Author Topic: Senate Committee proposing building heavy-lift rocket immediately  (Read 386603 times)

Offline Downix

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The problem with the Atlas or the Delta is they were not designed to be human rated along with their inherited trajectory safety issues. The Saturn C3 equiv would be a modern lighter and stronger "60's era" craft retaining that aerodynamic stability and trajectory friendly design. This would be a dedicated LEO craft. NASA and its workforce would be better off building a new craft with those inherited and proven designs instead of scraping the barrel. Now I have not seen any detailed information regarding the Boeing CST-100 capsule. If you would happen to have any information ( & or link ) would be greatly appreciated. Oh, and I don't believe NASA would have any pad issues out of the ordinary on this. I know this is a back and forth issue ( chaos, crisis mode ) but I look at this as what does the patient (NASA) need to get back in the game.
Incorrect.  Atlas V has been built for human flight, it was designed for the OSP program don't forget.  It is prepared and ready for human flight, you just need a crew capsule and crew access.  The rocket is not the problem.
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Offline jml

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Oh dear.

I'm sure someone will be along to set you right in a moment or two, but there are no trajectory issues with either EELV, (the trajectory these vehicles fly for maximum GEO payload would not be the trajectory flown for a HSF mission - that's a simple change to guidance system paramters that the ULA folks have already figured out).  This trajectory myth was started by NASA folks seeking to justify designing a new EELV-class vehicle at MSFC when two similar vehicles already existed. I don't know how this myth still persists even now.

ULA indicates that the few things that need to be done for human rating both Delta and Atlas will cost less than what NASA spent building the Ares I MLP. We now also have a third domestic, non-paper LV in that class with Falcon 9.

While the engineering workforce at MSFC would certainly be better off with several more years of guaranteed design work, I don't see how this lengthy hiatus and dollars not spent on missions would benefit either the operations workforce at JSC and KSC, or NASA as a whole.

Agreed there would be no pad issues "out of the ordinary" here...but the "ordinary" issues would not be cheap, just like converting LC-39 from Saturn to STS after 1975 or the plans for converting LC-39 from STS to Constellation.

It isn't that I'm against heavy lift, or that I have some innate dislike of building a modern-day Saturn - I just don't see the point in spending several billion and several years to duplicate a largely existing capability. If we're going to spend money on LV development, let's spend it wisely on capabilities we don't already have.  At the same time, let's avoid the recent sort of high-risk, high-cost, decade-to-implementation MSFC daydreams that end up getting canceled before getting anywhere. A Boeing-LM operated SDLV or a ULA operated upgraded EELV, or even a Space-X BFR all make some degree of sense. Pick one now, and get far enough down that path so that we get more than powerpoints for the investment before the next big change comes along.

(My apologies for the rant - I'll get down off my soapbox now.)

The problem with the Atlas or the Delta is they were not designed to be human rated along with their inherited trajectory safety issues. The Saturn C3 equiv would be a modern lighter and stronger "60's era" craft retaining that aerodynamic stability and trajectory friendly design. This would be a dedicated LEO craft. NASA and its workforce would be better off building a new craft with those inherited and proven designs instead of scraping the barrel. Now I have not seen any detailed information regarding the Boeing CST-100 capsule. If you would happen to have any information ( & or link ) would be greatly appreciated. Oh, and I don't believe NASA would have any pad issues out of the ordinary on this.

Offline JDCampbell

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I want to thank everyone for their comments on the Delta and Atlas including the politics and the reports but if that were the case then it should have been done already myths not withstanding. In fact those decisions should have been made a long time ago. Every time I hear about SpaceX though, its oh poor  :-[ Scotty. But kidding aside I haven't heard a convincing argument not to build a modernized Saturn C3 considering that we just blew 8 billion on CxP. If we had the existing capacity we would be doing it and not relying on the Russians to do it for us or buying their engines. Tell me it can't be done in three years. :)   
« Last Edit: 07/05/2010 09:59 pm by JDCampbell »

Offline Downix

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I want to thank everyone for their comments on the Delta and Atlas including the politics and the reports but if that were the case then it should have been done already myths not withstanding. In fact those decisions should have been made a long time ago. Every time I hear about SpaceX though, its oh poor  :-[ Scotty. But kidding aside I haven't heard a convincing argument not to build a modernized Saturn C3 considering that we just blew 8 billion on CxP. If we had the existing capacity we would be doing it and not relying on the Russians to do it for us or buying their engines. Tell me it can't be done in three years. :)   
It can't be done in 3 years.  We're looking at 2 years just to get some sample F-1's for testing.  Add 2-3 years of testing for these engines, and barring any problems you *may* have an engine ready, after a few billion in R&D.
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline JDCampbell

