ACCESS: Top Secret
- Jun 14, 2006
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The Titan IIIL/glider alternative was envisaged in August-Spetembre 1971 by no less than George Low, Deputy-Administrator of NASA. Its payload would have been 13,600 Kg in low orbit in a 15 X 40 feet cargo bay. The OMB (Office of Management and Budget) liked the glider idea but cut it down even more: a 4,536kg payload in a 10 X 20 feet cargo bay and using the Titan IIIM booster. See "The Space Shuttle Decision" by Heppenheimer, Chapter 8, page 366-368. The glider was pretty much in the picture still in November 1971. See attached cost graphics from late Nov 1971. As for the origin of the glider/Titan III concept, Martin Marietta was certainly one (sadly their reports on Titan IIIL are still unavailable) but
could be that NASA conducted some internal study also. See the MSC-042 glider orbiter design by Marshall in a previous post in this topic. The reports produced during the STS definition and design aren't all published yet (far from it).