Status Report

NASA/USAF One Team Questions for Industry

By SpaceRef Editor
January 17, 2002
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  1. What are the technology “long poles” to enable responsive space access (ie capable of achieving aircraft levels of cost, reliability and safety) over the next 25 years (Including vehicle, propulsion, ground infrastructure, operations, payloads, sensors, etc.)? Given your knowledge of currently funded NASA and Air Force programs, what would be your recommended technology roadmap? What changes and/or additional long-term technology investments should begin within the next seven years?
  2. What RLV technologies does your company feel are state-of-the-art and ready for full-scale development today relative to your understanding of NASA and Air Force RLV requirements?
  3. What level and mix of technology maturation activities (e.g., analysis, subscale and system tests, and/or flight demonstration) does it take for your company to consider a technology ready for incorporation into a full-scale RLV system development program? Describe the criteria used for making such assessments
  4. What is the earliest your company believes it is feasible to field a next generation RLV system(s) capable of meeting NASA and Air Force requirements? Please elaborate on your rationale and associated milestones. What would be the top 10 issues going into full-scale (or engineering and manufacturing) development of the next RLV (e.g., funding, technology maturity, immature requirements, joint program complexity, etc.)?
  5. Given your knowledge of currently funded NASA and Air Force programs, what changes and/or additional technology developments are needed to meet the requirements for a new RLV system in the 2012 timeframe?
  6. What are the drivers for meeting operability needs? What is the value of early flight demonstrations using state-of-the-art systems (existing engines, TUFI TPS, SOA avionics, electric valve actuators, etc.) for demonstrating operability? What relationship (if any) exists between the size of the launch vehicle and operability? Describe/define observed interactions between safety and operability needs
  7. What is your company’s perspective as to the value/need of obtaining systems integration and operability experience from the development and flight of an RLV demonstrator as a step towards the development of an operational vehicle to meet AF & NASA goals?  Is a demonstrator a necessary risk reduction step to meet these goals? What types of flight demonstration(s) does your company feel are required in order to field a next generation RLV in the 2012 timeframe? For a 2025 system?
  8. What is you company position on the value of a competitive fly-off between next generation RLV systems?
  9. Given your knowledge of NASA and Air Force requirements, what degree of commonality does your company believe is possible between NASA and Air Force RLV architectures and associated elements (including ground and flight systems)? Does your company see commonality between the NASA/AF needs and mission requirements and a commercial opportunity? Do you believe a modular RLV concept is possible whereby we support a near term demonstrator in the 15-25K payload class, and that booster in turn is a modular component of a larger RLV?
  10. What management/acquisition approach(es) would your company recommend for the development of RLV(s) that meet NASA and Air Force requirements?
  11. What is your assessment of the state of the industrial base to support development of this program simultaneously with EELV and other aerospace programs? Is there a risk to developing this Program due to shortages or deficiencies in areas such as training and expertise of engineers, manufacturing capability, or reliance on foreign parts and materials?
  12. What options would you recommend to support airplane like operations for the Military Space Plane? When would these operational capabilities be available to be part of a test/development program?
  13. Can we develop the launch and early orbit checkout processes, techniques, and procedures to support first or second revolution use of sensors and payloads? Does this require increased technology efforts?
  14. What is your assessment of whether sensors and payloads can be developed that can be jointly used by UAVs and space to support the Global Strike Task Force concept? Which areas are the best candidates? When might these be available?

SpaceRef staff editor.