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I want to thank everyone for their comments on the Delta and Atlas including the politics and the reports but if that were the case then it should have been done already myths not withstanding. In fact those decisions should have been made a long time ago. Every time I hear about SpaceX though, its oh poor  :-[ Scotty. But kidding aside I haven't heard a convincing argument not to build a modernized Saturn C3 considering that we just blew 8 billion on CxP. If we had the existing capacity we would be doing it and not relying on the Russians to do it for us or buying their engines. Tell me it can't be done in three years. :)   
It can't be done in 3 years.  We're looking at 2 years just to get some sample F-1's for testing.  Add 2-3 years of testing for these engines, and barring any problems you *may* have an engine ready, after a few billion in R&D.

Thanks for the input Downix but I think the answer we need should come from Rocketdyne.


Offline Jim

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I want to thank everyone for their comments on the Delta and Atlas including the politics and the reports but if that were the case then it should have been done already myths not withstanding. In fact those decisions should have been made a long time ago. Every time I hear about SpaceX though, its oh poor  :-[ Scotty. But kidding aside I haven't heard a convincing argument not to build a modernized Saturn C3.  Tell me it can't be done in three years. :)   

Wrong, politics have been the reason for the non use of Delta and Atlas for Constellation.  They were going to be used for OSP, and now there are Dreamchaser, CST-100, and others.

1. A modernized Saturn C3  is not needed and would be just another waste like  Ares I   There are 3 vehicle that already exist in the same performance range.  EELV can do the job

2.  NASA does not need to be designing or building its own vehicles.

3.  It can't be done in 3 years, it would take 6 months or more just for the procurement process (RFP and source selection).  Rocketdyne would not be guaranteed the contract, since there is no existing production.  Aerojet and Spacex would want to compete. 

But even if Rocketdyne got the contract tomorrow, it would be longer than 3 years.  All the infrastructure for production has to be recreated.
« Last Edit: 07/05/2010 10:32 pm by Jim »

Offline Jeff Bingham

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51D Mascot-
Could you please clarify what it is the reporter is confused about, the process and/or what goes to the Senate committee on the 15th?, and where did this extra shuttle flight thing come from?

Thanks in advance...

The confusion was based on the article saying that on July 15th the Commerce Committee would "present to President" a bill. What I was trying to clarify was just that the phrasing of presenting something to the President implies that the Congress has completed action on a bill and sent it to the White House/President for action (signing into law or vetoing). The date of July 15th is for the Senate Committee's planned "mark-up" of a NASA Authorization Bill, which is the first formal step (after introduction, usually) in the legislative process that will (hopefully) result in sending something to the President later this summer.

The additional shuttle flight is the Launch-on-Need flight currently shown on the manifest as a contingency flight (335/STS-135); Senator Hutchison has been vocal in wanting that turned into a "fully-approved and manifested flight" for some time, and Senator Nelson has indicated he now is supportive of doing that; NASA could simply make that call administratively, but they need additional funding to do that in FY 2011, and up to now senior NASA officials and the White House have resisted that idea; hence the  talk about putting language in the NASA Authorization bill that would REQUIRE the addition of that flight, likely on the basis of certain requirements being met, etc.
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline FinalFrontier

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Although the idea of a single-stick 40mT launcher with 2 F-1s does seem quite attractive, evolved Atlas or Delta gets you to a 35 to 55 ton payload for a fraction of the dollar amount of recreating a '60s-era tech Saturn C-3:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=19972.0

It isn't that restarting F-1A or building a C-3 like vehicle would be impossible, just much more costly than using what we currently have available. We have no existing production line for F-1As and no existing launch pad suitable for such a kerosene-fueled vehicle.  Yes, it would be possible to add kerosene capabilities back to LC-39, and modify the VAB and the MLPs to process and launch a C-3. Yes, it would be possible to create a production line for C-3 stages at MAF, and a production line for F-1s in Canoga Park. But all this costs much more than incremental upgrades to currently-operational systems.

If 35 to 40 mT is all the capability we expect to need in the next 10 to 15 years, then ULA, Space-X, and OSC are the only domestic launch providers that NASA needs.

But if we are expecting to need throw weights well above that range for beyond-LEO missions, there are choices to make now.
One choice is to immediately proceed with some sort of SD-HLV in the 70 to 130mt range using as much currently existing technology and facilities as possible.
Another is to throw away the current STS heavy-lift infrastructure and manufacturing base and then spend many tens of billions to reconstitute a heavy-lift system 10 or more years from now.

