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Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on the National Aerospace Plane (NASP)
DEFENSE SCIENCE BOARD WASHINGTON DC
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The NASP started in 1984 as a program to explore hypersonic air breathing propulsion. It transitioned during 1985 to a program with the dual goals of demonstrating single stage to orbit and hypersonic cruise with the same vehicle. DSB Task Force conclusions include 1 The NASP program goals are valid. The technologies which NASP will develop will make significant contributions to our national military and space capabilities and our civilian economy as we enter the 21st century. 2The NASP is truly an X-Vehicle. Expectations of short term operational utility should not be raised. 3 Technical uncertainties in all critical disciplines must be narrowed before detailed design is initiated. Uncertainties are too large to estimate with any degree of accuracy the cost, schedule or performance which can be achieved in Phase 3. 4 Readjust the program funding priorities to favor the Technology Maturation effort, while retaining sufficient effort in definition airframe and propulsion configuration to provide focus for the technology work. 5 An experimental program of this type should be event driven, not schedule driven. Demonstration of quantitative technical milestones in all critical disciplines should pace the program. EDC
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE