X37c proposal s/b implemented

And those in Congress specializing in space are well aware that, had getting independent access to ISS for our nation really been Job #1 for NASA’s leadership, then the Administration would have approved Boeing’s proposal for the X-37B follow-on, the 5 crew X-37C. We are talking about a dependable spacecraft that can sit in orbit for over a year and NASA said no to making it a crewed vehicle. Why?


What Congress does see is that if we had not gone through the nonsense of 2010, we would be much closer to our own capability to launch crews to ISS than we are today. Instead, Neil Armstrong was right–the Administration changed our nation’s HSF course in secret, without consultation, and mucked things up.

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Lunar landing 45th anniversary !

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” That sentence, uttered by NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong from the surface of the moon 45 years ago, signaled the dawn of a new age. Watch Live Tonight: Moon Webcasts Celebrate Apollo 11 Lunar Landing

This month marks the 45th anniversary of the epic Apollo 11 flight that landed the first humans on the moon and safely returned them to Earth. Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins launched from Florida on July 16, 1969. Armstrong and Aldrin ventured out onto the lunar surface on July 20, 1969. The two men spent 21.5 hours on the moon before taking off from the lunar surface to meet up with Collins in the command module and fly back to Earth. [NASA's 17 Apollo Moon Missions in Pictures]

NASA astronauts returned to the surface of the moon on multiple missions, however, no human has touched down on the natural satellite’s surface since 1972. Space.com’s complete coverage of the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing appears below: 


Exclusive: Buzz Aldrin Remembers Moon’s ‘Magnificent Desolation’
Exclusive: Buzz Aldrin Remembers Moments Before the Moon

Apollo 11 Retrospective: ‘One We Intend To Win’
Apollo 11 45th Anniversary – NASA Administrator Remembers
Space Station Salutes Apollo 11 45th Anniversary

Infographics and Multimedia:

Apollo Quiz: Test Your Moon Landing Memory

NASA’s Historic Apollo 11 Moon Landing in Pictures
How the Apollo 11 Moon Landing Worked: Infographic
Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Moonwalker, in Photos

Story Coverage: 

Sunday, July 20

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NASA plan puts America at Risk!

NASA Plans Put America At Risk
Unassessed Uncertainty Involved For the Future of American Human Spaceflight.
NASA now likely has much more risk to the long term sustainability and safety of its premier human spaceflight program (ISS) than the normally risk averse Agency would desire or admit to.  Flight crew access to and from the ISS for the next 5 or more years is dependent on a single flight system (Soyuz), until one of the commercially developed American low earth orbit transportation systems demonstrates sufficient reliability to take on that responsibility.  The widespread euphoria over the recent successes of SpaceX and the highly optimistic expectations for COTS operational readiness somewhat contrasts with the reality of the history of past rocket development programs.  The cost, schedule, and program management difficulties and technical development issues associated with NASA’s own Constellation program and the James Webb Space Telescope program most recently have validated that history.      
After the Columbia accident, NASA was extremely fortunate that the Soyuz system could sustain the ISS until the Orbiter returned to flight status.  There is no planned backup available for the Soyuz after retirement of the Space Shuttle flight system for five or perhaps even several more years.  
There is a non-zero probability that a random event or a scenario comprised of a series of seemingly unconnected events could prevent the Soyuz or a reliable COTS alternate capability from being available for transporting crews safely to and from the ISS for a significant length of time perhaps resulting in abandonment of the Station.  Reliance on the Soyuz for this extended timeframe is very unpopular with many Americans of all stripes for a variety of reasons.  If this capability becomes unreliable or perhaps utilized as some form of political leverage, NASA now has no other options available to sustain its planned ISS operations program for perhaps a long period of time.
We know that there is tangible uncertainty and risk involved in the current strategy to rely on a single human transportation system for long term access to the ISS that is provided by a foreign entity.  What is the likelihood that a random event or a here-to-fore unconsidered scenario might occur that could cause a significant impact to the ISS Program?  Second, are the impacts of the potential consequences acceptable to America; and what are the best mitigation strategies to address this risk?   What does NASA and the Government need to do to characterize the risks involved to provide useable information for use by the decision makers who accountable for this policy, and to provide transparency and confidence to the affected stakeholders?
What are some of these non-zero probability events that could present major risk?
1. Spacecraft systems failures/deficiencies (hardware/software) or supply chain interruptions.
2. Ground support system failures, aging institutions and facilities.
3. Political Instability or irresolvable policy differences affecting the continuity of planned arrangements
4. Fire that disrupts and disables key manufacturing, utilities, or operations capabilities.
5. Terrorist attacks to key capabilities, physical, cyber, etc.
6. Major weather disaster that impacts key manufacturing or operations capabilities, Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as an example. .
7. Human error that initiates a scenario comprised of events which renders the Soyuz system unavailable for a lengthy period.
8. The uncertainty in performance of the potential COTS providers being able to provide a safe and reliable human transportation system to support the ISS in a reasonable time frame.  In comparison, the development of the Orion led by NASA, also a capsule flight system with significant legacy utilization, was taking NASA greater than 10 years to realize a LEO capability to support the ISS.
This is a partial listing of potential causes and is not intended to be a complete list of scenarios that might result in the Soyuz and/or the COTS capability being unavailable for human access to the ISS.  
What are the potential adverse consequences that might result from failure of the Soyuz system to be able to fly crews to and from the ISS for an extended period of time?
1. Loss of life.
2. Major asset loss.  The U.S. has approximately $100 B invested in the ISS that is at risk for loss.  Other nations have varying significant investments as well.
3. Loss of prestige for America due to failure to be able to sustain the ISS.
4. Uncontrolled decay and entry of the ISS
5. Acceleration of the wide spread perceived decline and/or actual decline of America’s current world leadership in human spaceflight technology and operations.  
6. Loss of confidence in NASA, its leadership; and perhaps future support for initiating new future programs.
7. Loss of momentum in the ISS based science programs including loss of the accrued sunk investments in dollars and human capital.
8. Accelerated erosion of the skills and capabilities required to move the human exploration of space forward.
9. Loss of interest in space science and space exploration by the young people who are contemplating a science or aerospace engineering career resulting in further decline in America’s capability to initiate and carry out challenging spaceflight and technological programs.  (This is already happening – just talk to some science and engineering majors now in college.)
Again, a partial listing.  
Who are the stakeholders and policy makers that are potentially impacted by this undefined risk level?
1. The American taxpayers who are committed to American leadership in space and depend on NASA leadership and the Government to make reliable decisions for the betterment of the Nation.
2. The governing Administration.
3. The Congress who appear to be legislating the way forward for human spaceflight by their actions (e.g. Orion & SLS).
4. NASA leadership and its people who have committed their lives and careers to the continued development of human spaceflight..
5. NASA’s Contractors that make up much of the skilled experience base necessary to conceive, develop, manufacture, and operate the systems that are required for space exploration..
6. The Commercial Space Transportation investors.
Again, a partial listing, but the stakeholder community is much larger than NASA alone.
How should NASA proceed?
NASA should follow its own policy and procedural directives imposed on its own programs and conduct a detailed risk assessment of its plans in order to understand the risk level associated with the decision to rely solely on the Soyuz flight system for human access and return to the ISS for the next five + years.  Since the risks involved are so significant to the future of America, the risk analysis and assessment should be accomplished by an organization independent of the NASA decision makers who are involved in the planning and implementation of current the policy of long term reliance on a flight system provided by a foreign nation to sustain the ISS.  In order to avoid a conflict of interest, the use of NASA’s current contractors should not be utilized for such an assessment.  Perhaps the risk assessment should be overseen and peer reviewed by an organization like the National Science Foundation or a select blue ribbon committee.  
Based on the history of spaceflight systems development including NASA’s own programs performance in meeting planned operational schedules; it would be prudent to look at the risk interval for a longer period than just the currently planned 5 years, perhaps 10 years.  While there seems to be anticipation that the COTS providers will find a way to circumvent the technical, cost and schedule problems that NASA and its contractors have faced for recent development programs that hoped for result is yet to be demonstrated.  NASA’s heritage for its development programs and projects has relied on a benevolent Congress to supplement its budget when the inevitable cost increases come along as a result of development problems.  Receiving increased appropriations to solve project development issues looks increasingly unlikely based on what is happening to the Webb Telescope Project and the National budget deficit.  The potential COTS providers will similarly face a reluctant group of investors if their costs and problems escalate.  
How could this risk mitigated?
The most obvious way to control the risks associated with current NASA planning is to retain the Space Shuttle capability in some form until there is demonstrated American provided capability to transport humans and cargo to and from the ISS.  Retention of the Space Shuttle would provide all of the capability to protect the integrity of the Space Station and its science programs.  The issue as always is cost; however, the cost model could be significantly moderated by commercializing the Space Shuttle Program.  Estimates are that a commercial venture could operate the Space Shuttle for a couple flights per year at perhaps 1/3 of its current cost.  The critical skills are still available at this time.  This would enable America to continue the same capability to support the ISS, and even conduct other priority earth orbit missions such as American controlled human access to space to support a critical unforeseen national security need.
By establishing commercialized Space Shuttle operations, NASA can take a known and reliable flight system and use it to develop and transition the governance and oversight processes needed for the COTS era operations.  In addition to mitigating the risks and uncertainties associated with current NASA plans, America would retain its prominence as a leading participant in human space flight. A professionally done peer reviewed risk assessment will define the risks with their associated uncertainties and highlight where mitigations must be taken.  To do otherwise places reliance on hope over experience.

