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5.0 Low earth orbiting facilities

       There will be four major types of facilities in low
   earth orbit (LEO) apart from various satellites and miscelaneous
   trash which are also orbiting in the same region.  Those will
   be: (1) manned or man-capable space stations such as Mir, Salyut,
   or Freedom, (2) fuel depots, (3) garbage collectors or destroyers,
   and (4) the lower end of the earth-moon transportation system.
       At the present time only the Mir and Salyut space stations
   exist.  Of the others, only the Freedom space station is more than
   a glimmer in the eyes of space enthusiasts - and even for those who
   are building Freedom, their dreams are fading fast.
   For the most part this is due to the excessive costs of the space
   shuttle and the capriciousness of American politicians.
   5.1  Space stations
       The primary function of the LEO space stations with respect
   to subsequent exploration and development of the solar system
   will be to serve as holding areas for people in transit.  Since
   it will be several years before significant numbers of people
   are needed on the moon or for the first interplanetary voyages,
   there will be sufficient time for these facilities to mature.
   When the time comes, the passengers or crew will be lifted from
   the ground to the space stations by one of the space planes
   currently under development such as: Hotol, a joint British/Soviet
   venture, or Len Cormier's space van, or some other space plane (see
   section 11.3).  The space shuttles, whether the US version
   or the Soviet version known as Buran or a Japanese version known
   as Hope or the European (ESA) version known as Hermes, are far too
   expensive to simply ferry people from earth to the space stations.
   The US space shuttle could be configured to carry perhaps 50 to 75
   people in its payload bay in some specially designed passenger
   compartment.  At a current cost of $750 million to $1 billion
   per launch, this would be about $10 - $20 million per person for a
   one way trip.  That far exceeds our budget plans.
       To date (1992), all space stations have been placed in orbit
   with ordinary rockets, but the Freedom space station may be placed
   in orbit via the far more expensive space shuttle.  This is
   another example of the maximum cost approach as opposed to the
   minimum cost approach.  Perhaps NASA can be convinced to examine
   some of the available lower cost alternatives - such as the
   Soviet Energia rocket or other alternatives to be mentioned later.
   5.1.1  Freedom space station
       Richard Lewis devotes two full chapters to the Freedom space
   station in "Space in the 21st Century" [Ref 15, p.19-73].
   Part of the following is excerpted from his narrative.
       In June of 1986 NASA estimated that the Freedom space station
   would cost $8 billion [15, p.32].  In the fall of 1986 this
   estimate was revised upward to $14.5 billion [15, p.35].
   By April of 1987 the cost had risen to $17.9
   billion and that was for R&D only [15, p.37]. The cost of
   full deployment was now $27.5 billion [15, p.37].  By the
   spring of 1991 the estimate was over $32 billion for a
   fully deployed space station and that figure was openly
   mocked by members of the US House appropriations subcommittee.
   Charles Bowsher, the GAO's comptroller, estimated the cost of
   the space station at $40 billion and its maintenance from
   2000 to 2027 at an additional $78 billion for a total of
   $118 billion [AW 34, p.23].
       According to NASA, the US has already spent or allocated
   to spend about $7.69 billion on space station Freedom.  These
   figures do not include $4 million spent in FY83 and $14 million
   spent in FY84 on space station studies [126, p.5].
*  Table 5.1.1-1   NASA expenditures on space station Freedom
   Fiscal Year     expenditure ($ M)
       1985            $153.6
       1986            $197.8
       1987            $414.5
       1988            $387.4
       1989            $884.6
       1990          $1,723.7
       1991          $1,900.0   [AW 30, p.85]
       1992          $2,028.0   [AW 30, p.85]
       total       = $7,689.6
       Source: 1991 NASA Pocket Handbook [67, p.C-16].
       Lewis says that the acting program manager of the space station
   estimated that 19 space shuttle flights would be necessary to lift
   and outfit the space station [15, p.36].  However, Ad Astra reported
   that "the Shuttle will require 29 flights from March 1995 to August
   1999 to launch and outfit Space Station Freedom" [AA 6, p.39].
   That amounts to about 6 flights per year for 5 years.
