STA Calls for Making RLV a National Goal; Linking ISS to Mars and Increases to NASA, DoD Space Budgets


ARLINGTON, VA. May 14 -In its most comprehensive statement on the U.S. human spaceflight program ever issued in its 11-year history, the Space Transportation Association Tuesday called for making a fully reusable launch vehicle a U.S. national goal, and linking the early operations aboard the International Space Station to solving research issues associated with an early expedition to Mars by 2019.

In testimony today before the U.S. Commission on the Future of the Aerospace Industry STA Chairman Tidal W. McCoy called for a sustained increase to the annual NASA budget beginning in fiscal year 2003 and continuing for the next decade. "The down-payment for this growth should be at least a $500 million increase above the amount requested by the Bush administration, and growing incrementally over the next decade," McCoy said in additional, more detailed written testimony submitted before the commission. "We cannot have a first class space program on the cheap, and it's time we stopped trying," McCoy added.

He also called for boosts to Pentagon spending on advanced space vehicles and hailed the announcement of the National Aerospace Initiative as an important step. "We must remember former Air Force Secretary Sheila Widnall's call for an 'Air and Space Force' transforming into a 'Space and Air Force'. It's time we moved more strongly to achieve her vision," he added. McCoy also called for a reinvigoration of the Commerce Department's Commercial Space office to work more closely with industry in tracking global trends and identifying roadblocks to U.S. commercial space interests.

In other recommendations, STA Chair McCoy called for:

  • Increased spending on Space Science programs, specifically accelerated advanced robotic scouts to Mars and beginning a new start of an Earth-Mars communications and navigation satellite system to guide probes and the coming of the 2019 human expedition
  • Full funding for the Pluto-Kuiper mission
  • Funding for a full suite of Space Shuttle upgrades
  • Making revamping of Cape Canaveral, Vandenberg, and Kennedy Space Center a national goal by the end of the next decade
  • A continuous technology development program for the EELV project
  • Funding a study on creation of a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to operate Cape Canaveral and other U.S. commercial spaceports
  • Greater use of commercial space systems for military space missions, including greater purchases of commercial remote sensing products
  • Funding of X vehicle demonstrators to advance the development of a next-generation RLV
  • A NASA-FAA joint program to develop a medical research database on the effects of microgravity upon potential space tourists

The Space Transportation Association is an Arlington, Virginia trade group whose members represent the U.S. space launch and human spaceflight industries. The organization supports the development of lowering the cost of access to space and strengthening the space transportation industry by the application of prudent government policy, budgets, and a benign regulatory environment.

For Additional Information Contact: Frank Sietzen, Jr. 703-685-7090

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