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Cheney Right!

Cheney RIGHT!!!!! America in GRAVE danger!!!
Bho has decimated our military, space capabilities, our economy. We will undergo a serious attack, perhaps by nuclear weapons by anti American NUTS!! WAKE UP AMERICA !!!!!!!!!!!

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Jim  Hillhouse of American Space
March 5, 2014 at 7:19 pm · Reply
Well, after talking to Capitol Hill staffers, they too are suffering the same head issues I am. At least I’m in good company.
Rather than talk about what Congress will or will not pay for, let’s review what Congress has done since 2010 on space funding.
Congress has, on its own and despite both opposition from the Administration and aggressive delaying tactics on the SLS and Orion programs from NASA, appropriated those amounts needed to keep both Orion and SLS on track. And just as it’s done since 2010, Congress is going to do what it wants on HSF, which is fund Orion and SLS fully.
What Congress sees is not a justification for Commercial Crew. Far from it. Congressional staffers are well aware of the true progress of that program and no, none of those players are getting us to ISS anytime soon. That’s largely NASA’s fault since Congress has informed it that the CCP program needed to down-selected years ago to better focus limited resources for faster progress. But NASA’s leadership didn’t do that for political reasons. Loose Boeing and CCP looses luster and respectability. Loose Sierra Nevada and we working on three capsule programs. And if you want to make engineers working in GN&C or ELSS laugh, tell them that one of the CCP companies will be flying crews by 2016. Guffaws galore.
And those in Congress specializing in space are well aware that, had getting independent access to ISS for our nation really been Job #1 for NASA’s leadership, then the Administration would have approved Boeing’s proposal for the X-37B follow-on, the 5 crew X-37C. We are talking about a dependable spacecraft that can sit in orbit for over a year and NASA said no to making it a crewed vehicle. Why?


What Congress does see is that if we had not gone through the nonsense of 2010, we would be much closer to our own capability to launch crews to ISS than we are today. Instead, Neil Armstrong was right–the Administration changed our nation’s HSF course in secret, without consultation, and mucked things up.
When it comes to the Moon, Congress is funding $3.5B annually on the DDTE for Orion and SLS. Anything else will have to wait for a new Administration as there is zero trust right now in Congress of anything the White House or NASA HQ are selling about human spaceflight.
The x37-b is a fine spacecraft.  However it is MUCH smaller than space Shuttle.  It was deliberately designed to not have the extra weight, life support, and astronaut flying capabilites.  So to add humans would take 5-7 years and significantly modify the design and add a lot of weight meaning much less cargo.  Having said that, It could with enough NASA money be modified to carry about 3, maybe four humans into Low Earth Orbit (LEO).  Right now NASA is spending $500 Million per year to entice 3 companies to provide commercial crew service to ISS.  So contrast that with the NASA budget of $2.8 Billion in 2014 to build the new rocket (Space Launch System SLS and Orion crew capsule) and capsule to go to an asteroid.  That is nearly SIX times more to build a new NASA rocket and capsule that does not go to ISS!!  Does that balance make sense.  Is LEO commercial transportation to ISS an important objective of NASA compared to what they are spending to a maybe futurestunt to return an asteroid rock by humans?
Frank Thomas Buzzard