       It is not clear why 29 or even 19 flights are needed to
   accomplish this task.  The same Ad Astra article mentioned above
   says that the mass of the space station is only 227 metric tons
   [p.20].  That mass could be lifted in no more than 8 shuttle
   flights.  Even if provisioning the station doubled its mass, one
   could expect to lift the entire mass in 16 flights.  Alternate space station designs
       Space station Freedom has many critics both in Congress and
   out.  At a congressional hearing, Planetary Society leaders, Carl
   Sagan and Bruce Murray, criticized it - as "not a practical stepping
   stone to Mars" [AW 5, p.27].  John Lewis in "Space Resources"
   tells us that the Department of Defense and the Air Force both
   claim that they don't need the space station and they certainly
   don't want to get hit with part of the tab [14, p.339].
       Representative Dick Zimmer (R-NJ) has called the space station
   an "orbiting boondoggle" [AW 34, p.23].  In the spring of 1991,
   Bob Traxler (D-Mich), who chairs the House Appropriations
   subcommittee with jurisdiction over NASA, offered an ammendment
   which would have cut off funding for the space station.  It passed
   6-3 in the committee.  Fortunately for space station supporters, the
   full House reversed the decision (240-173) and approved funding.
   Nevertheless, the House vote shows that nearly 40% of the House are
   against the space station.  This implies that a swing of only about
   45 votes will doom the Freedom space station.
       Many other space station designs have been formulated over the
   years.  One of the best has come from Oliver Harwood, an aerospace
   design engineer, formerly with Rockwell.  An article by M.A. Dornheim
   in the 1/13/92 issue of Aviation Week described Harwood's design
   [AW 67, p.53-4].  The entire structure would consist of seven types
   of components which could be interconnected in a wide variety of
   ways to produce either a two dimensional or a three dimensional
   structure in space - of any size.  The seven component types are:
*  1. A nodal ball which has 12 ports to which other components
      can be connected.
   2. A cylinder segment which connects to either another cylinder
      or to an end cone.
   3. An end cone which connects either to a cylinder or a nodal
   4. A half strut which simply fills in the structure.
   5. A tripod which connects a half strut to a nodal ball.
   6. An exposed node called a "hedgehog" which accepts struts.
   7. A tunnel which can connect two nodal balls [AW 67, p.53].
       Of course his proposal was not popular at NASA and indeed
   Rockwell even refused to mention it to NASA because "it implied that
   something was wrong with NASA's approach."  Harwood believes that it
   is an example of the industry toadying to NASA. "Industry praises
   NASA to stay in the running for contracts.  NASA believes the
   praise, becoming increasingly difficult to argue with" [AW 67, p.54].
       He believes "the station should be canceled, then industry-wide
   competition restarted for concepts free of NASA preconditions,
   instead of companies competing to see how well they can grovel
   before NASA" [AW 67, p.54].  Harwood's design appeared previously in
   the latest Space Manufacturing, volume 8, p.413-420.  Cost of space shuttle deployment of Freedom
       The following estimate is based on 29 space shuttle flights
   which are assumed to include all necessary makeup flights.  The
   cost of each shuttle flight is estimated at $1 billion - a rather
   conservative figure. (See section 11.3.11 on space shuttle costs.)
*  Budget item               Year      Flights     Cost ($ B)
   Sunk funds             1985 - 1992     0         $7.69
   Building on earth         1993         0         $2.0
   Building on earth         1994         0         $2.0
   Deployment of Freedom     1995         6         $6.0
   Deployment of Freedom     1996         6         $6.0
   Deployment of Freedom     1997         6         $6.0
   Deployment of Freedom     1998         6         $6.0
   Deployment of Freedom     1999         5         $5.0
                                         --        -----
   Total                                 29        $40.69 B
       If only 19 flights were included, the cost estimate would be
   $30.69 billion.  Cost of Energia/Shuttle deployment of Freedom
       The total lift of 29 shuttle flights is 29 * 29.5 MT or
   855.5 MT.  The Energia is capable of lifting 220 MT [23, p.43] and
   thus should be able to lift the same mass in 4 flights.  However,
   we shall assume that the Energia is launched from Tyuratam
   which means that it must make an orbital plane change.  This
   reduces the payload capacity.  We shall therefore use 150 MT as
   the lift capacity and thus 6 flights will be required.  It is
   clear that these extra two flights could be eliminated by launching
   the Energia from Cape Canaveral, but this would require the
   construction of a launch pad at a cost of about $2 billion.
   This would still save additional money because two space shuttle
   flights would also be eliminated.
       Each Energia launch would be accompanied by a shuttle launch
   which would lift the assembly crew and rendezvous with the Energia
   at the space station.  Of course each of those shuttle flights
   could lift space station components as well.
