* Forwarded from +quot;SB-NASA_NEWS+quot; * Originally by Dan Dubrick * Originally to All

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* Forwarded from "SB-NASA_NEWS" * Originally by Dan Dubrick * Originally to All * Originally dated 23 Sep 1993, 13:51 Part 1 of 2 Space Access Update #20 9/20/93 (Formerly "DC-X Update") Copyright 1993 by Space Access Society. Space Access Update is Space Access Society's semi-weekly publication. Space Access Society's goal is to promote affordable access to space for all, period. We believe in concentrating our limited resources at whatever point looks like yielding maximum progress toward this goal. For the moment, our main focus is on supporting BMDO's "SSRT" (Single Stage Rocket Technology) program, DC-X and its planned-but-not-yet-funded followon, SX-2. Space Access Update is thus for the moment largely about the technology and politics of DC-X and SX-2. We anticipate a change of focus in a couple of months, if all goes well. Once SX-2 startup funding is (with your help!) assured, we plan to begin working on establishment of a healthy second X-rocket development track at NASA, and on getting development of suitable engines started for the fully reusable orbital ships that should come after SX-2 and NASA's X-rocket. With luck and hard work, we should see one or more fully reusable SSTO testbeds flying to orbit toward the end of this decade, with production prototypes entering test a couple of years after that. Join us and help us make this happen. Henry Vanderbilt, Editor, Space Access Update (For more info on Space Access Society, write us at 4855 E Warner Rd #24-150, Phoenix AZ 85044, or email hvanderbilt@bix.com) [Editors note -- For those of you seeing this for the first time who need a bit more context, look for the subsequent post titled "DC-X Background".-HV] DC-X Test Program Status The long version of our trip report from the DC-X Invitational will have to wait a bit longer; we're just finishing recovering from the King Kong Cold we caught on the road, and we also had to burn some time last week responding to skullduggery in the Senate cloakroom. SAS members, see your private addendum; the rest of you will have to wait a bit for the inside scoop. (Hey, we have to give the paying members some extra consideration, after all.) Meanwhile, some odds and ends of fact we've gleaned: - DC-X's sides (and now the nose) are coated with a heat-resistant paint good to about 500 F. Maintenance between flights consists of scrubbing off soot and scorch marks, according to one DC-X crew member with "Simple Green" household cleanser! The lighter gray circles and bars visible on one side of the rocket are where the US flag, "McDonnell-Douglas", BMDO and SSRT decals were burnt off during static engine test firings this spring. - The launch stand and landing pad areas are not bare concrete after all. They are coated with an ablative paint of some sort; this paint produces the orange glow seen at takeoff and landing, as the rocket plumes boil it off. (Thanks, Ken Jenks) That orange glow, by the way, is startlingly vivid seen in person, not the washed out pale color seen on a video monitor with the color intensity turned back a bit. - DC-X's RCS (Reaction Control System) gaseous H2/O2 control jets have not been fired in flight yet. They're used primarily for roll axis control and haven't been needed in the short flights so far. The jets of vapor seen from near the base of the vehicle in flight are vented cold gas. - DC-X's RL-10-a5 engines have been fired on at least 13 occasions since vehicle testing started this spring, with no overhaul. Inspections have shown some signs of corrosion in the hot sections, but nothing that will get in the way of continued flight testing. - The DC-X flight test program is perilously short of money. They have to pay for things ranging from commercial delivery of propellant cryogens and pressurization/purge gases, to White Sands Missile Range support services, and if the $4.88 million for FY'94 flight test continuation doesn't come through, they could end up shutting down well before they're done the planned tests. - The next flight of DC-X is still tentatively set for the end of this month. In other news, there is a behind-the-scenes debate brewing among SX-2 supporters as to how ambitious the program should be. All parties agree that initially SX-2 should use the same RL-10-a5 engines as DC-X to avoid delays and development risk. The less conservative faction (SAS included) wants the SX-2 vehicle(s) designed with oversize tanks and structures so that once more powerful engines are available, at least one SX-2 can be upgraded to near-orbital capability. Possibly, fingers crossed, if everything goes right, no payload, no promises, upgraded to the point where it can actually make a minimal orbit and return in one piece. The more conservative types are sensibly cautious about promising too much on a limited budget, and have a very good point in that it would be far too easy for the perception to arise that anything short of orbit is failure. Such a perception was one of the