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X-37B’s First Two Missions Earn Success and Speculation

The ceramic tiles and reaction control system thrusters on the nose of X-37B OTV-2 after its return to earth in June 2012. Photo courtesy of The Boeing Company

SECTIONS:Military & Security News


LABELS:Programs & Technology, Research & Development, U.S. Air Force, Unmanned Systems


On Saturday, June 16, 2012, at 5:48 AM Pacific Daylight Time (12:48 Zulu), the X-37B program’s unmanned Orbital Test Vehicle Two (OTV-2) set down onto the three-mile runway at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. OTV-2’s mission (officially designated USA-226 – the second for the X-37B program) lasted a record-setting 468 days, 13 hours, and 2 minutes, orbiting the Earth more than 7,000 times since its launch aboard an Atlas V Model 501 booster from Cape Canaveral on March 5, 2011.

While the activities the two X-37Bs have engaged in on-orbit remain classified, those who do have insight into the capabilities of the two mini-shuttles are saying that the first flights of OTV-1 (USA-212 which flew for 224 days) and -2 are revolutionizing space access for the United States. However, according to Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force for Space Programs Richard W. McKinney, the X-37Bs are mainly reusable “trucks” to carry experimental space technologies into orbit.

“We’re in a very serious and important business in providing national security space capabilities for our nation,” McKinney said. “As you well know, some of those technologies are state of the art, highly complex, very technical, and our ability to examine those technologies before they’re made operational is a long sought after capability. Now we can test those capabilities well in advance of putting them in operation. So rather than having it go up for the first time and do an operational mission, we could actually test those capabilities. We’re going to use this to put experiments on orbit. We’re going to check them out. We’re going to test them and we’re going to bring them back. That’s what this is.”

However, it is highly unlikely that the X-37Bs are only being used as platforms for testing experimental space technologies. In fact, these innovative products of Boeing’s famous “Phantom Works” in Palmdale, Calif., are likely already being used for a variety of operational military space missions while simultaneously carrying out experimental tasks in orbit. The keys to this wide range of capabilities are likely explained by several design features of the two OTVs, including:

Cargo bay – Of all the features of the recently retired space shuttle fleet, none was cherished by mission planners more than the orbiter’s vast cargo bay. And while the X-37B’s cargo bay is modest by comparison (12 feet long, and 4 feet in diameter for about 600 cubic feet of usable volume) to the shuttle’s, that is a lot of room for talented engineers to pack payloads into. Assuming that the X-37B’s cargo bay has some sort of powered/networked modular/palletized cargo mounting system, this makes it possible to integrate a wide variety of payloads into the diminutive spacecraft.
On-orbit dwell time – Likewise, of the major limitations of the space shuttles, none probably challenged mission planners more than their limited on-orbit dwell time. The need to feed fuel cells with a mix of liquid hydrogen and oxygen meant the shuttles were limited to missions of about two weeks duration. By using a deployable solar panel array feeding rechargeable batteries, the X-37Bs are able to fly missions limited only by maneuvering fuel and mission requirements, not power or consumables issues.
Flight automation – One of the keys to the success of the first two X-37B missions has been the advanced flight automation software flying the mini-shuttle. Virtually every aspect of the OTV’s operations have been automated for ground controllers, up to and including re-entry and landing. This has clearly allowed controllers to minimize maneuvering fuel usage, allowing the requirement-mandated 270-day missions originally planned to be pushed to almost twice that duration on OTV-2’s maiden flight.
So just what were the OTVs doing on their flights? It may be that the X-37s are doing a bit of everything while on-orbit. One real possibility is that an optical sensor package like the ORS-1/USA-231 reconnaissance satellite might be aboard, able to image both ground and co-orbital targets. Electronic/communications intercept payloads are also a distinct possibility. Designed from the start to be capable of refueling friendly satellites in orbit, the X-37B might also be testing its capability to act as an on-orbit replacement carrier for small “NanoSatellite” constellations should U.S. satellites be knocked out by hostile forces. Finally, the OTVs may also be functioning as killer spacecraft in their own right, using something like the 1980s “Brilliant Pebbles” interceptors as the weapons. The X-37B’s cargo bay makes it possible to carry examples of all the systems mentioned above, along with the experimental payloads mentioned by McKinney.