*  Budget item              Year       Flights     Cost ($ B)
   Sunk funds             1985 - 1992     0         $7.69
   Building on earth         1993         0         $2.0
   Building on earth         1994         0         $2.0
   Deployment of Freedom     1995        2/2        $1.5/2.0
   Deployment of Freedom     1996        2/2        $1.5/2.0
   Deployment of Freedom     1997        2/2        $1.5/2.0
                                         ---        --------
   Total                                 6/6       $22.19 B
       The savings would be about $18.5 billion - not an insignificant
   sum!  Notice also that we would have an operational space station
   two years earlier.  Using 4 flights instead of 6 would save another
   $1.5 billion - at least.
       If the 19 shuttle scenario is used, then only 4 flights of
   Energia/Shuttle would be needed at a cost of $18.69 billion, which
   would give a savings of $30.69 billion - $18.69 billion = $12
       An additinal benefit would be the reduced risk of losing another
   space shuttle. The Office of Technology Assessment believes that
   "the odds are almost 9 in 10 that an orbiter will be lost before
   construction is completed" [AW 22, p.181].
   5.1.2  Mir space station
       The Soviet space station, Mir, or "peace", was launched from
   Tyuratam cosmodrome on February 20,1986 [31, p.71].  It was placed
   in a 340 kilometer high orbit with an inclination of 51.6 degrees
   [31, p.109].  Its initial weight was about 20 tons.
       Mir was designed for expansion.  One component is a six
   sided connector to which additional modules can be connected as
   they are brought up from earth.  Between 1986 and 1990, three
   expansion modules were added.  An astrophysics module called "Kvant 1"
   was added in March of 1987, followed by "Kvant 2", a technology
   research and airlock module in December of 1989, and finally,
   "Kristall", a materials processing and shuttle docking module
   [AA 6, p.18].  Two additional modules called "Priroda"
   and "Spektr" were scheduled for deployment in 1991 and 1992.  One
   will carry astronomical instruments and the other will be used for
   earth resources and global monitoring [71, p.54].
       The Soviet space agency, Glavkosmos, has been offering week
   long flights in the Mir space station for about $10 million
   [71, p.54].  The Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) paid upwards
   of $12 million to have Toyohiro Akiyama fly on Mir.  Liftoff
   was Dec. 2, 1990.  Two days were spent en route on Soyuz and then 6
   days on Mir [AA 5, p.7]. While on board Mir, Akiyama broadcast a
   daily commentary on his activities - especially on how sick the
   weightlessness made him. A short article in Aviation Week [AW 34,
   p.22] of 5/6/91 reported that Helen Sharman of the UK was scheduled
   to spend 6 days on Mir with liftoff on 5/18/91.  Germany paid Russia
   about $12 million for a trip to Mir.  Claus-Dietrich Flade, a German
   Cosmonaut, spent a week on Mir from March 17-25,1992 in the company
   of two Russian Cosmonauts.  Austrian and French cosmonauts are
   scheduled to fly on Mir too [71, p.56].   The Soviets have sold
   a backup Mir space station to a Japanese entrepreneur who will be
   using it in a futuristic theme park [71, p.59].
       Mir is not currently capable of operating as a refueling
   station; however, the Mir 2 which will follow sometime in the
   future may have this capability.
   5.2  LEO fuel depots
       There will be a series of fuel depots in low earth orbit
   which will provide fuel for lifting payloads to HEO, for lunar
   missions, for maintaining the proper altitude of the various
   LEO facilities (called station keeping), and possibly for missions
   to Mars or to some of the Apollo (earth-crossing orbit) asteroids.
       Fuel sent up from earth would be in the form of ice or water which
   would be electrolyzed in orbit to produce both oxygen and hydrogen.
   This approach has been advocated by a number of individuals
   including E. Bock and J.G. Fisher [16] and B.A. Roth [LB2, p.207].
   Each fuel capsule would carry its own homing device so that the
   capsules could automatically rendezvous with the fuel facility.
   Such homing devices have already been developed for 155 mm artillery
   shells [117, p.161] and it wouldn't be difficult to extend the
   concept to orbital rendezvous.
