SETI [ASTRO] Marshall Center's New Rocket Team Looks Beyond the Moon

Larry Klaes (
Fri, 09 Jul 1999 12:49:49 -0400

>X-Authentication-Warning: majordom set sender
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>Date: Fri, 9 Jul 1999 14:41:46 GMT
>From: Ron Baalke <>
>Subject: [ASTRO] Marshall Center's New Rocket Team Looks Beyond the Moon
>Reply-To: Ron Baalke <>
>Dominic Amatore
>Media Relations Department
>Marshall Space Flight Center
>Huntsville, AL
>(256) 544-0031
>For Release: July 8, 1999
>RELEASE: 99-118
>Marshall Center's New Rocket Team Looks Beyond the Moon
>On the anniversary of mankind's first footsteps on the Moon, there's a new
>rocket team at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.,
>preparing to turn those steps into a highway for others to follow.
>Thirty years ago, Dr. Wernher von Braun and his team of engineers and
>dreamers turned an American dream into reality. That original rocket team
>at the Marshall Center built a mammoth rocket called the Saturn V that
>launched the first humans to the Moon. Today, Marshall's new rocket team
>is pursuing a dream as challenging and exciting as the first team's dream
>more than a quarter-century ago.
>It's a dream that holds the possibilities of adventure travel to the Moon,
>solar power satellites tapping the Sun's limitless energy, orbiting movie
>studios, space hospitals free from the stress of gravity, laboratories in
>weightlessness where the pace of discovery is accelerated, and a realistic
>plan to explore Mars and other planets.
>In the early 1960s, the goal of the Marshall Center was to design a rocket
>capable of carrying three brave explorers and their landing craft to the
>Moon and bringing them safely home again.
>At the dawning of the new millennium, the goal is to open space not only to
>explorers, but to the man or woman in a business suit, college professors
>and students, the soldier, movie producer, artist, and family on vacation --
>as well as to the explorer who needs to get to Mars in weeks, not months.
>And to get them into space more safely than today at a more affordable
>The goal 30 years ago when Apollo 11 landed on the Moon was to plant the
>American flag and return home with soil from another world for study.
>The goal today is to build factories, observatories and hotels and return
>home with cancer drugs, electronics, love letters and cards postmarked
>"Sea of Tranquility."
>The goal then was to land a man on the Moon and bring him back safely
>within a decade, and to beat the Soviet Union in doing it. Cost was
>secondary. Risk was high.
>Cost today is primary. NASA's goal is to lower the cost of launching
>payloads into orbit from $10,000 per pound to $1,000 per pound within
>a decade, and to hundreds of dollars per pound in 25 years. Reliability
>must be increased 100 times. Risk must be minimized.
>In charge of meeting those goals is the Marshall Space Flight Center,
>NASA's Lead Center for Space Transportation Systems Development.
>Marshall leads a diverse team from government, industry and academia
>that is approaching these new challenges from several aspects.
>"Everything we want to do or may want to do in space is stymied by the
>high cost of getting there," says Arthur G. Stephenson, director of the
>Marshall Space Flight Center. "It's not much more efficient to get to space
>today than 30 years ago when this nation sent Neal Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin
>and Michael Collins to the Moon. Back then, national pride and Cold War
>victory were on the line. Being able to 'afford' to win these races wasn't
>a question then; the pride of our nation was at stake. Opening space to
>the rest of civilization today involves different economics entirely. The
>advanced technologies that we are working on today are needed to open
>the space frontier to benefit all humanity."
>Today, Marshall engineers and scientists, with their colleagues in industry
>and academia, are working on lighter structural materials and tougher
>thermal insulation. They're designing, developing and building rocket
>engines that are simpler, cheaper and more efficient for reusable launch
>vehicles that will operate more like today's airlines. They're studying
>rockets that don't have to carry their propellants with them, rockets that
>get a cheap boost from a magnetic catapult and rockets that ride a laser
>beam into space.
>And once in space, according to NASA's vision, ion rockets 10 times more
>efficient than chemical rockets will power satellites and spacecraft to
>the planets. Superstrong tethers, cords that are tens of miles long, will
>cast payloads toward the Moon. Sunbeams will push paper-thin solar sails
>miles across toward the outer planets. And starships powered by the
>annihilation of matter with oppositely charged antimatter will become
>more than a physicist's novelty and a science fiction writer's dream.
>On this 30th anniversary of the first human Moon landing, NASA is
>continuing the dream. Experimental rocket planes are being built and
>readied for test flights beginning this year. Exotic hardware for trapping
>antimatter particles is being assembled in a NASA laboratory. And
>commercial companies are writing business plans to open the space
>frontier to everyone.
>Von Braun and his team were visionaries. They took us to the Moon and
>envisioned space stations and voyages to the planets. The new rocket team
>is building on their vision, working on ways to make that dream come true
>and open the final frontier to us all.

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