factors that turned NASP into an endless study program, after all. Finally, SAS has a fair collection of DC-X related video and will be offering compendium tapes for sale soon in VHS only. We already have tape of the first flight and of an extended BMDO background piece on SSRT, and we expect to have footage from the second flight plus video of DC-X talks given recently at the Worldcon in the next day or two. Email hvanderbilt@bix.com or write us at SAS, 4855 E Warner Rd #24-150, Phoenix AZ 85044 for more info. Prices will be nominal; SAS members will get a discount because they're already paying for part of our overhead. Politics: DC-X Followon ("SX-2") Funding Update - Midseason Review Backgrounder: The Funding Process The Congressional funding process has two phases, "Authorization", then "Appropriation". Authorization is roughly equivalent to drawing up a shopping list for the coming year, while Appropriation can be looked at as going through the shopping list deciding how much of each item to actually buy. Authorized budget items are often reduced or deleted in the Appropriations process, but seldom increased, and new items are rarely added. The Congress debates and passes "Authorizations" and "Appropriations" bills for each major area of government, about a dozen pairs of bills in all. The ones we're concerned with are the Defense Department (DOD) Authorizations and Appropriations bills. DOD happened to be where the necessary money and management style was when DC-X was getting started up. Both the House of Representatives with 435 members elected in population based districts, and the Senate with 100 members elected two per state, draw up and pass their own versions of each "Authorizations" and "Appropriations" bill. Authorizations bills generally originate in the appropriate specialized committees within the House and Senate, in this case the House and Senate Armed Services Committees (HASC and SASC). Appropriations Bills generally originate in specialized subcommittees of the powerful House and Senate Appropriations Committees (HAC and SAC), in this case the HAC and SAC Defense Subcommittees. Each bill will generally go from the subcommittee that drafts it, to the full committee that "marks it up" (modifies it), then to the full House or Senate that will amend it and approve it in "floor votes", votes of all members. At this point, there will be two separate versions of the bill, House and Senate. There are a number of ways to come up with a common version for final passage into law, but the method that concerns us is the "Conference Committee", a committee with members from both House and Senate whose job is to negotiate a compromise version. The Conference version is then near- automatically approved by both House and Senate, thus becoming law. A Conference Committee is usually made up of selected members from the House and Senate committees that wrote the bills in the first place. Generally the committee and subcommittee heads plus their minority party counterparts (the "Ranking Republican Members" or RRM's on each committee and subcommittee) are automatically included. The House and Senate don't necessarily send equal numbers, since Conference Committee approval requires a majority among the House members plus a majority among the Senate members - an overall majority of Conference Committee members is not enough. ============================================================================ * Forwarded from "SB-NASA_NEWS" * Originally by Dan Dubrick * Originally to All * Originally dated 23 Sep 1993, 13:54 Part 1 of 2 DC-X Background Copyright 1993 by Henry Vanderbilt and Space Access Society. This is a companion piece to our more-or-less weekly "Space Access Update". We're splitting this off for the convenience of those who've already seen the background material. The background material will occasionally be updated; most recent change dates for both the Hardware and Politics sections are included. DC-X Hardware Background (last changed August 28th 1993) DC-X is a low-speed flight regime testbed for a proposed reusable rocket- powered Single Stage To Orbit (SSTO) transport, McDonnell-Douglas Aerospace's "Delta Clipper". DC-X is intended to prove out rocket-powered vertical takeoff, nose-first lifting-body to tail-first flight transition, and tail-first landing. It is also intended to prove out rapid turnaround of a reusable rocket by a minimal ground support crew. DC-X is being tested and flown by approximately thirty people. DC-X has already pretty much proved out rapid low-cost development of an advanced aerospace X-vehicle type engineering testbed by a small highly- motivated engineering team on a tight budget. DC-X was built by less than two hundred people, in less than two years, for about $60 million. Of course, this sort of thing has been done before -- just not recently. DC-X stands 40 feet tall, is 13 feet across the base, and is roughly cone- shaped, with a circular cross-section forward blending into a square base. The vehicle has four maneuvering flaps, one set into each side near the base, and sits on four