       The question of how the fuel depots themselves get into LEO
   will inevitably come up.  The answer depends on the size and
   complexity of the facilities.  Electrolysis is perhaps the most
   trivial procedure one could think of.  Thus the production of
   hydrogen and oxygen gases will require only small lightweight and
   inexpensive equipment.  Due to the fact that the temperature of
   empty space is about 2.7 degrees Kelvin [LB1, p.27] or -270.5 degrees
   Centigrade (which is much colder than the boiling point of liquid
   oxygen or liquid hydrogen), it may not be necessary to have any
   gas liquification equipment associated with these faciltiies.  We
   would simply pump the gas into tanks and allow the extreme cold of
   space to liquify them!  In that case the fuel depots would be greatly
   simplified.  It might be possible to shoot them into LEO with
   Gerald Bull's superguns.  This would require firing projectiles
   loaded with disassembled parts and assembling them remotely in
   orbit.  But it would be very cheap!
       Each projectile which arrives at the fuel depot loaded with water
   will be carrying that water in a tank.  Thus the upcoming projectiles
   will automatically provide the tankage to contain the liquid oxygen
   and liquid hydrogen. (The rocket boosters on the projectiles may
   be fueled with LOX and LH2 too, thus providing additional available
   tankage.)  The entire operation could be very simple, elegant, and
   cheap.   Since the orbital period of a satellite at an altitude of
   400 kilometers is about 1.5 hours, we suggest 16 fuel depots
   distributed equally around the earth.  In this case each depot
   would pass in order over our earth launch points every 1.5 hours.
   Bull's superguns cost only $10 million each, so we can afford to
   have several positioned around the world.
       Initially the fuel depots will be unmanned, but eventually they
   should be expanded into manned facilities.  This will expand the
   demand for the space planes needed to lift the crews economically. We
   certainly cannot afford to use the space shuttle to lift them.  After
   that they should be further expanded to realize Michio Shimizu's
   dream of space hotels.  Space hotels would be a tremendous tourist
   attraction and would thus allow development of space to be
   self-financing.  The increased tourist traffic would finance the
   building of more space planes so that eventually we would have
   sufficient capacity to lift the crew of our Mars mission.
   5.3  The garbage collectors/destroyers
       Few people know that there are thousands of pieces of junk
   floating around in LEO along with the various satellites and
   space stations.  They include exploded rockets and satellites,
   fuel tanks, farrings, shrouds, clamps, bolts, fasteners and so on.
   The US Space Command in Colorado tracks over 8,000 objects 10
   centimeters or larger while a MIT group in Cambridge tracks
   40,000 objects 1 centimeter or larger [71, p.66].  The total number
   of objects exceeds 1,000,000 and the total mass in LEO is more
   than 4,000,000 pounds [SM 38, p.212].    To date, 25
   space shuttle windows have been hit by debris and 11 of them have
   been replaced [AA 6, p.8].  The Japanese lost
   a Ford Aerospace Superbird satellite late in 1990 due to an
   unexplained fuel leak - probably a collision with space debris
   [AW 65, p.71].  In September of 1991, the Discovery space shuttle
   had to maneuver to avoid a collision with a 1000 kilogram upper
   stage of a Soviet booster which had been launched in 1977
   [AA 9, p.6].  Again in November of 1991, the Atlantis space
   shuttle also had to maneuver to avoid a spent Cosmos booster
   [AA 11, p.10].  As more and more satellites and space shuttles
   are launched, the number of pieces of space junk will grow until
   there is a major disaster such as the loss of a space shuttle.  It
   will then become popular to support garbage collectors in space.
       An interesting article by L.P. Lehman and G.E. Canough entitled
   "The Nature of Space Debris and How to Clean it up" appeared in volume
   7 of Space Manufacturing [SM 39, p.259-266].  They say that the
   debris hazard now exceeds the meteor hazard by 5 orders of magnitude.
   "The number of objects of a particular size is in inverse proportion
   to the size of the object" [SM 39, p.259].  They also say that
   an 80 gram object moving at 10 km/sec has as much energy as one
   kilogram of TNT.  It seems that the thousands of small unseen objects
   are more dangerous than the few larger ones which we can plan for
   and thus avoid.  "No practical scheme has been devised to clean up
   the large population of small space debris objects" [SM 39, p.260].
       Their suggestion is to attach "sails" to the pieces of junk which
   would cause their orbits to decay much more rapidly and then they
   would fall into the atomsphere and burn up harmlessly.  They say that
   this method would be useful up to altitudes of 500 km and would cost
   about $700,000 per object retrieved based on lift costs estimated at
   $3000 per pound [SM 39, p.265].  Thus to retrieve the 8000 objects
   larger than 10 centimeters the cost would be about $5.6 billion.
