Shuttle vs. EELV debate in defense bill

The ongoing debate on whether NASA should adopt a shuttle-derived or EELV-derived approach for a future heavy-lift launch vehicle (HLLV) or CEV launch vehicle has made its way into the FY06 Defense Department appropriations bill, according to a report in Thursday’s Deseret News. The Salt Lake City newspaper reported that Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) “also inserted language that instructs the Department of Defense and NASA to look into the benefits of a shuttle-based flight system into space, as opposed to other systems that are not as proven or capable.” I skimmed through both the text of the appropriations legislation and the appropriations committee report and could not find this particular provision.

The article also includes this quote from Bishop’s spokesman: “ATK-Thiokol believes this study will vindicate the shuttle system for which they build boosters, as opposed to other more expensive, less capable heavy lift boosters.” ATK Thiokol, of course, manufactures the shuttle’s solid rocket boosters and has a keen interest in shuttle-derived systems. It’s also a major Utah employer, hence the interest from the Utah congressman. There are already a number of studies in progress in this area, including one said to be completed soon by the Congressional Budget Office.

8 comments to Shuttle vs. EELV debate in defense bill

  • Matthew Corey Brown

    The only thing i found which could been spun.. if your a yo-yo master is:

    ” SEC. 8074. Funds available to the Department of Defense for the Global Positioning System during the current fiscal year may be used to fund civil requirements associated with the satellite and ground control segments of such system’s modernization program.”

    Civil can mean NASA, and if they used a HLV could get more up there faster. And if modernazation means safegaurds from attack being able to launch a bunch more quickly could be in it. THough i don’t see how a shuttle derived HLV could launch at a moments notice.

    Might be an amendment he put in yesturday that hasn’t shown up on thomas.

    There is also an admendment H.AMDT.326 titled “Space Preservation Act of 2005″ that was shut down. No text of it is available though and it wasn’t Bishop that proposed it.

    The cynic in me says he just said that to apease his space contingent.

  • Bill White

    Is there any possible way for CEV lifted by EELV to fly by 2010?

    Thiokol RSRM + J2 apparently can meet that deadline.

  • Cecil Trotter

    “Is there any possible way for CEV lifted by EELV to fly by 2010?”

    If this were 1961 5 years would be plenty of time to get that done.

  • Matthew Corey Brown

    the big difference between 1965 and 2005, in 1965 there were alot more aerospace companies with NASA contracts, since then Lockheed and Boeing have bought most of the companies.

    Though Mike said in his talk on tuesday, that little offical word has come out about his commercial plans because now they are concentrating on return to flight. And to expect something more concrete in the “very early fall”

    so 3-4 months before i can get depressed again. :)

  • Just N. Engineer

    Bill: “Thiokol RSRM + J2 apparently can meet that deadline.”

    One problem: Rocketdyne stopped making the J2 oh, about 30 years ago or so. I bet you probably have to rebuild the production line, tooling, etc. from scratch. Basically, a whole new engine. How much will that cost? How long will that take?

  • Bill White

    Scott Horowitz says:

    “While the J-2 hasn’t been used since the last Saturn 1B launch in 1975, he was confident that the engine would be available, based on conversations with executives at Rocketdyne, the Boeing subsidiary that built the J-2.”

    “They actually have 12 J-2s sitting around,” he said, and added that the company felt they could get a production line for new J-2 engines going in a couple years.

    12 spares? That will do fine for 2010 & 2011 giving an extra couple years to get the assembly line going.

  • Mike Puckett

    I would think the RL-60 would be the prefreable solution. It is newer technology and using two to do the job of one J-2 would give you an limited engine out capability on your second stage.

  • alex b

    Nice read. Keep it going. Spiderfriend333