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Post-Challenger Assessment of Space Shuttle Flight Rates and Utilization Prepared by a Panel Convened by the Committee on NASA Scientific and Technological Program Reviews Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS October 1986 0~t ~ GHiV ,~9
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was established by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Acaden~y's purposes of furthering knowledge and of advising the federal government. The Council operates in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy under the authority of its congressional charter of 1863, which establishes the Academy as a private, nonprofit, self-governing membership corporation. The Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in the conduct of their services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. It is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine were established in 1964 and 1970, respectively, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences. This study was supported by Contract NASW-3511 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Copies available from: Committee on NASA Scientific and Technological Program Reviews National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418 Printed in the United States of America 6
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Members of the Panel EDWARD E. DAVID, JR., President, EED, Inc., Bedminster, New Jersey, Chairman W. BOWMAN CUTTER III, Partner, Coopers & Lybrand, Washington, D.C. DAVID D. ELLIOTT, Vice President, Science Applications International Corporation, LaJolla, California HERBERT FRIEDMAN, Retired Chief ~ - ~ ~~ ~ ^ Space Research, Naval NnRMAN R . PARNiET . Retired Scientist, E.O. Hulburt Center for Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C. Vice President-Engineering and Quality Assurance, Trans World Airlines, Fairway, Kansas BRYCE POE II, Consultant, Retired Commander, U.S. Air Force Logistics Command, Alexandria, Virginia EBEKHARDT RECHTIN, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Aerospace Corporation, Los Angeles, California HARRISON H. SCHMITT, Consultant, Former Astronaut, Albuquerque, New Mexico ABE SILVERSTEIN, Consultant, Retired Director, NASA Lewis Research Center, Fairview Park, Ohio GEORGE E. SOLOMON, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Electronics and Defense Sector, TRW, Inc., Redondo Beach, California EUGENE E. COVERT, Professor of Aeronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Ex Officio Member Technology, ROBERT H. KORKEGI, Study Director JoANN C. CLAYTON, Assistant Study Director ANNA L. FARRAR, Administrative Assistant . . . 111
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Preface The Committee on NASA Scientific and Technological Program Reviews was created by the National Research Council in June 1981 as a result of a request by the Congress of the United States to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration that it establish an ongoing the National Academy of' Engineering for the purpose of providing an independent, objective review of the scientific and technological merits of NASA programs whenever the Congressional Committees on Appropriations so direct. 1 relationship with the National Academy of Sciences and To date five tasks have been undertaken.2-6 The sixth task, which is the subject of this report, resulted from a request by the House Committee on Appropriations to the NASA Administrator in late April 1986 for an examination of space shuttle flight rates and utilization following the -loss of the Orbiter Challenger (Appendix A). Congressional Conference Report 90-147b, November 21, 1950. 2National Research Counctl, The International Solar Polar flission--A Review and Assessment of Options, 1981, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. 3National Research Council, Aeronautics Research and Technology--A Review of Proposed Reductions in the FY 1983 NASA Program, 1982, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. 4National Research Council, Assessment of Constraints on Space ~ _ ~ Shuttle Launch Rates, 1983, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. 5Nattonal Research Council, Review of NASA's Numerical Aerodynamic Simulation Program, 1984, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. 6National Research Council, Assessment of Candidate Expendable Launch Vehicles for Large Payloads, 19&4, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. v
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At its meeting on May 16, 1986, the Committee nominated a panel to undertake the task. The areas of expertise sought included launch vehicle systems, airline operations, propulsion systems, aerospace logistics, and user requirements--space station, military, space science and applications, and commercial. In appointing such a group of individuals to make scientific and technical assessments, it is essential that most have a high degree of knowledge in the subject of the study. Since such individuals may appear to have a potential for bias, every effort was made to achieve a balance in backgrounds and attitudes of the panelists in order to present as objective a report as possible. The short period during which the review had to be undertaken put severe demands on the Chairman and members of the panel, who deserve much credit for their effective and timely response. Norman Hackerman Chairman, Committee on NASA Scientific and Technological Program Reviews ~ . 6 V1
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Contents 1. INTRODUCTION... e · · e · · · e · e · · e · · · · Background, 1 Approach of the Study Panel' 1 PREAMBLE e · · · · · · · · · e · · · · · · · · · · · · · · e e e e e ~ e e e e · · · e e POST-CHALLENGER ASSESSMENT OF SPACE SHUTTLE FLIGHT RATES AND UTILIZATION e e · · · · · - Assessment One, 7 Assessment Two, ~ Payload Off-Loadlng, 10 Commercial Satellites, 10 Availability of Launch Vehicles, 11 Assessment Three, 12 Assessment Four, 13 4. SUMMARY. e · · · ... e e...e..e Policy Assumptions, 15 Flight Rates, 15 Fleet Concept, 15 -Launch Demand, 1b Payload Partitioning, 16 ....ee.. 3 5. APPENDIXES Ae Background Informationeee eee..ee Edward Pe Boland Letter of April 21, 1986, LO List of Briefers and Participants, 23 Committee on NASA Scientific and Technological Program Reviews Membership, 27 B. Shuttle Launch Rates..~..e..e...e.. Turnaround Time, 30 Flight Rates, 31 Logistics Considerations.... Shuttle Utilization......... Chest Tr~n~-off~ ~ · - ~ ~ ~ - - ~ 29 C. D. E. F. A Sustained Manned Spaceflight Program 47 G. Reference Materials......... V11 6
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