       Our suggestion is to use the beam weapons originally intended
   for the Space Defence Initiative to vaporize the thousands of small
   debris objects.  Both the US and the CIS have invested billions of
   dollars in the development of beam weapons.  Let's get some practical
   use out of them!  The beams would be far superior to other methods
   for knocking down debris because a moving beam can track a fast
   moving target with very little propellant expenditure.  The object
   would simply be heated by focused lasers until it vaporized.  The
   US continues to invest billions in the SDI, so much of the needed
   work is already being done.
   5.4  Earth-moon transportation system
       There is a critical need for a low cost earth-moon transportation
   system. Many different schemes have been suggested for moving payloads
   from the earth to the moon or vice versa such as the following: (1)
   ordinary rockets, (2) a tether system, (3) electromagnetic projectile
   launchers, (4) solar sails, (5) nuclear rockets, and (6) laser
   propulsion systems.  The driving factor in any earth to moon
   transportation system is the cost of propellant.  Many studies have
   shown that 75% to 80% of the cost of any system is the cost of the
   propellant.   Thus its clear that systems which use little or no
   propellant will be much cheaper than conventional systems, i.e.
   rockets.  Indeed one would expect at least a factor of four decrease
   in cost.
   5.5  Heavy lift vehicles
       Heavy lift vehicles such as Energia can lift payloads more
   cheaply than ordinary rocket boosters.  The reason is simple -
   greater volume means greater efficiency which in turn means lower
   average cost.  NASA's problem (and therefore the US taxpayer's
   problem) is that NASA doesn't have one.
       Heavy lift vehicles are rockets which are capable of lifting
   100,000 pounds or more.  HLVs are viewed as necessary by nearly
   everyone in the business to lift the large payloads needed to
   support lunar bases and missions to Mars or the outer planets.  The
   US used to have a HLV called the Saturn 5, but charlatans in the
   government and NASA succeeded in dumping the Saturn 5 for the space
   shuttle.  Now, when the US is faced with the high cost of space
   station deployment, we have no HLV.
       The following sections describe some of the heavy lift options
   that are available.
   5.5.1  Advanced launch system (ALS)
       NASA and DOD have been talking about heavy lift vehicles
   for years and finally in the fiscal 1992 and 1993 budget
   requests actual line items appeared.  The February 11,1991
   issue of Aviation Week [AW 30, p.85] had the following data.
   NASA funding of a new launch system was $23.9 million in fiscal
   1991 and the request for fiscal 1992 was $175 million.  Air
   Force funding was $25 million in fiscal 1991 and the request
   for fiscal 1992 was $147.7 million and for fiscal 1993 was
   $251.1 million.  Total funding will reach $550 million in
   fiscal 1993 [AW 30, p.84].
       In an article by J.R. Asker in Aviation Week [AW 32,
   p.155-6] a few details began to emerge.  The project is now
   called the Advanced Launch Development Program (ALDP) instead
   of the Advanced Launch System.  It will carry payloads of up to
   100,000 pounds to low earth orbit.  According to NASA's
   associate administrator for space flight, William B. Lenoir,
   the goal is to keep operational costs below $100 million
   per flight.  ALDP aims for a cost of $2200 per kilogram of
   payload [AW 32, p.156], but hopes it will drop to $660 per
       In May of 1991, Aviation Week reported that the Office
   of Technology Assessment estimated that the ALS would cost
   about $9.5 billion over a period of 10 to 12 years [AW 35,
       The ALS is the same program that is described in the next
   section as an external tank derivative HLV.
   5.5.2  External tank (ET) derivative
       One of the candidates for a "new" heavy lift vehicle is
   a derivative of the external tank which is used by the space
   shuttle.  An article by E.H. Kolcum that appeared in Aviation
   Week [AW 43, p.58-60] on 8/26/91 described the proposal in
   some detail.
       Martin Marietta Manned Space Systems believes that they
   could build the National Launch System (NLS) using the ET
   as its core.  James McCown, VP at Martin Marrietta, said they
   could deliver the first vehicle in 55 months and have an
   operational system in 6 years (from go ahead).
       The ET is 47 meters long and 8.5 meters in diameter. It
   carries 145,138 gallons of liquid oxygen weighing about 627 metric
   tons and 390,139 gallons of liquid hydrogen weighing about 104
   metric tons - for a total of 731 metric tons of fuel.  The original
   tanks weighed 76,000 pounds but current ones weigh only 66,000
   pounds.  McCown says they could shave another 4,000-7,000 pounds
   off by using aluminum-lithium alloys in part of the structure.
