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Australia being considered as ISS CRV landing site
Posted: Mon, Oct 15, 2001, 12:40 AM ET (0440 GMT)
X-38 in free flight (NASA/DFRC) A dormant launch site in Australia may become a landing site for crew return vehicles (CRVs) from the International Space Station, an Australian newspaper reported Sunday. The Sunday Telegraph said that Andy Thomas, an Australian-born NASA astronaut, has discussed with the Australian government the possibility of establishing an emergency landing site for ISS CRVs at Woomera, in the state of South Australia. Thomas told the Telegraph that the Australian government has expressed an interest in getting involved with the ISS program, and may be willing to fund development of facilities at Woomera that would support CRV landings there. The report did not specify whether the facility would be able to support the Soyuz spacecraft current used as CRVs on the station as well as the larger American-built CRV that had been planned for the station; the fate of a larger CRV is dependent on how NASA and Congress resolve the station's cost overruns as well as the ability of NASA to get other partner nations involved in the development and funding of such a vehicle. Australia had hoped to turn Woomera into an active spaceport for commercial reusable launch vehicles, such as Kistler Aerospace's K-1, but those efforts have slowed down as development of commercial RLVs has largely ceased for the time being.
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