#92 February 1996
Section 188.8.131.52.092.of the Artemis Data Book
To join Space Access Society or buy the SSTO/DC-X V 3.0 video we have for sale (Two hours, includes all eight DC-X flights, X-33, DC-X and SSTO backgrounders, aero-spike engine test-stand footage, plus White Sands Missile Range DC-X pre and post flight footage) mail a check to:
SAS, 4855 E Warner Rd #24-150, Phoenix AZ 85044
SAS membership with direct email of Space Access Updates is $30 US per year; the SSTO V 3.0 video is $25, $5 off for SAS members, $8 extra for shipping outside the US and Canada, VHS NTSC only.
We've been hearing questions lately, wondering if we'd left the planet ahead of everyone else. We've been very busy with some long-term payoff work, and there's been no one earthshaking development in the affordable access field, so we let the next Update slide "for a week or two..." And now it's over ten weeks, and the little things happening a bit at a time have begun to add up to some interesting trends. It's Update time again -- but for now, the condensed holiday version.
Those of you waiting for video tapes, all the back-ordered version 2.0 DC-X/SSTO tapes went into the mail December 22nd. Our apologies for the massive delay. You will find in them a discount certificate for the 3.0 video by way of amends. The long-overdue version 3.0 X-33/DC-X/SSTO video now looks like it will be ready to go to the duplicators the first week of January; backorders will be in the mail immediately thereafter. Yes, we most likely got your order; we've been holding off cashing the checks out of the remnants of a sense of decency and fair play. We hope you'll think the footage we've found is worth the wait. We hope you won't march on SAS HQ with tar and feathers in the meantime...
And it's getting toward that time of year again. Our next annual conference, Space Access '96, will be happening April 26-28 1996, Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, once again in Phoenix, Arizona. We're going to go bigtime aerospace one of these years, do it during the working week at a posh resort at a thousand bucks a head, but not yet -- SA'96 registration is still only $80 if postmarked before January 15th, when it goes up to $90, higher at the door. SA'96 will again be at a hotel within easy shuttle-bus distance of the Phoenix airport; we're currently negotiating with several and should have one nailed down shortly. Previous attendees, tell 'em -- this really is worth the trouble to attend. Phoenix is a hub for Southwest and America West, and also served by Western Pacific, Continental, United, Delta, American, etc. There's no lack of cheap airfares if you plan ahead -- so be here!
For more info on our upcoming Space Access '96 conference, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The capsule version of the news: DC-XA is coming along OK, albeit the minor delays are piling up to the point where we'd guess it'll be a few weeks late flying, late spring rather than early.
NASA tried to cancel X-34 at the start of November, but there was no wooden stake handy (actually the White House intervened), so it lives still, more or less -- development cost is climbing, performance dropping, schedule slipping, and we hear that projected ops costs are rising to more or less the same as Pegasus. Which makes sense, since X-34 now has as many stages as a Pegasus -- carrier aircraft, winged booster, two upper stages -- and will likely be at least as complex to integrate and operate.
X-33 is doing OK; the picture is beginning to firm up as to what might actually fly and how much it'll cost. Much more on this next Update.
The X-33 draft Phase 2 CAN (phase 2 is the actual construction and flight test of one or more X-33's, starting this summer) can be found at http://www.space-access.org, our new under-construction web page. (Please, no critiques until we've actually had time to do something with the site!)
Comments on the draft CAN are due January 22nd; email any comments you have to us at email@example.com at least one week before that, and we'll run the interesting ones past our advisory board before finalizing SAS's formal comments. After a once-over, we think it looks pretty good; the only "gotcha" we've spotted so far is the clause linking an X-33 go-ahead next summer to continued existance of X-34. Tsk, tsk, naughty naughty, we say -- that's a pretty raw attempt to hold X-33 hostage to the highly dubious X-34 project on someone's part.
X-33 funding for FY'96 looks fairly assured over on the NASA side, if the HUD/VA/Independent Agencies appropriation ever gets clear of the [government shut-down] "train wreck." In theory, there's $25M for reusable rocket work actually appropriated now over in DOD, but the DOD bill was signed only because the White House has to pay for the Bosnia expedition somehow. Look for a major, multi-billion DOD rescissions list in the coming months, and look for an attempt to put our $25M on it. And once we beat that, look for months of delay in releasing the money. This is getting to be a familiar fight, but it's one we've won every time so far.
And both McDonnell-Douglas and Lockheed-Martin are investing around $300 million each of private money in upgraded expendable commercial launch vehicles (Delta 3 and Atlas 2AR respectively), and both Kistler Aerospace and Kelly Space & Technology have money and are going ahead with their private reusable space launch ventures. We just might get to the point where government funding is irrelevant to a thriving cheap launch industry sooner than anyone expects.
Space Access Society
4855 E Warner Rd #24-150
Phoenix AZ 85044
602 431-9283 voice/fax
- Robert A. Heinlein
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