   (At what exorbitant price one instantly wonders.)
       A standard LOX-LH2 engine with 580,000 pounds of thrust
   has been tentatively approved.  A HLLV composed of four such
   engines (one ET) and two solid boosters would be able to put
   80,000 pounds (36,363 kg) into the space station's orbit
   [AW 43, p.58].
       Many people, such as Brian O'Leary have advocated using
   the ET as a component of the space station.  O'Leary notes
   that the ET achieves 98% of orbital velocity and contains
   as much as 10 tons of residual liquid oxygen and liquid
   hydrogen [49, p.60-1].  Instead of throwing away the ET on
   each shuttle flight, it could be boosted to the space station
   and be utilized as living quarters or experimental areas.  O'Leary
   estimates it would require only 600 pounds of fuel per year
   per ET to maintain them at the space station [49, p.61].
       An update to this story appeared in the November 1991 issue
   of Ad Astra (p.9-10).  The new LOX-LH2 engine was then referred
   to as the space transportation main engine (STME) and its thrust
   had been upgraded to 275,000 kilograms.  Consequently the lift
   weight had also been increased to 45,000 kilograms from 36,363.
   The first test firing will be the end of 1996 and the maiden
   flight will be in the year 2000 [AA 8, p.10].
   The estimated cost was given as $10.5 - $12 billion to be
   split between NASA and DOD.
   5.5.3  Saturn 5
       The possibility of reviving the Saturn 5 rocket for use
   as a heavy lift launch vehicle has received very little press
   although it appears NASA is considering the possibility.
   This is probably due to NASA's embarrassment over the colossal
   blunder that they made when they abandoned the Saturn 5.
       Thomas J. Freiling has made a careful analysis of the
   Saturn 5 option.  His analysis was detailed in an article
   which appeared in Aviation Week [AW 35, p.67-8] on 5/29/91.
       His basic overall scheme calls for keeping the F-1 engines
   of the Saturn first stage, but replacing the J-2 engines of the
   second and third stages with space shuttle main engines (SSMEs).
   The following comparisons of the two engines was given:
*      Feature                     J-2         SSME
       weight(kg)                1,587         2,955
       thrust(kg)              104,545       213,636
       specific impulse            421           460
       thrust to weight ratio       65.8          72.3
       By using the SSMEs, greater lift capability could be
   obtained than the Saturn 5 originally had - which was 140 tons
   to LEO or 50 tons to the moon.  Additional weight savings could
   be made by using composite technology and/or aluminum to build
   lighter weight fuel tanks.
       "The second reason for reviving Saturn 5 technology is
   infrastructure.  Not all of the infrastructure that supported
   Saturn 5 is gone and none is irretrievable" [AW 25, p.67].
   "Several important elements remain including the Vehicle
   Assembly Building, the crawlerways leading to the launch pads
   and the transporters used to move the mobile launcher platforms."
       Furthermore, blueprints still exist not only for the
   Saturn 5 but also for the tooling to build the parts.  Also
   full scale mockups exist at KSC and JSC.   Several flight
   ready F-1 engines are in storage.  In addition, an upgraded version
   of the F-1 engine was developed which had a thrust of 1.8 million
   pounds as compared to the standard verion which had a thrust of
   1.5 million pounds [61, p.65].
       Deputy NASA administrator J.R. Thompson has stated that
   the first Saturn 5 firings could take place in 4-6 years
   [AW 35, p.68]. No cost figures were given but clearly the risk is
   significantly lower than many alternatives.
       The Synthesis Group which was chaired by ex-astronaut Thomas
   Stafford, recommended this approach also. Their recommendation
   was as follows: "The Space Exploration Initiative launch
   requirement is a minimum of 150 metric tons of lift, with designed
   growth to 250 metric tons. Using Apollo Saturn 5 F-1s for booster
   engines, coupled with liquid oxygen-hydrogen upper stage engines
   (upgraded Saturn J-2s or space transportation main engines), could
   result in establishing a heavy lift launch capability by 1998"
   [61, p.113].
   5.5.4  Energia (CIS)
       On May 15, 1987 the Energia lifted off on its maiden
   voyage.  This massive booster has a core rocket which is
   60 meters tall and 8 meters in diameter which burns LOX-LH2
   [23, p.43].  This core is surrounded by up to six strap-on
   boosters each 40 meters tall and 4.3 meters in diameter
   which burn oxygen and kerosene [23, p.43].  The payload
   which is enclosed in a 4.15 meter diameter shroud is strapped
   onto the other side of the core.  The entire system weighs
   about 4000 MT and has a thrust of 5600 MT and is capable
   of placing up to 220 MT into LEO [23, p.43].
