Space Program options open to President Nixon

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pmn1

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http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4221/ch4.htm<br /><br />One alternative, at $3.5 billion per year, eliminated NERVA and stopped production of Saturn V and Apollo spacecraft. This option, however, would maintain a vigorous program in piloted flight, featuring Skylab with three visits as well as six additional Apollo lunar missions. Better yet, such a budget would accommodate "Space Transportation System and Space Station module development with launch of both in 1979."<br /><br />Two other options, at $2.5 billion, also permitted flight of Skylab with its three visits, along with the six Apollos. There could even be a space station in 1980, with Titan III-Gemini for logistics. However, there would be no space shuttle. NASA-Marshall would close, while activity at the Manned Spacecraft Center would fall substantially.<br /><br />At $1.5 billion, the piloted space program would shut down entirely: "All manned space flight ceases with Apollo 14 in July 1970." Not only NASA-Marshall but the Manned Spacecraft Center would close, with the Saturn launch facilities at Cape Canaveral shutting down as well. Yet NASA would continue to maintain a vigorous program of automated space flight. Even at $1.5 billion, the agency could send six Viking landers to Mars, and could take advantage of a rare alignment of the outer planets to send spacecraft to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. NASA would conduct "at least one planetary launch each year in the decade," and would pursue "a relatively ambitious science and applications program with 95 launches in the decade." <br /><br /><br />What effect would taking the $2.5 billion or $1.5 billion options have had on the US Space program to date had one of these been chosen? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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qso1

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Considering most of the manned program funding was slashed by around 50%, I'd say not too much more effect except in scenarios involving cutting manned space altogether and the shuttle may not have been developed which takes you back to the no human spaceflight scenario.<br /><br />The cuts that eventually were adapted included cancellation of NERVA, and stopping Saturn V production anyway. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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pmn1

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<p>If the US went for option 3 and got out of manned spaceflight altogether, what effect would that have on the Soviet manned space program, would the Soviets continue to spend money on it?</p><p>Would US manned spaceflight get another look in the Reagan era? </p><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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JonClarke

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>If the US went for option 3 and got out of manned spaceflight altogether, what effect would that have on the Soviet manned space program, would the Soviets continue to spend money on it?</DIV></p><p>I suspect yes, because the USSR was no longer acting along a space race or space spectaculaar policy, but fulling specific civil aand military research objectives.&nbsp; So Salyut and Almaz cwuld have happened much as they did</p><p>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Would US manned spaceflight get another look in the Reagan era? &nbsp; <br />Posted by pmn1 </DIV></p><p>I suspect not.&nbsp; Once a capability is lost it is very difficult to regain, as VSE has shown.&nbsp; And the Reagan administration was not interested in human space flight, but primarily military.&nbsp; You did not need human space flight for Star Wars.</p><p>And, in such a climate, I wonder how long the "six Viking" program would have lasted, and the goal of a planetary launch a year?&nbsp; Note that in the real world, there were 11 planetary missions in the decade&nbsp;- two Mariner Mars orbiters, two Vikings, two Pioneer Jupiters, to Voyagers, Mariner Venus-Mercury, and two Pioneer Venus.</p><p>Jon</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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scottb50

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<p>nd the Reagan administration was not interested in human space flight, but primarily military.&nbsp; You did not need human space flight for Star Wars.....</p><p>Which has been the problem all along. Many companies now own or utilize Satellites, military has helped fund it by utilizing the same launchers, for the most part, but is up to industry to exploit Space, not the Government. Contrary to opinion, here, there is actually a growing commercial need for LEO right now. </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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DrRocket

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>nd the Reagan administration was not interested in human space flight, but primarily military.&nbsp; You did not need human space flight for Star Wars.....Which has been the problem all along. Many companies now own or utilize Satellites, military has helped fund it by utilizing the same launchers, for the most part, but is up to industry to exploit Space, not the Government. Contrary to opinion, here, there is actually a growing commercial need for LEO right now. <br />Posted by scottb50</DIV></p><p>What is that growing commercial need for LEO ?<br /></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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qso1

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<p><font color="#800080">What is that growing commercial need for LEO ? Posted by DrRocket</font></p><p>Legend has it that Xerox Corporation asked the same thing about the need for Graphical User Interfaces on computers back at a time (1973) when PCs didn't exist. Among that presentation or meetings attendees was Steven Jobs who liked GUIs and became a multimillionaire after basically borrowing the idea from Xerox and not giving it back.</p><p>Its tough to see a need for commercial activity in LEO in the present atmosphere of funding limits and such. But people like Elon Musk, Burt Rutan and Richard branson apparently see something useful about LEO...or they are all insane. I personally think that LEO would be a great place to start moving major industries, over time of course. Especially Industries that are damaging to the environment.</p><p>Will it happen? Nobody knows for sure.&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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<p><font color="#800080">I suspect yes, because the USSR was no longer acting along a space race or space spectaculaar policy, but fulling specific civil aand military research objectives.Jon Posted by jonclarke</font></p><p>I agree. Much of the space spectacular aspect of the Soviet program was carried out under Kruschev. Once he was replaced by Brezhnev/Kosygin, the Soviet/Russian result oriented program emerged and has been sustained since.&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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halman

