Space Transportation System:

Past, Present, Future

PSAD-77-113: Published: May 27, 1977. Publicly Released: May 27, 1977.

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Congress has appropriated about $4.4 billion to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and $106 million to the Department of Defense through fiscal year 1977 for development of the Space Transportation System (STS), about one-third of estimated development and production cost. Congress must decide whether to approve a full-scale operational STS by authorizing the start of production of additional orbiters and construction of a second-line launch and landing facility.

Production would be justified if no technical problems are encountered, space activity increases as predicted, and the cost of operation is significantly reduced over expendable vehicles. However, there were indications that these conditions may not be met. Other alternatives presented were delaying production or proceeding with one of the three orbiters.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Until more information is available, Congress should assess the advantages and disadvantages of starting production of a third orbiter in FY 1978 and of delaying funding of the remaining two proposed orbiters. The NASA Administrator should delay implementing a user charge policy until costs and policies for all elements of the STS have been formulated.


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