       According to a brief article in Ad Astra [AA 4, p.34],
   the cost of an Energia launch is $600-$750 million.  Thus the
   cost per kilogram would be $2727 - $3409 which far less
   than the cost of the space shuttle.
       Clearly this is a viable HLV that could be available
   on short notice. According to Nicholas Booth "NASA could
   easily adapt its vehicle elements to be flown atop the
   Soviet craft" [71, p.96].
       Hidden on the last page of a congressional report called
   "Exploring the Moon and Mars", the Office of Technology
   Assessment had this to say, "the Soviet Union possesses the
   world's only heavy-lift launch vehicle, capable of lifting
   about 250,000 pounds to low-earth-orbit. It has offered to
   make Energia available to the United States for launching
   large payloads. .. the Soviet offer could assist in developing
   US plans to launch large, heavy payloads, e.g. fuel or other
   noncritical components of a Moon or Mars expedition.  If these
   cooperative ventures succeeded, they could be extended to
   include the use of Energia to launch other payloads, perhaps
   even a joint mission to the Moon or Mars" [63, p.104].  This
   was written in the summer of 1991, before the demise of the
   Soviet Union.
   5.5.5  BDB - Big Dumb Booster
       Over the years many people have advocated the "big
   dumb booster" to no avail.  One such advocate was Arthur
   Schnitt, an engineer at The Aerospace Corp in the late 1960s.
   A long article by Gregg Easterbrook in the 8/17/87 issue of
   Newsweek detailed Schnitt's struggle against the NASA
   establishment to sell the idea of a cheap booster [Ref 28,
       Schnitt wanted to minimize costs. His basic idea was
   "the lower the stage, the less the sophistication".  Instead
   of minimum weight, design for minimum cost. This would be
   accomplished as follows:
*  1. Propellants would be storable like the ones used on
      Titan or liquid oxygen and kerosene like Saturn 5
   2. No turbo pumps would be used (to pump fuel)
   3. No cooling system would be used, instead heat shields
      would do the job
   4. There would be no engine swivels on the lower stage.
   5. The rocket would be built out of steel instead of
      aluminum and specialty metals.
       Schnitt couldn't interest NASA in his ideas. "He ran
   into the inverse motivation that afflicts government agencies:
   namely, they like programs to be expensive.  Expensive programs
   mean expanded empires and increased importance for the officials
   running them" [28, p.50].  Schnitt said, "A lobbyist from
   Martin Marietta told me, 'You're going to ruin the industry
   if you persist in this. Think of your friends who will be out
   of jobs if we cut costs.'" [28, p.50].
       The lunar excursion module descent engine (LEMDE) was a
   (small) dumb booster because NASA couldn't afford to have it
   fail.  TRW, who built LEMDE, decided to build a big one just
   to see if it would work.  It cost $20,000 and was built to
   "shipyard production tolerances" , but it worked!  They
   throttled it up to 250,000 pounds of thrust [28, p.50] or
   about half of the space shuttle main engine which costs
   $45 million.
       Finally the Air Force took some interest.  The Air Force
   Rocket Propulsion Laboratory under Donald Ross, deputy
   director, developed and tested simple rockets with up to
   5,000,000 pounds thrust. "We found there was really no limit
   to how big you could make a rocket engine, so long as you
   kept it simple", said retired Air Force Major Gen. Joseph
   Bleymaier [28, p.52].  But "there was tremendous prejudice
   at the Pentagon against anything that wasn't the highest
   possible level of technology."   The big dumb booster was
   out, the space shuttle was in.
       Even Boeing worked on a low cost booster with a thrust
   of 2,000,000 pounds - called Project Scrimp.
       The cost of orbiting a 50 ton payload with the Big
   Dumb Booster was estimated to be $310 per pound or $682
   per kilogram [28, p.50] in 1987 dollars.
   5.5.6  Shuttle-C
       Another heavy lift vehicle being considered by NASA is
   the Shuttle-C.  In an article in the July/August 1990 issue
   of Ad Astra, it was estimated that development and performance
   of the first flight test of the Shuttle-C would take 4 years
   and cost $1.8 billion [AA 6, p.36-40].