landing legs. DC-X masses 22,300 lbs empty and 41,630 lbs fully fuelled, and is powered by four 13,500 lb thrust Pratt & Whitney RL-10-A5 liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen rocket motors, each able to gimbal +/- 8 degrees. The RL-10-A5 is a special version of the RL-10-A designed for wide throttling range (30% to 100%) and sea-level operation. The single DC-X vehicle was officially rolled out of its construction hangar at MDA's Huntington Beach CA plant at the start of April, then trucked out to White Sands, New Mexico for ground and then flight tests. Between Thursday, May 20th and Thursday, June 17th, DC-X underwent a series of nine engine firings/vehicle systems exercises, including two firings in one day with complete defueling/vehicle servicing/refueling in between. On Friday, June 18th, the DC-X crew began breaking down the ground support equipment and moving it to the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) flight test site, a distance of about fifty miles. Meanwhile DC-X was stored in a hangar. On Friday, July 16th, the ground support equipment move was completed. DC-X was taken out of storage, trucked out to the flight test site, and hoisted upright onto its launch pad. On Monday, July 19th, the DC-X crew began running a series of ground tests to make sure everything had made it over intact and was hooked back together properly. On Wednesday, August 18th, at 4:43 pm MDT, DC-X made its first flight, a "bunny hop" stability test that involved climbing 150 feet vertically, hovering, translating slowly sideways 350 feet, then landing vertically. The rocket was under precise control throughout, appearing to move almost as if on rails, and landed within six inches of the target. Contacting Your Congressman: Hints and Tips We regularly ask you to phone, fax, or write Representatives A and B or Senator C, and ask them to support X, Y, and Z. Here's some tips on how to do so painlessly and effectively. Keep phone calls brief, polite, and to the point - tell whoever answers (very likely an underpaid, overworked staffer who's never heard of what you're supporting) that you're calling to let them know you support $80 million in funding next year for BMDO's SSRT ("Single Stage Rocket Technology") program, and if you feel like it, throw in your favorite reason why this would be a good thing. If the person who answers wants to know more, answer their questions as best you can, otherwise thank them and ring off. Letters, whether via USPS or fax, should also be brief, polite, and to the point, though you can go into a bit more detail as to why a DC-X followon is the neatest thing since sliced bread and good for the country too. Keep it under a page and state your basic point at the start, so if they're in a hurry they can figure out what you're trying to tell them with a quick scan. Don't overdo it, but in general try to know who you're contacting and emphasize benefits likely to appeal to them, given their positions on the political spectrum. Don't give them a laundry list; pick one or two reasons to support SSRT and explain them succinctly in your own words. Future US aerospace technological competitiveness plus stemming the ongoing US loss of international space launch marketshare should appeal to just about anyone. Reusable launchers in general promise an order-of-magnitude or more reduction in launch costs, and SX-2 would demonstrate technologies applicable to any reusable launcher, not just Delta Clipper. Some benefits worth mentioning: -defense conversion benefits due to the dual-use nature of SSTO technology. (civilian space launch applications) -economic benefits of improved US international aerospace competitiveness. (We used to have 100% of the international launch market. That's dropped to 40%, losing us billions each year. Cheaper launch will let us compete.) -environmental benefits of reusable hydrogen-powered rockets. (no scrap metal dumped downrange, nothing but water vapor for exhaust) -the economic benefits to (Colorado, New Mexico, California, Florida, Arizona, etc) of launch vehicles operable from or built in that state. -if you're so inclined, the benefit of diverting DOD funds that might otherwise go for weapons R&D. -if you're so inclined, the security benefits of cheap rapid assured access to space for monitoring of rapidly changing situations. Part 2 of 2 DC-X Background Copyright 1993 by Henry Vanderbilt and Space Access Society. DC-X Followon: Political Background (last changed August 28th 1993) The current DC-X program is funded through flight test and data analysis this fall, and ends after that. There is an ongoing effort to get the US Congress to fund a three-year followon program, currently called SX-2 (Space Experimental 2). This tentatively looks like being a reusable suborbital vehicle powered by 8 RL-10-A5 engines, capable of reaching Mach 6 (about 1/4 orbital velocity) and 100 miles altitude, built with orbital-weight tanks and structure, and able to test orbital grade heat-shielding. The SX-2 program goal will be to demonstrate all remaining technology needed to build a reusable single-stage-to-orbit vehicle. Once SX-2 has been tested, all that should be necessary to produce a functioning reusable SSTO is to scale up the SX-2 structures and install more powerful rocket engines. [Developing such engines in parallel to SX-2 is likely to be SAS's next big push. Existing engines could work for an orbital proof-of-concept vehicle, but new engines optimized for SSTO operations would be preferable -HV] Proposed FY '94 funding for SX-2 startup is $75 million. Total SX-2 program cost over the next three years would be very much dependent on the contractor chosen and the details of the design, but would be on the order of several hundred million. This is the same order of magnitude as typical recent X-aircraft programs such as the X-29 and X-31. The $75 million SX-2 startup money now looks like being added to the Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA) budget, with at least some of the funding in following years to come from other interested arms of the government. SX-2 would still be run by the current BMDO (formerly SDIO) DC-X management team, even though funded via ARPA, at least under the current House version of the FY '94 Defense Authorization Bill. The House of Representatives now seems favorably disposed toward SX-2. The biggest hurdle ahead this year will probably be convincing the Senate to go along when the House-Senate conference committee meets to work out the differences between the two versions of next year's Defense budget. ** This is the section of the House Defense Authorization Bill approved at ** the start of August that covers DC-X (SSRT) Followon. Section 217, Single Stage Rocket Technology (a) Program Funding -- the Secretary of Defense shall establish a Single Stage Rocket Technology program and shall provide funds for that program within funds available for the Advanced Research Projects Agency. That program shall be managed within the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition. (b) Funding -- Of the amount appropriated pursuant to section 201 for Defense-wide activities, $79,880,000 shall be available for, and may be obligated only for, Single Stage Rocket Technology. ** This is the section of the report accompanying the House Defense ** Authorization Bill that covers DC-X Followon. The report language is ** intended to clarify the intent of the bill. From The House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services Report on the FY '94 Defense Department Authorization Bill, H.R. 2401 H. Rpt. 103-200, 103rd Congress, 3rd Session; July 30th, 1993, pp. 172-173 Single Stage Rocket Technology The budget request included $4.88 million for single stage rocket technology (SSRT), also known as single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO), within the Ballistic Missile Defense Office (BMDO) follow-on technologies program to complete the final testing in phase one of the program. The United States spends over $30 billion each year on space programs. Yet, unlike many other commercial activities that have benefitted and achieved greater efficiencies from military research and development, U.S. commercial launch costs are at least twice -- and in some instances as much as ten times -- the costs of foreign competitors. Similarly, it takes the United States at least four times as long to provide launch services to any given user. The Congress must remain skeptical and avoid fully embracing the sometimes overly optimistic claims regarding SSRT/SSTO technology. Yet, if the United States is to regain its international competitiveness in this critically important military and economic area, it must pursue promising enabling space launch technologies that have the potential of dramatic reductions in launch costs. Accordingly, the committee recommends the following: (1) Transitioning SSRT/SSTO from BMDO to a "Space Launch Technology" program element within the Advanced Research Projects Agency. (2) Continuing with the current management team. (3) Adding an additional $75 million to begin phase two of the program. (4) Conducting an open competition among aerospace companies for phase two of the program. (5) Examining options for DOD, other government agencies/departments, and industry cost sharing opportunities. None of the additional funds recommended to be authorized may be obligated until the congressional defense committees have been provided with a phase two program plan outlining objectives and technical milestones and certifying that funding support has been established for fiscal years 1995 and 1996. ** End of report excerpt Henry Vanderbilt "Reach low orbit and you're halfway to anywhere Executive Director, in the Solar System." Space Access Society - Robert A. Heinlein hvanderbilt@bix.com "You can't get there from here." 602 431-9283 voice/fax - Anonymous -- Permission granted to redistribute the full and unaltered text of this -- -- piece, including the copyright and this notice. All other rights -- -- reserved. In other words, intact crossposting is strongly encouraged. -- - END OF FILE -

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