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NASA Headquarters Responsible Official: Tony Springer

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The New Integrated Space Transportation Plan (ISTP)

The Administration has submitted a Budget Amendment to Congress to reflect important changes to NASA's five-year budget plan, within the totals contained in the President's FY 2003 Budget submitted in February 2002. The changes are driven by NASA's new vision and mission, and are supported by a series of comprehensive reviews that determined a more beneficial course affecting many of the Agency's major programs. A new ISTP for NASA restructures the Space Launch Initiative (SLI), placing the focus on a new crew transfer vehicle called the Orbital Space Plane (OSP), and ensures continued safe operations of the Space Shuttle through at least the middle of the next decade through a Service Life Extension Program. In addition, recently completed independent cost estimates and program reviews have determined that reserves for the International Space Station (ISS) should be enhanced, and the Space Shuttle flight rate should be increased, to ensure NASA's ability to achieve U.S. Core Complete while meeting international commitments and providing a robust orbital research program. As the planned spending for SLI contracts is rapidly increasing, the timing for seeking this amendment became compelling in order to redirect spending to better reflect priorities. The changes include:
  • For FY 2003, the Budget Amendment shifts $120 million to the SLI budget due to incorporation of the Space Transfer and Launch Technology (Hypersonics) program. Within the SLI budget, $165 million is reallocated from other SLI projects into the newly named Orbital Space Plane (OSP) Program, which includes what was previously called NASA Unique Systems.

  • For the five-year plan (FY 2003-2007), the Budget Amendment in aggregate adds $882 million for Orbital Space Plane, $706 million for Space Station, $470 million for Space Shuttle, and $75 million for Biological and Physical Research. These increases are achieved by reducing other SLI projects from $3.899 billion to $1.766 billion, a reduction of $2.133 billion. The five-year plan also incorporates $661 million for the Third Generation Space Transfer and Launch Technology program into the SLI budget, preserving hypersonic work with the Department of Defense (DoD).
These budget changes reflect the interrelationships and tight coupling among the Space Station, Space Shuttle, and SLI programs. The launch demands for Space Shuttle and SLI are inextricably linked to the success in assembling and operating the Space Station. Moreover, the future of these launch programs depends on future assumptions for the expected lifetime of the Space Station and plans for future exploration goals. Key assumptions made for any of these three programs must be correlated and coordinated. Hence, NASA's FY 2003 Budget Amendment proposes changes to all three programs.

NASA's needs for transporting US crew to and from the Space Station is a driving space transportation requirement and must be addressed as an agency priority. It is NASA's responsibility to ensure that a capability for emergency return of the ISS crew is available. The design and development of an evolvable and flexible vehicle architecture that will initially provide crew return capability and then evolve into a crew transport vehicle is now the near-term focus of SLI.

A new Next Generation Launch Technology program is created to continue to fund future space transportation technology development activities, including investments in key technology areas such as propulsion and airframe structures. Its aim is to enable future development decisions on launch systems that can support NASA transportation requirements in the coming decades. The program includes the hydrocarbon rocket engine technology efforts and incorporates the airbreathing hypersonics program. The updated ISTP provides additional time to understand and integrate potential DoD requirements with NASA's plans. NASA will continue to work closely with DoD during the next two years as they define their needs for space access and complete their analysis of alternatives.

The FY 2003 Budget Amendment will enable NASA to implement a new ISTP and ensure that the ISS is properly financed and better positioned to achieve its scientific research priorities. The new direction reflects important changes to NASA's five-year budget plan, within the totals contained in the President's FY 2003 Budget. These changes are part of a continuing effort to ensure that programs and budgets are developed to carry out the NASA vision and mission. It represents an important move forward in highly integrated way to assure access to and from the ISS and enable new science-driven exploration in the longer term.

--January 23, 2003

For even more information on the ISTP, please contact Jim Reuter, or call (202) 358-2393. Tell him you read about the ISTP changes in the OAT newsletter!