NASA Statement on the Intergrated Space Transportation Plan

Press Release From: NASA HQ
Posted: Friday, November 8, 2002

Glenn Mahone
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-1898)

The Administration is preparing a change to its Fiscal Year (FY) 2003 budget to implement a new Integrated Space Transportation Plan (ISTP) and ensure the International Space Station is properly financed and better positioned to achieve its scientific research priorities.

NASA believes it is important to move forward in a highly integrated way to assure access to and from the International Space Station and Low Earth Orbit. This change is part of a continuing effort to ensure programs and budgets, developed to carry out NASA's vision and mission, are responsible, credible, and compelling.

The new direction reflects important changes to NASA's five- year budget plan, within the totals contained in the President's FY 2003 Budget. It is based on multiple studies, undertaken over the past few years, including the extensive work conducted under the Space Launch Initiative (SLI). The new plan will be sent to Congress soon.

SLI was designed to identify feasible options for future NASA space transportation. Having accomplished this objective, and using study results conducted in preparation for a 2003 System Requirements Review (SRR), NASA has selected a robust and flexible approach to meeting space transportation needs through the new ISTP.

ISTP consists of three major programs: Space Shuttle, Orbital Space Plane, and Next Generation Launch Technology. The new plan makes investments to extend Shuttle's operational life for continued safe operations. The Orbital Space Plane is designed to provide a crew transfer capability, as early as possible, to ensure access to and from the International Space Station. The Next Generation Launch Technology Program funds developments in areas such as propulsion, structures, and operations for the next generation Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV). The SLI will focus on the Orbital Space Plane and Next Generation Launch Technology, including third generation RLV efforts.

The budget changes reflect a strategic decision to more tightly couple the Space Station, Space Shuttle, and SLI programs. Recently completed independent cost estimates and program reviews have determined that the Space Shuttle flight rate should be increased and steps should be taken to assure NASA's ability to achieve U.S. Core Complete, while meeting international commitments and providing a robust orbital research program. The proposed new plan reflects these changes.

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