August 2005


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Archive for August 12th, 2005

Dear NASA:

Posted in Geekery on August 12th, 2005

I have been sitting here reading the news releases regarding the Shuttle program and the changes you have planned for our Space Program, and I just have to ask: were you not paying attention?

Burt Rutan and Scaled Composites were able to produce, launch and successfully recover a vehicle to LEO for a very mere fraction of the cost of a traditional Shuttle flight last October, and here you are going back to the Apollo configuration of a capsule at the tip of a rocket. What gives?

SpaceShipOne would require merely some scaling-up to handle the Shuttle’s current role, and in fact Scaled Composites has plans already laid for such a vehicle designed to be able to dock with the ISS. Why are you not bringing them into this project?

Currently, the Shuttle is utilised for launching payloads into space, personnel transfers to the ISS, and a microgravity test lab. In my opinion, we should leave the heavy lifting to unmanned rockets for larger satellites – a proven technology. The ISS was designed to take over the Shuttle’s microgravity labs, and we should allow it to do so.

Scaled Composites’ Tier Two program, however, is specifically designed to handle the personnel transfer duties to the ISS and should be used – the cost savings over the current Shuttle program would be significant, allowing us to do more for our NASA tax dollars.

Wake up, people.