I prefer not to see the same mistake made twice.



NASA does have the budget to be in the rocket building business. Its just that they wasted their money and energy on the wrong project. NASA needs to get back to the basics because if they don't they won't be able to build a HLV. I recommend modernizing a Saturn C-3 or equiv 35-40mt for LEO/ISS. That would mean restarting the Rocketdyne F-1 / F-1A program. You then apply those improvements for a HLV. That means the possibility of extending the Shuttle for two more missions along with the support from the Russians. That means dropping CxP entirely.

The problem with the Atlas or the Delta is they were not designed to be human rated along with their inherited trajectory safety issues. The Saturn C3 equiv would be a modern lighter and stronger "60's era" craft retaining that aerodynamic stability and trajectory friendly design. This would be a dedicated LEO craft. NASA and its workforce would be better off building a new craft with those inherited and proven designs instead of scraping the barrel. Now I have not seen any detailed information regarding the Boeing CST-100 capsule. If you would happen to have any information ( & or link ) would be greatly appreciated. Oh, and I don't believe NASA would have any pad issues out of the ordinary on this. I know this is a back and forth issue ( chaos, crisis mode ) but I look at this as what does the patient (NASA) need to get back in the game.

     

   

 
There is a thread dedicated to the CST 100 capsule. Assumed LV is Atlas V.

Also Atlas V is just short of manrated, due to the OSP project.... All that is needed (to my knowledge) is the addition of an Emergency Detection System Package, rather simple upgrade.

I see no problem with manrating Atlas V. Delta IV is different............
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Offline FinalFrontier

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I want to thank everyone for their comments on the Delta and Atlas including the politics and the reports but if that were the case then it should have been done already myths not withstanding. In fact those decisions should have been made a long time ago. Every time I hear about SpaceX though, its oh poor  :-[ Scotty. But kidding aside I haven't heard a convincing argument not to build a modernized Saturn C3.  Tell me it can't be done in three years. :)   

Wrong, politics have been the reason for the non use of Delta and Atlas for Constellation.  They were going to be used for OSP, and now there are Dreamchaser, CST-100, and others.

1. A modernized Saturn C3  is not needed and would be just another waste like  Ares I   There are 3 vehicle that already exist in the same performance range.  EELV can do the job

2.  NASA does not need to be designing or building its own vehicles.

3.  It can't be done in 3 years, it would take 6 months or more just for the procurement process (RFP and source selection).  Rocketdyne would not be guaranteed the contract, since there is no existing production.  Aerojet and Spacex would want to compete. 

But even if Rocketdyne got the contract tomorrow, it would be longer than 3 years.  All the infrastructure for production has to be recreated.

Exactly my point.
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Offline Downix

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I want to thank everyone for their comments on the Delta and Atlas including the politics and the reports but if that were the case then it should have been done already myths not withstanding. In fact those decisions should have been made a long time ago. Every time I hear about SpaceX though, its oh poor  :-[ Scotty. But kidding aside I haven't heard a convincing argument not to build a modernized Saturn C3 considering that we just blew 8 billion on CxP. If we had the existing capacity we would be doing it and not relying on the Russians to do it for us or buying their engines. Tell me it can't be done in three years. :)   
It can't be done in 3 years.  We're looking at 2 years just to get some sample F-1's for testing.  Add 2-3 years of testing for these engines, and barring any problems you *may* have an engine ready, after a few billion in R&D.

Thanks for the input Downix but I think the answer we need should come from Rocketdyne.
Answer already came from Rocketdyne, they did a survey to see if F-1 could be restarted in 1992.  It was an expensive proposal, and would take years.
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline FinalFrontier

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I want to thank everyone for their comments on the Delta and Atlas including the politics and the reports but if that were the case then it should have been done already myths not withstanding. In fact those decisions should have been made a long time ago. Every time I hear about SpaceX though, its oh poor  :-[ Scotty. But kidding aside I haven't heard a convincing argument not to build a modernized Saturn C3 considering that we just blew 8 billion on CxP. If we had the existing capacity we would be doing it and not relying on the Russians to do it for us or buying their engines. Tell me it can't be done in three years. :)   
It can't be done in 3 years.  We're looking at 2 years just to get some sample F-1's for testing.  Add 2-3 years of testing for these engines, and barring any problems you *may* have an engine ready, after a few billion in R&D.

Thanks for the input Downix but I think the answer we need should come from Rocketdyne.
Answer already came from Rocketdyne, they did a survey to see if F-1 could be restarted in 1992.  It was an expensive proposal, and would take years.
You would be better served with RS84 or BFE (based on RS 84).