       The Shuttle-C is a cargo vehicle derived from the space
   shuttle.  It would use the same solid rocket boosters and
   external fuel tank as does the space shuttle.
   In place of the shuttle orbiter would be an unmanned cargo
   pod equipped with 2 or 3 space shuttle main engines.  It
   could boost as much as 70 MT to the space station.  Initial
   development could be achieved in 4 to 4.5 years for about
   $1.5 billion according to an article in Aviation Week in
   December of 1990 [AW 63, p.19].  Flight testing would cost another
   $600 million.  The Office of Technology Assessment has estimated
   that the incremental cost per launch would be $235 million
   or about $3357 per kilogram of payload [AW 63, p.19].
       In May of 1991 it was reported that NASA deputy administrator
   J.R. Thompson said that development of the Shuttle-C would
   take 6 years and cost $1.2 billion [AW 35, p.68].  At a
   congressional hearing in the spring of 1990, NASA space flight
   chief, William Lenoir said, "if you add up the development
   costs as well as the costs of the vehicles, and modifications
   to station hardware, the cost would be $3.7 billion for the
   Shuttle-C" [AA 6, p.39].
   5.5.7  Summary of heavy lift boosters
       The preceding sections have reviewed most of the heavy
   lift boosters.  We can now summarize the available options.
*  Booster  Availability    Development   Lift    Payload
                             ( $ B )      (MT)     $/kg
   ALS(ET)     2000             12        45.45    2200?
   Saturn 5    5 yrs           3-5?       150?      ?
   Energia     1987             0         220      2727
   BDB         3 yrs?           ?        50-100    700?
   Shuttle-C   1998?           3.7         70      3357
       Even a moron with his head bashed in could figure this
   one out.  Space station Freedom will take at least 19 and
   perhaps as many as 29 space shuttle flights
   [AA 6, p.39] to launch and outfit.  The Energia could lift
   everything in three or four flights costing significantly
   less than the development costs of all other options!
     5.6 Timeline

          The  US could move up the deployment of space station Freedom
     by  two years by using the Energia and the space shuttle together.
     If  NASA  and/or  the DOD insist on development of a US heavy lift
     vehicle,  it will take at least 6 years and about $5 - $10 billion
     in taxpayers' dollars.
          LEO  fuel depots could be deployed slowly, beginning when the
     superguns  become operational, provided the component design phase
     begins  at  about  the  same  time  that  the supergun development
     begins.  It  will  probably  take  two to three years to establish
     these depots.
          The  expansion  of  the  depots into small space stations and
     finally  into  space  hotels  would  take  several  more years. Of
     course,  if  it  were  taken  up  by  some enthusiastic group like
     Shimizu  Corporation,  it  could  probably be done in two or three
     5.7 Political summary
         1. Space stations will be the gateways through which the crews
     of  our  future  spaceships  will  pass. We need space stations to
     serve  as  holding  areas  for people in transit and to help raise
     money for future space projects.  By passing thousands of tourists
     through  the  space  stations,  we can raise significant funds and
     expand our fleet of space planes.
         2. The US  should not spend the money to develop another heavy
     lift  vehicle.  The  Russians  already  have  a heavy lift vehicle
     called  Energia.  Let  the  Russians be the world leaders in heavy
     lift vehicles. They have offered to make the Energia available for
     US use.
         3. The deployment of space station Freedom exclusively via the
     space  shuttle  would  be  an  extremely  costly  mistake. Use the
     Energia  to  help deploy space station Freedom. US taxpayers could
     save  anywhere from $12 billion to $18 billion by sending up pairs
     of  Energias  and  shuttles.  The  Energia  would lift most of the
     components and the shuttle would lift the assembly crew. The space
     station could be completed two years sooner with this approach.
         4.  Low  earth  orbiting fuel depots could be established with
     low  cost conventional powder guns such as Gerald Bull's supergun.
     The  fuel  will  be  water  (or  ice)  lifted  from  earth via the
     superguns.  These  facilities  could slowly be expanded (remotely)
     into  small  space stations and eventually into space hotels - for
     the tourist trade.
          5.  Before we suffer the loss of another space shuttle - this
     time  due  to  a  collision with space debris - we must attempt to
     eliminate  the  problem.  Use  the  beam weapons developed for the
     strategic defense initiative to destroy the space debris by simply
     evaporating  it.  This  would keep those workers in their jobs and
     give them a legitimate purpose for their existence.