The X-37B OTV-2, one of the Air Force’s unmanned, reusable space planes, landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., June 16, 2012. OTV-2, which launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., March 5, 2011, conducted on-orbit experiments for 469 days during its mission. Boeing photo by Paul Pinner

It’s worth noting that OTV-2 on Mission USA-226 flew longer and farther that the shuttle Discovery did (365 days and 5,400 orbits) on 39 flights over three decades. That means that with just two X-37Bs in the fleet, the Air Force can keep one up at all times for the indefinite future.

Another potential long-term benefit of the basic X-37 design is that it is scalable into both larger and smaller versions at a strikingly low cost. Already Boeing has released notional imagery of an evolved version, the X-37C, which would be approximately 165 percent to 180 percent bigger than the X-37B, fully man-rated, capable of delivering a crew of six into orbit, and would be launched by a version of the Atlas V family.

How impressive is the X-37B program right now? Consider that both the Russians and Chinese have active programs to produce similar spacecraft. In addition, NASA has contracted with Sierra Nevada Systems to produce a manned mini-shuttle for crew/cargo deliveries to orbit. Plan on seeing more of these versatile little spacecraft as access to near-Earth space becomes more common in the years ahead.

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NASA Adrift

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fwd: todays houston chronicle front page article-NASA adrift—-ARE OUR Congressional leaders out of their minds!!
Listen to kraft, abbey, famous astronauts, plus many others, Are our congressional people nuts!
This must be rectified immediately.   The security of the USA is at risk.
Boehner, McConnel, Reid, Cantor, Ryan surely you can understand the significance of the situation.  Perhaps, you should read & give some thought to the Boeing X37c proposal.
We need action NOW!

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Begin forwarded message:

From: “Moon, Larry J. (JSC-EA411)”
Date: May 18, 2014 8:52:38 AM CDT
To: “Moon, Larry J. (JSC-EA411)”
Subject: todays houston chronicle front page article-NASA adrift

A good  article by eric berger/Houston chronicle science writer on the state of NASA and the Houston as space city.  Enjoy the rest of this beautiful weekend everyone.






About the series

This is the first story in a series that will look at the state of America’s space program. In this installment, we examine how NASA’s illustrious human spaceflight program became dependent on Russia to get to space.

Over the remainder of 2014 science writer Eric Berger and photographer Smiley Pool will look at the building of a big new rocket, the collapse of the Constellation program, Congressional infighting for funds, shifting priorities of successive White House administrations, the promise of private space companies and, ultimately, the fate of Houston as Space City.



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Winged Reusable Space vehicles

Abbey is right—keep flying shuttle indefinitely
Don’t start a whole new type of architecture that causes you to go back and start flying capsules, which gave up many years ago.”
Keep flying shuttle/shuttle concept indefinitely —George Abbey
BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (KTRK) — If the shuttle Discovery launches this month, that will leave just two shuttle launches left before the American space shuttle program comes to an end.

Many space experts say Americans will be shocked next spring when they finally realize that we will have to rely on Russia to get to space for years to come. So what does that mean to the US space program, and those who work for NASA?

