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January 5, 2013

If you want a deep look into the world of real spaceflight you need to peer inside NASA.  For a view from a former Space Shuttle flight director I know where to send you.  Some honest soul searching and insight to the complexity of NASA engineering and management is available in another WordPress blog.  Wayne Hale is posting memories of his service at NASA, examining good and bad experiences along the way.

If you go back to the beginning there is a long trail of memories that show how our present space program developed.  There is a lot of detail about the disasters and the “right stuff” that keep it working.  We need to remember that the shuttle was a manned space truck.  It had to carry a crew and large cargo loads.  Current thinking is to use unmanned rockets for heavy lift, and place the crew with smaller man rated vehicles.  We can reduce the design requirements if we are not making a man rated super truck.

The HILLS proposal is expected to be best suited to crewed flights and commercial operations.  We were aiming at a “DC3” scale rather than a “Spruce Goose” application.  Heavy lift may be decided between the Space Launch System or commercial heavy boosters.  If manned carriers are small enough there is less vehicle, systems, and logistics support needed.  Smaller faster cheaper is a plan that fits our future budget needs.




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