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Update on NASA's Hidden Fuel Depot Studies

By Keith Cowing
October 24, 2011
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NASA Is Considering Fuel Depots in the Skies, NY Times
“Although General Bolden promised to provide the information, [Rep. Dana] Rohrabacher said he had obtained the study about propellant depots only through unofficial channels. “I’m shocked that the leadership in NASA would try to keep a report as significant as this away from decision makers of the legislative branch,” Mr. Rohrabacher said, adding that the study gave him “the ammunition to make a case” to revisit NASA’s plans for human spaceflight.”
Propellant depots: the fiscally responsible and feasible alternative to SLS, Space Review
“The information presented here proves that the propellant depot architecture is a viable alternative to the Space Launch System. Just as importantly, the propellant depot strategy fits within the country’s need for programs that are in sound monetary policy. NASA needs a strategy that NASA leaders and employees can back in private, as well as in public.”
In-orbit Fuel Depots vs. NASA’s Heavy Lift Space Launch System (SLS) for Dummies,
“In November, NASA engineers will meet in Washington to discuss how to leverage propellant depots to get further into space and enable “more ambitious missions” using the agency’s heavy lift Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, according to an October 22, 2011 piece. But apparently NASA officials aren’t interested in trying to convince/fight Congress about the time and cost savings a fuel depot architecture would offer deep space missions.”
NASA May Create Refueling Stations In Space, MyFox, Houston
“This study highlights some interesting benefits of depots, but it is too singularly focused,” NASA official William Gerstenmaier said in a statement. “NASA is actively studying depots and how they can be used with other proposed elements to provide the lowest cost, sustainable exploration plan.”
NASA Studies Show Cheaper Alternatives to SLS, earlier post
Fuel Depots and Congress, earlier post
In-Space Cryogenic Propellant Storage and Transfer Demonstration Mission Concept Studies, 2011, NASA GRC, earlier post
Using Commercial Launchers and Fuel Depots Instead of HLVs, earlier post
The HLV Cost Information NASA Decided Not To Give To Congress, earlier post

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