Launch Options for the Future
OFFICE OF TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT WASHINGTON DC
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Adequate, reliable space transportation is the key to this Nations future in space. Over the next several years, Congress must make critical decisions regarding the direction and funding of U.S. space transportation systems. These decisions include improving existing launch systems, designing and procuring new launch systems, and developing advanced technologies. Americas constrained budgetary environment and the lack of a national consensus about the future of the U.S. space program make Congresss role in this process more difficult and important than ever. In order to decide which paths to take in space transportation, Congress must first decide what it wants to do in space and what it can afford. A space transportation system designed to meet current needs would be woefully inadequate to support a piloted mission to the planet Mars or to deploy ballistic missile defenses. Accordingly, this special report, which is part of a broader assessment of space transportation requested by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, takes the form of a buyers guide to space transportation. It describes the range of launch systems that exist now or could be available before 2010 and explores the costs of meeting different demand levels for launching humans and spacecraft to orbit. It also discusses the importance of developing advanced technologies for space transportation.
- Economics and Cost Analysis
- Government and Political Science
- Manned Spacecraft