space Access 
Update #68 on the internet newsgroup. 

If you do agree with us, be aware that getting DC-XB and then perhaps C 
built and flown in a timely manner requires some serious new political 
support, right now.  This is a very bad time to continue sitting back 
and assuming others will take care of things... 

Stories this issue: 

 - DC-XA Flight 4 Rescheduled, Tentatively July 31st 

 - SR-71 Mounted Subscale X-33 Aerospike Engine (LASRE Project) Progress 

 - X-33, Followon RLV Engine Specs 

 - SSTO R&D Funding News - X-33 And DC-XA/B 

 - Alert!  DC-XB Startup Funding At Critical Point 

 - (Standard SAS Contact/Membership/Videotape Info, Reproduction Rights 
    Info , And Policy Boilerplate Sections) 

            DC-XA Flight 4 Rescheduled, Tentatively July 31st 

The DC-XA flight sceduled for Friday July 12th was postponed after a 
series of delays, first to replace and reprogram a computer, then 
waiting for sufficient wind to launch safely.  Minimum launch wind at 
the pad is three knots, in order to safely disperse vented engine-
precool hydrogen.  The wind never picked up and the flight was 
ultimately scrubbed at around four-thirty in the afternoon. 

The flight couldn't be immediately rescheduled because the range was 
tied up with preparations for a THAAD/HERA missile interceptor test the 
following week.  The DC-XA managers decided to stand down long enough to 
reinstall the hydrogen-fuelled APU (auxiliary power unit) and do the 
next flight with the APU running, around the end of July.  Tentative 
flight date is Wednesday, July 31st.

A large number of friends and family of the DC-XA crew were guests at 
the July 12th attempt, along with some USAF people from nearby Holloman 
AFB.  High point of the day was a brief ceremony to thank the White 
Sands Missile Range fire crew for their efforts supporting DC-X, 
including twice dousing post-landing fires.  Representatives of the fire 
crew were presented with a DC-X plaque; the speeches were mercifully 
brief.  Other than that, the most exciting thing going was the 
continuing search for scraps of shade - the rains have come to New 
Mexico, and it was humid as well as 100F+ hot.   To everyone there who'd 
never before sat in the desrt for hours of waiting for everything to be 
right to fly, welcome to the experimental rocket business... 

In other DC-XA news, while officially there are only two more DC-XA 
flights scheduled, we hear NASA is looking very favorably on an 
additional 4-5 flights through the end of the summer.  We also hear 
there's some chance DC-XA will go on tour in 1997, travelling to several 
other locations in order to gain experience with rapidly setting up and 
operating from austere sites. 


  SR-71 Mounted Subscale X-33 Aerospike Engine (LASRE Project) Progress 


 - X-33, Followon RLV Engine Specs 


                        DOD SSTO Funding Alert 

  (Maximum effort needed!  Get EVERYBODY you can talk into it to help
  on this one.  We have a brand new program here and we need to sell 
  the living bejabers out of it - we need to get funds for this into
  the FY'97 budget NOW.)

Congressional support for USAF reusable rocket work, meanwhile, very 
much cannot be taken for granted.  Left alone, we would likely see 
between $25 million and nothing at all for Fiscal Year '97 (FY'97 starts 
October 1st) out of the Congressional Defense funding bills.  We need at 
least $50 million, which in addition to the still-unreleased $25 million 
in FY'96 funds would be enough to get DC-XB (the summer '98 Mach 3+ 
upgrade) well underway, along with advance work on the Mach 10 DC-XC. 

There are two House-Senate DOD funding conferences we need to work, 
Authorization, already underway, and Appropriations, starting sometime 
next week.  Of the two, Authorizations is important, but Appropriations 

The FY'97 DOD Authorizations bill (think of it as the authorized 
shopping list) is already in House-Senate conference.  This conference 
is likely to go on at least through next week; there's still time to 
affect the process.  The House version has $50 million, the Senate $25 
million - we mainly need to work for support in the Senate Armed 
Services Committee (SASC) for acceding to the House number. 

The FY'97 DOD Appropriations conference (think of it as actually writing 
the checks) will get underway as soon as the Senate passes their version 
of the DOD FY'97 Appropriations bill, likely early next week.  The House 
version calls for $25 million for USAF reusable rocket work.  The Senate 
version almost certainly will call for nothing at all. 

We need to work both sides of this conference HARD to raise the amount 
appropriated to $50 million.  These guys know they're writing real 
checks from a limited account; this one will be tough - but we have to 
talk them into supporting this. 

If a Senator from your state is on the SASC or Senate Appropriations 
Defense Subcommittee lists attached, or if a Representative whose 
district you live in or near is on the attached House Appropriations 
Defense Subcommittee list, call write or fax them by early this coming 
week of July 15th, and ask them to support: $50 million in FY'97 
reusable rocket funding for USAF Phillips Labs, and also $50 million for 
the Clementine II asteroid flyby probe in FY'97 (we made a mutual 
support deal, and Clementine II seems a fairly good thing anyway.) 

Both the Phillips Labs reusable rocket work and Clementine 2 strike us as
prime examples of "dual-use" technologies - both have potential long-term
military applications (Clementine 1 and the proposed Clementine 2 both
use(d) SDIO-developed miniaturized sensors and components to do their
science missions small, fast, and cheap) and both have considerable
economic/scientific civilian benefit.  See the previous article for
details on why DC-XB/C is a good thing for USAF to be doing - the Senate
in particular will want convincing that spending this DOD money is
actually relevant to national defense.  

How you approach your Senator or Representative on these recommendations
is up to you, of course.  Always tell the truth!  But sometimes emphasize
the aspects they're more likely to respond to...

As usual, if you call or fax, be brief and be polite; the overworked 
staffers will appreciate it.  

If you call, tell them who you are ("Hi, I'm Joe Smith from ") and what you want ("I'm calling about a couple things
I'd like to see supported in the Defense Appropriations/Authorizations
markup").  They may switch you to another staffer (more likely to that
staffer's voicemail) or they may ask you what those things you want are. 
If they ask, tell them you support $50 million in funding for reusable
rocket work at USAF Phillips Labs, and also for the Clementine 2 asteroid
probe.  If they have any questions, answer them as best you can; if not,
thank them for their time and ring off.  If you end up with another
staffer's voicemail, repeat the whole message of who you are, where you
want something done, and what it is you want, then thank 'em for their
time and ring off.  

If you fax or write, keep it to one page, lead off with what you want (as
above), and then follow up with a paragraph or two of why you think these
things are worth funding if you're so inclined.  

 Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, National Security Subcommittee
                                          voice       fax
 Sen. Hatfield, Mark (R OR)         1-202-224-3753 1-202-224-0276
 (chair, full SAC)

 Sen. Byrd, Robert (D WV)           1-202-224-3954 1-202-224-4025
 (Ranking Minority Member, full SAC)

 Sen. Stevens, Ted (R AK)           1-202-224-3004 1-202-224-1044
 (chair, SAC NatSec Sub)

 Sen. Inouye, Daniel (D HI)         1-202-224-3934 1-202-224-6747
 (Ranking Minority Member, SAC NatSec Sub)

 Sen. Cochran, Thad (R MS)          1-202-224-5054 1-202-224-3576
 Sen. Gramm, Phil (R TX)            1-202-224-2934 1-202-228-2856
 Sen. Domenici, Pete V. (R NM)      1-202-224-6621 1-202-224-7371
 Sen. McConnell, Mitch (R KY)       1-202-224-2541 1-202-224-2499
 Sen. Specter, Arlen (R PA)         1-202-224-4254 1-202-224-1893
 Sen. Bond, Christopher (R MO)      1-202-224-5721 1-202-224-8149
 Sen. Mack, Connie (R FL)           1-202-224-5274 1-202-224-8022
 Sen. Shelby, Richard C. (R AL)     1-202-224-5744 1-202-224-3416
 Sen. Hollings, Ernest (D SC)       1-202-224-6121 1-202-224-4293 
 Sen. Johnston, J. Bennett (D LA)   1-202-224-5824 1-202-224-2952
 Sen. Leahy, Patrick (D VT)         1-202-224-4242 1-202-224-3595
 Sen. Harkin, Thomas (D IA)         1-202-224-3254 1-202-224-7431
 Sen. Lautenberg, Frank (D NJ)      1-202-224-4744 1-202-224-9707

 House Appropriations Committee, National Security Subcommittee List
("Representative XYZ, US House, Washington DC 20515" will get mail to them.)

(Appropriations Chair)                    voice       fax
  Livingston, Robert (R-01 LA)       1-202-225-3015 1-202-225-0739

(Appropriations Ranking Minority Member)
  Obey, David R. (D-07)              1-202-225-3365 1-202-225-0561

(NatSec Subcommittee Chair)
  Young, C. W. Bill (R-10 FL)        1-202-225-5961 1-202-225-9764

(NatSecSubcommittee RMM)
  Murtha, John P. (D-12 PA)          1-202-225-2065 1-202-225-5709

  Lewis, Jerry (R-40 CA)             1-202-225-5861 1-202-225-6498
  Livingston, Robert (R-01 LA)       1-202-225-3015 1-202-225-0739 
  Sabo, Martin Olav (D-05 MN)        1-202-225-4755 1-202-225-4886
  Hefner, Bill (D-08 NC)             1-202-225-3715 1-202-225-4036
  Skeen, Joseph (R-02 NM)            1-202-225-2365 1-202-225-9599
  Hobson, David L. (R-07 OH)         1-202-225-4324 1-202-225-1984
  McDade, Joseph M. (R-10 PA)        1-202-225-3731 1-202-225-9594
  Bonilla, Henry (R-23 TX)           1-202-225-4511 1-202-225-2237
  Wilson, Charles (D-02 TX)          1-202-225-2401 1-202-225-1764
  Nethercutt, George (R-05 WA)       1-202-225-2006 1-202-225-7181
  Dicks, Norman D. (D-06 WA)         1-202-225-5916 1-202-226-1176
  Neumann, Mark (R-01 WI)            1-202-225-3031 1-202-225-3393


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------------------------(SAS Policy Boilerplate)------------------------

Space Access Update is Space Access Society's when-there's-news 
publication. Space Access Society's goal is to promote affordable access 
to space for all, period.  We believe in concentrating our resources at 
whatever point looks like yielding maximum progress toward this goal.  

Right now, we think this means working our tails off trying to get the 
government to build and fly a high-speed reusable rocket demonstrator, 
one or more "X-rockets", in the next three years, in order to quickly 
build up both experience with and confidence in reusable Single-Stage To 
Orbit (SSTO) technology.  The idea is to reduce SSTO technical 
uncertainty (and thus development risk and cost) while at the same time 
increasing investor confidence, to the point where SSTO will make sense 
as a private commercial investment.  We have reason to believe we're not 
far from that point now.  

Our major current focus is on supporting the government's fully reusable 
single-stage rocket technology programs, the low-speed DC-XA, and its 
high-speed followon, the X-33 NASA/DOD/industry cooperative project.  

With luck and hard work, we should see fully-reusable rocket testbeds 
flying into space well before the end of this decade, with practical 
orbital transport projects getting underway.  Join us, and help us make 
it happen.  

            Henry Vanderbilt, Executive Director, Space Access Society