Space Review Looks at HLV, Astrobiology and Baseball

Jupiter Direct Launcher Variants

This week in The Space Review…

Can NASA develop a heavy-lift rocket?
Last week the debate on how NASA should develop a heavy-lift rocket restarted after NASA submitted a report indicating its preferred design would not fit into the budget and schedule of its authorization act. Jeff Foust reports on the issues regarding the technology, budget, and even utility of a heavy-lifter raised in that debate.

Small ball or home runs: the changing ethos of US human spaceflight policy
Past efforts to develop big human spaceflight programs patterned after Apollo have failed, most recently NASA’s implementation of the Vision for Space Exploration. Roger Handberg uses a sports analogy to explain why it’s time to turn to a more sustainable approach to human space exploration.

Funding the search for life in the solar system
Advances in astrobiology have expanded the range of potential sites in the solar system that could support life. Lou Friedman discusses how to make it possible to afford exploring all those sites.

Footnotes of shuttle history: the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite
One of the lesser-known payloads launched by the space shuttle was an experimental communications satellite. Dwayne Day describes how ACTS was part of a larger but now dated debate about industrial policy.

The flight of the Big Bird (part 1)
Development of the KH-9 spy satellite, often referred to in the media as “Big Bird”, has been shrouded in secrecy for decades, but new details are emerging. Dwayne Day examines the early history of the KH-9, including tensions between the NRO and CIA, in the first of a two-part article.