Space Access Political Action Alert  9/21/99 

      Defense Appropriations Conference Happens Wednesday 9/22 

          Fax or Call These Senators, Representatives ASAP! 


The first of two jobs this week is to persuade the House-Senate 
conference committee, that will work out a final FY '00 Defense 
Appropriations bill starting tomorrow, that they should "support the 
Senate position providing $25 million for USAF Space Maneuver 
Vehicle".  This one is short-notice; our apologies for not getting 
word sooner.  The conference committee will almost certainly meet 
sometime this Wednesday, September 22nd - please call or fax them by 
Wednesday evening at the latest, and preferably as much earlier in 
the day as possible. 

The likely conference committee members are, on the Senate side,  

 Ted Stevens, Alaska - Chairman
 Thad Cochran, Mississippi
 Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania 
 Pete V. Domenici, New Mexico 
 Christopher S. Bond, Missouri 
 Mitch McConnell, Kentucky 
 Richard C. Shelby, Alabama 
 Judd Gregg, New Hampshire 
 Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas 
 Daniel K. Inouye, Hawaii - Ranking Member
 Ernest F. Hollings, South Carolina 
 Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia 
 Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont 
 Frank R. Lautenberg, New Jersey 
 Tom Harkin, Iowa 
 Byron Dorgan, North Dakota 
 Richard Durbin, Illinois 

and on the House side 

 Jerry Lewis, Calif., Chairman 
 John P. Murtha, Penn, RMM 
 C.W. Bill Young, Fla. 
 Norman D. Dicks, Wash. 
 Joe Skeen, N.M. 
 Martin Olav Sabo, Minn. 
 David Hobson, Ohio 
 Julian C. Dixon, Calif. 
 Henry Bonilla, Texas 
 Peter J. Visclosky, Ind. 
 George R. Nethercutt, Jr., Wash. 
 James P. Moran, Va. 
 Ernest J. Istook, Jr., Okla. 
 Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Calif. 
 Jay Dickey, Ark. 
 Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, N.J. 

Get their DC office numbers from and call or fax 
with the above message ASAP if one of these is your Senator or 


House and Senate Defense Appropriators will be meeting Wednesday in 
a "conference committee" to resolve differences in their versions of 
the DOD funding bill.  The Senate version has $25 million for SMV, 
Space Maneuver Vehicle, a reusable upper stage project we support.  
The House Defense Appropriation has nothing for SMV, although both 
House and Senate did authorize (place on the approved shopping list) 
funds for SMV.  

The Air Force Research Lab flew the X-40A unpowered SMV tesbed 
successfully last summer.   NASA "Future-X" has since taken up the 
project as the X-37.  This SMV funding is for either a second NASA 
X-37 or a first USAF X-40B, depending on who you ask - the AF people 
apparently need enough internal differences from the X-37 that a 
separate designator might make sense, but both would be built by the 
X-37 contractor with pretty much the same basic airframe.  Either 
way, it's a very useful reusable upper stage with non-toxic storable 
fuels, with considerable potential for extended operations in orbit 
before reentry, landing, and reuse. 

How To Do It 

Get the appropriate Senator's or Representative's DC office phone or 
fax number, via (have an old bill with your nine-
digit zip handy) or by calling your local library information desk. 

If you're faxing, compose a polite concise one-page letter to them, 
saying who you are and where you're from, telling them what you'd 
like them to do, then briefly explaining why - just hit one or two 
high points, don't overexplain.  Thank them for their attention, 
sign the letter, and send it.  

If phoning, dial their DC office number, ask for whoever handles 
Defense appropriations questions, then when connected to that 
staffer (or more likely their voice mail) tell them briefly who you 
are ("I'm Joe Smith from Pocatello Idaho") and what you want them to 
do ("I'm calling to ask the Senator/Congressman to support the 
Senate position of $25 million for Air Force Space Maneuver Vehicle 
work.") then (unless they have questions) thank them for their time 
and ring off. 

Other News

Look for another Alert late Wednesday - the HUD/VA (NASA) conference 
will almost certainly happen early next week, with much of the staff 
work taking place over this weekend, once the Senate debates and 
passes their HUD/VA appropriation over tomorrow and likely Thursday.

The good news is that the Senate appropriators worked out fiscal 
hocus-pocus that allowed them to fund NASA at the requested level - 
no overall cuts.  The better news is that the House leadership 
appears likely to adopt the Senate's fiscal maneuver, and will 
probably go along in conference with restoring the House NASA cuts. 

The best news, from our point of view, is that the Senate saw fit to 
move a hundred million dollars into NASA's Aero Space Technology 
account, "for the design, development, and testing of future launch 
technologies".  The Senate was vague about what specific programs 
this would go to, deliberately so, we are told.  We, on the other 
hand, are not vague at all about how best to spend this - we'll be 
asking you tomorrow to push hard with the confereees for fifty 
million of this to be added to NASA Future-X for low-cost reusable 
launch operations demonstrators. 

(We do regret that this money was moved from NASA's space science 
account rather than added, but the Senate decided that, not us - we 
have always asked for an add.  We do note that the net effect is of 
a bit over a forty million dollar cut from last year's NASA space 
science funding level, a vast improvement on the cuts of hundreds of 
millions in the House version, and a wrist-slap in budgetary terms 
given the problems with NASA space science the Senate lists in their 
report on the bill.  We also note that the other justification we've 
heard for this transfer, that lower launch costs will benefit all in 
the long run, space science included, is one we quite agree with.)