Eyewitness News Anchor Tom Koch just returned from Russia and Kazakhstan and got an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the future of America’s space travel.
We were the first American news crew in 15 years to cover a Russian space launch. We traveled first to Moscow and then to Kazakhstan, where Russia launched astronaut Scott Kelly and two cosmonauts on the Soyuz rocket.
After next spring, the Soyuz will be our only way to get to space, and some space experts think America is making a big mistake.
For nearly 30 years, the shuttles have been America’s primary space transportation system. But when the final shuttle is retired next June, the only way for Americans to get into space will be on board the Soyuz rocket.
After nearly three decades of watching the sleek, modern shuttle launch, Americans must get used to the idea that NASA’s near-term future will rely on Russia.
It was President George W. Bush who decided six years ago to retire the shuttle fleet next year and build another mode of transportation into space. That was a move Russian space officials told us in an exclusive interview that surprised even them.
“It was a surprise for the overall community, and of course to us,” said Alexey Krasnov with the Russian Space Agency. “Of course, shuttle is unique as a system; no one can match the capability of the space shuttle.”
The plan was for the US to build another space vehicle, one that could eventually carry Americans to the moon and Mars. But NASA didn’t have enough time or money to get it done.
Despite that fact, President Barack Obama and congress have decided not to extend the life of the shuttles until a new spaceship is built.
“I m not sure so many Americans actually know that we’re not going to have a human space flight program for a while,” shuttle commander Mark Kelly said.
Kelly was there to watch his twin brother, Scott, launch on the Soyuz to the International Space Station. He admits relying on Russia is not an ideal situation but one that’s been in the plan for a long time.
“But the good news is we’re gonna continue, we’re gonna build something new, and we’ll be flying again here in hopefully five or six years,” Kelly said.
NASA officials point out America has been relying on Russia for years, launching many astronauts on board the Soyuz. And they say America will still lead the International Space Station.
“It’s a misnomer to say that we’re not a leader in space,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator. “We still are leading in space; we’re doing it a different way.”
“When the shuttle goes away, we’re not gonna be the lead on transportation, but we’re the lead across the board on many other things,” Joel Montablano, NASA’s Russia manager, said. “Together we make it happen; no one country can do this.”
“I think the United States by giving up the shuttle is making a serious mistake because technologically, it’s the most advanced space vehicle in the world, and really there is no reason not to continue to fly it,” former Johnson Space Center Director George Abbey said.
In Moscow, Abbey told us NASA should keep flying the shuttle indefinitely and in the meantime build a new space vehicle based on the technology it knows — winged shuttles. He insists the new rockets that NASA has planned are a step backwards.
“Here we’ve got really the greatest vehicle in the world, and we are giving it up,” Abbey said. “Don’t start a whole new type of architecture that causes you to go back and start flying capsules, which gave up many years ago.”
Abbey says without the shuttle, NASA has no way to get large cargos into space and that will make it more difficult to operate the space station. And he predicts more big layoffs in Houston and Florida when the shuttle program ends.
“For the United States to be in this situation is poor planning, and it doesn’t really exhibit very good vision for the future,” Abbey said.
Many space experts say the fault lies with members of congress who are more interested in saving jobs in their districts than funding a long-range, comprehensive plan for America’s space future.
Monday on Eyewitness News at 6pm, we will take you inside the Russian space program in both Moscow and Kazakhstan, a place few American reporters have been since the fall of the Soviet Union.
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Where are our leaders?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Where are our conservative leaders re Space Capabilities?
Boehner, Ryan, Cantor are not uttering a sound re the USA space capabilities & the destruction that is occurring . Pl 111-267 clearly states our objectives, yet they as the dems just ignore. Will it take a Disaster to regain what we have thrown in the trash heap?

This Nation may never recover from the tragic events of the past few years.

We can set around & write nice pieces until hell freezes over, but we need to get organized to make something happen & we need the media. How we make this happen, I am not sure, but until it does—-we continue down the tube!

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Pl 111-267—-adm breaking the law!!

Item 9
While commercial holds promise for contributing a valuable service in the future, it is
In the national interest to maintain a gov. Operated STS  for crew & cargo transport to space.

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