Back to the Op: Seems like the most likely thing to happen is either Ares V or an SDHLV. I am hoping in the latter, and it seems more likely now. I think Kerolox core is probably not as likely, but it cannot be ruled out.

Also, any clue as to why DOD wants a new kerolox engine? EELV costs shouldn't be rising THAT much.............
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Offline Jim

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Also, any clue as to why DOD wants a new kerolox engine? EELV costs shouldn't be rising THAT much.............

They are thinking 10 or more years into the future

Offline JDCampbell

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It isn't that restarting F-1A or building a C-3 like vehicle would be impossible, just much more costly than using what we currently have available. We have no existing production line for F-1As and no existing launch pad suitable for such a kerosene-fueled vehicle.  Yes, it would be possible to add kerosene capabilities back to LC-39, and modify the VAB and the MLPs to process and launch a C-3. Yes, it would be possible to create a production line for C-3 stages at MAF, and a production line for F-1s in Canoga Park. But all this costs much more than incremental upgrades to currently-operational systems.

If 35 to 40 mT is all the capability we expect to need in the next 10 to 15 years, then ULA, Space-X, and OSC are the only domestic launch providers that NASA needs.

NASA does have the budget to be in the rocket building business. Its just that they wasted their money and energy on the wrong project. NASA needs to get back to the basics because if they don't they won't be able to build a HLV. I recommend modernizing a Saturn C-3 or equiv 35-40mt for LEO/ISS. That would mean restarting the Rocketdyne F-1 / F-1A program. You then apply those improvements for a HLV. That means the possibility of extending the Shuttle for two more missions along with the support from the Russians. That means dropping CxP entirely.

Space-X won't be ready for a long time and what of the cost estimates for ULA, and OSC and Jim stating that EELV can do the job? We really  do not have a need ( or the design ) for a HLV ( 100 -150mt ) at this time except to save jobs and there is no defined plan or program target date by this administration. We would definitely not be wasting taxpayer dollars on a Saturn C3 equiv compared to what happened to CxP. The problem with the Shuttle program and CxP is they expected to much and ended up paying for it in more ways than one.

 

           

 


 

Offline Jim

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1.  Space-X won't be ready for a long time and

2.  what of the cost estimates for ULA, and OSC and Jim stating that EELV can do the job?

3.  We really  do not have a need ( or the design ) for a HLV ( 100 -150mt ) at this time except to save jobs and there is no defined plan or program target date by this administration.

4. We would definitely not be wasting taxpayer dollars on a Saturn C3 equiv compared to what happened to CxP. The problem with the Shuttle program and CxP is they expected to much and ended up paying for it in more ways than one.

1. Wrong, they will  ready quicker than anything NASA  can put together.

2.  Cheaper than than anything NASA  can put together.  And quicker.  (EELV is Delta IV and Atlas V, therefore ULA)

3.  No need

4.  CXP is water under the bridge.  No money for C-3 is available and again, it would still be waste since it is a duplication.
« Last Edit: 07/05/2010 11:32 pm by Jim »

Offline JDCampbell

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I want to thank everyone for their comments on the Delta and Atlas including the politics and the reports but if that were the case then it should have been done already myths not withstanding. In fact those decisions should have been made a long time ago. Every time I hear about SpaceX though, its oh poor  :-[ Scotty. But kidding aside I haven't heard a convincing argument not to build a modernized Saturn C3 considering that we just blew 8 billion on CxP. If we had the existing capacity we would be doing it and not relying on the Russians to do it for us or buying their engines. Tell me it can't be done in three years. :)   
It can't be done in 3 years.  We're looking at 2 years just to get some sample F-1's for testing.  Add 2-3 years of testing for these engines, and barring any problems you *may* have an engine ready, after a few billion in R&D.

Thanks for the input Downix but I think the answer we need should come from Rocketdyne.
Answer already came from Rocketdyne, they did a survey to see if F-1 could be restarted in 1992.  It was an expensive proposal, and would take years.

I did look at the proposals a couple of months ago. They estimated 3/4bl. No defined time frame though. I will contact Rocketdyne. At my age a little foot work is great exercise.  :D  So far SpaceX is way behind schedule in filling it original contract. I don't think we should have to baby sit a company that is just starting to feel its growing pains and secondly I don't see anyone doing a damn thing. 

 

« Last Edit: 07/05/2010 11:52 pm by JDCampbell »

Offline FinalFrontier

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Also, any clue as to why DOD wants a new kerolox engine? EELV costs shouldn't be rising THAT much.............

