[FPSPACE] Trending: USAF Space Command Head Suggests Using US ICBM rocket engines on US commercial payload rocket launchers to space

Peter Pesavento pjp961 at svol.net
Fri Apr 15 12:22:31 EDT 2016

I am wholly in favor of this idea.  The US should offer decommissioned
Minuteman ICBM rocket engines for commercial space usage to American
customer/companies for the smaller payloads.  And it would make good sense
to recycle the engines.


It would make also additional good geopolitical sense in the view of those
US policy makers who are so inclined, that they send the strongest signal to
Putin and his inner circle that their territorial misadventures in Russia's
near abroad have negative consequences.  


Via spacenews.com




Hyten tries to find "sweet spot" on surplus ICBM issue 


by Mike Gruss - April 15, 2016 - 


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The head of Air Force Space Command said U.S.
launch companies should be able to buy rocket motors from decommissioned
intercontinental ballistic missiles to power commercial launches, but at a
price that would not put the rest of the commercial small launch industry at
a disadvantage.

Current U.S. policy says that launch companies cannot use the rocket motors
to launch commercial satellites and can only use them for national security
missions in certain instances.

"From a taxpayer perspective, wouldn't it be better to get some value out of
them rather than destroy it?" Gen. John Hyten, the head of Air Force Space
Command, said during a press briefing April 14 at the 32nd Space Symposium
here. "From an Air Force perspective, there's a sweet spot there because
those ICBMs actually have value." U.S. Launch companies disagree over
whether Congress should allow the Air Force to sell some of the hundreds of
decommissioned ICBMs.

Orbital ATK, which uses ICBM solid rocket motors for its Minotaur 4 launch
vehicle to carry payloads weighing between 500 and 2,000 kilograms,
anies-to-reclaim-small-satellite-launch-market/> says lifting the commercial
ban on surplus  ICBMs would allow it to compete for missions that might
otherwise go to Russian rockets and other cheap foreign launchers.

But other small launch ventures, notably Virgin Galactic, which is
developing its LauncherOne vehicle for payloads around 200 kilograms,
rcuit-commercial-space-renaissance/> say lifting the ban would give Orbital
ATK an unfair advantage. A consortium of eight small launch companies
calling themselves the Next-Generation Launch Coalition, wrote the Senate
Armed Services Committee in March to oppose any change in current law.

Lawmakers are expected to learn more about the issue at an April 19 hearing
titled "The Commercial Space Launch Industry: Small Satellite Opportunities
and Challenges," before the House Science space subcommittee.

"If we make those available  - not for free - but available, at the right
number, I think there's a sweet spot there," Hyten said. "You can't give
ICBMs away. That gives someone an unfair advantage."

However, the Air Force also needs a small commercial launch sector for the
long term.

"Whatever we do with those ICBMs, we can't destroy the commercial launch
sector. "

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