They are thinking 10 or more years into the future
Makes sense. But if they want it they should fund it. NASA has enough problems.....
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Offline FinalFrontier

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1.  Space-X won't be ready for a long time and

2.  what of the cost estimates for ULA, and OSC and Jim stating that EELV can do the job?

3.  We really  do not have a need ( or the design ) for a HLV ( 100 -150mt ) at this time except to save jobs and there is no defined plan or program target date by this administration.

4. We would definitely not be wasting taxpayer dollars on a Saturn C3 equiv compared to what happened to CxP. The problem with the Shuttle program and CxP is they expected to much and ended up paying for it in more ways than one.

1. Wrong, they will  ready quicker than anything NASA  can put together.

2.  Cheaper than than anything NASA  can put together.  And quicker.  (EELV is Delta IV and Atlas V, therefore ULA)

3.  No need

4.  CXP is water under the bridge.  No money for C-3 is available and again, it would still be waste since it is a duplication.
Disagree with 3. But you know my reasons :) I am on the same page with the rest.
« Last Edit: 07/06/2010 12:15 am by FinalFrontier »
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Offline jml

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These senators seem to feel that filling the gap with Soyuz and closing the gap with commercial crew taxis would be an acceptable solution for United States human spaceflight except for the effects it would have on KSC and JSC operations.  They seem to think building heavy lift "immediately" lets them somewhat preserve the workforces and infrastructures at those centers.

If "building immediately" meant "three years to FOC", would it be at all reasonable to put those centers on hold for that length of time?

Hmmmm.....if we had a simple "phase 1" SDLV like J-130 with a first test flight in not much more than 36 months - say August 2013 - and an STS-135 in Feb 2011, and maybe even an STS-136 with ET-94 in Summer 2011, that would work out pretty well.  Two years downtime to do infrastructure mods, develop operational procedures, train, test, and get ready to fly.  It might even be a bit tight. There would no getting around the already expected job losses related to Orbiter and SSME processing, but perhaps plenty of other work in getting ready for the new program. This sounds like a good way of making use of the FY2011 "21st Century Spaceport" line-item, instead of some pipe dream of trying to refit LC39 for commercial crew use by vendors that don't want to be anywhere near that side of the cape.

Offline FinalFrontier

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These senators seem to feel that filling the gap with Soyuz and closing the gap with commercial crew taxis would be an acceptable solution for United States human spaceflight except for the effects it would have on KSC and JSC operations.  They seem to think building heavy lift "immediately" lets them somewhat preserve the workforces and infrastructures at those centers.

If "building immediately" meant "three years to FOC", would it be at all reasonable to put those centers on hold for that length of time?

Hmmmm.....if we had a simple "phase 1" SDLV like J-130 with a first test flight in not much more than 36 months - say August 2013 - and an STS-135 in Feb 2011, and maybe even an STS-136 with ET-94 in Summer 2011, that would work out pretty well.  Two years downtime to do infrastructure mods, develop operational procedures, train, test, and get ready to fly.  It might even be a bit tight. There would no getting around the already expected job losses related to Orbiter and SSME processing, but perhaps plenty of other work in getting ready for the new program. This sounds like a good way of making use of the FY2011 "21st Century Spaceport" line-item, instead of some pipe dream of trying to refit LC39 for commercial crew use by vendors that don't want to be anywhere near that side of the cape.
136 will be 2012 if it happens. Or late 2011. More likely 2012. J130 target is 2012-2014.
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Offline psloss

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Curious wording about the timing of submitting to the President.  If it's an authorization bill, that's unlikely to get through Congress and to the President that soon.  There's been reports about mid-month being timing for when the Senate authorizing committee might vote to send a bill to the floor.  If it's not a bill, whatever the plan is would still need to be passed in some form by Congress.


Chalk it up to reporter confusion...Jay knows a lot about space, but not so much about the legislative process. The 15th is the date set for Committee Mark-up of a bill, where it will consider any proposed amendments, then vote to report it to the Senate (or not) as amended. Then it gets in line for consideration by the full Senate, presumably via a unanimous consent procedure, since floor time (for debate, etc.) is VERY limited. Then, of course, there's the issue of House action, either on a Senate-passed bill or a version of their own, followed by, if needed, a joint Senate-House Conference to iron out differences, and acceptance of that outcome by both houses after that, so quite a few steps before being "presented" to the President. (There IS the possibility, as well, that, at some point along the line, the White House/President may engage in discussions/negotiations with the Congress, so it is "possible" that the final language will be "acceptable".) But I can tell you, as of this moment, the final draft language of the bill in question has not been completed.
Thanks for this and the other details in later posts.  Good updates.

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