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<p>Many of the scientists involved in the Apollo program believed, in my opinion, that they were engaged in a stunt, that there was no logical way of proceding beyond a few manned landings.&nbsp; The infrastructure to support a manned presence on the Moon was not created by Apollo, requiring for each mission a huge rocket which was completely thrown away.&nbsp; Irregardless of which direction NASA took, it had to be away from Apollo if it was going to see any long-term success.</p><p>From the earliest days of speculation about off-planet exploration, a beachhead, a toe-hold, just outside the atmosphere had been stipulated.&nbsp; Those who understood the problems of spacefight knew that passage through the atmosphere required one kind of vehicle, while traveling in a vacumn demanded totally different capabilities.&nbsp; So, exchanging the conveyance as soon as possible as leaving the atmosphere was the standard model.&nbsp; Only the time constraints that the Apollo program had to work under prevented a space station from being built before the Moon landings were attempted.</p><p>The shuttle program was an attempt to make such a construction program palatable to the public and to Congress.&nbsp; It was designed to carry space station components into Low Earth Orbit, and to assemble them.&nbsp; Nothing else.&nbsp; In the belief that funding for a space station would be easy to win if a low-cost method of putting it in place were available, the program focused on a high flight rate from a fleet of extremely advanced craft, which would allow economies of scale to be used in reducing the costs of putting mass in orbit.</p><p>Had the minimum of seven orbiters been built, launch rates would probably have been achieved which would have reduced launch costs substantially.&nbsp; But Congress kept ignoring the testimony of the NASA administrators, and repeatedly cut the agencies budget. If I remember correctily, the total NASA budget for 1980 was about 1.2 billion dollars, of which nearly 800,000 went to the shuttle.&nbsp; Everything was hung on a shoestring, while getting the shuttle operational was viewed as the most important goal of the agency.</p><p>Senior management of NASA was certain that the success of the shuttle would insure funding for a space station, but they were wrong.&nbsp; Funding continued to be at minimal levels for keeping the agency in business, and justifying flying the shuttle became a game of frenzied adaptation of the vehicle as an orbital science laboratory.&nbsp; Irregardless of the funding levels of the agency, they would be inadequate to maintain a viable off-planet effort.&nbsp; In hindsight, it might have been better to mothball the four shuttles, and just build hardware for a space station for ten years, rather than continuing to fly them. &nbsp;</p><p>Be that as it may, we are now back where we were in 1969, looking at the end of the only flying program available, while trying to build a replacement on a budget that is completely inadequate for the task.&nbsp; Because our government is the way that it is, no one is going to stand up in front of Congress and say that we cannot build a space craft and operate it safely with the money that Congress is spending on the project.&nbsp; Instead, we see valiant attempts to satisfy the demands of the legislature with the money allocated, to the point of threatening the safety of the astronauts who will crew the proposed craft.</p><p>At some point, we have to stand up to those in charge and say, "This is not going to work."&nbsp; We were at that point in 1970, and we are at that point again.&nbsp; Either we do this right, or we should not bother doing it at all.&nbsp; Doing it wrong is only going to make it more difficult to try again, while bringing us down in the eyes of the world.&nbsp; Our space program has been fantastic in its accomplishments, and the only disasters that we have encountered have been the result of decisions on the part of senior management.&nbsp; To continue the way that we have will only be a waste of money, because we cannot afford to do all of the things at the same time that have to be done to truly explore space; the building of launch vehicles, space stations, and spacecraft to visit other bodies.&nbsp; Building one component at a time just doesn't work.&nbsp;</p><p>The pure and simple truth is that those who are leading this nation do not see the significance of off planet exploration in the long term health of our nation.&nbsp; They are blind to the oppurtunities to create new wealth, fear disruption of existing empires, and believe that military power will solve any conceivable problem.&nbsp; In all likelyhood, the United States has lost the economic strength to continue to be a leader in space exploration, unless private investment in new technologies can be made to happen.&nbsp; The amount of wealth that dissappeared when the Bear Sterns investment bank dissolved would have easily funded the development of a second generation space shuttle, a new space station, or a base on the Earth's moon.</p><p>Space exploration is not expensive compared to locating and extracting new sources of oil, or building a nationwide data network.&nbsp; The money is there, but the will to invest in the future is lacking.&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> The secret to peace of mind is a short attention span. </div>
 
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qso1

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<p><font color="#800080">Many of the scientists involved in the Apollo program believed, in my opinion, that they were engaged in a stunt, that there was no logical way of proceding beyond a few manned landings.</font></p><p>Boy were they ever right. Not to say Apollo itself was a stunt. But there was little hope of proceeding to a post Apollo lunar program once the competition with Russia aspect was out of the picture. In fact, Apollo was leading to extended use of "Off the shelf" Apollo harware for programs moving beyond just lunar landings. Skylab being one that actually became operational.&nbsp;</p><p><font color="#800080">The infrastructure to support a manned presence on the Moon was not created by Apollo, requiring for each mission a huge rocket which was completely thrown away.&nbsp; Irregardless of which direction NASA took, it had to be away from Apollo if it was going to see any long-term success.</font></p><p>This was the reason for the Von Braun plan announced in 1969. This plan recognized the need for at least a small shuttle for missions not requiring the huge Saturn rocket. Even some parts of Saturn rockets were to be reused. The mid 1970s space station beyond Skylab was based on Saturn hardware. Even Skylab which I mentioned above, was the result of a program called "Apollo Applications". A program that was concieved well before the first lunar landing and aimed at seeking the most cost effective ways to utilize existing Apollo technology where practical.</p><p>The smaller shuttle recognized the difficulty in developing a shuttle like we now have. NASA wanted a 20,000 to 40,00 pound to LEO capability but the USAF saw an opportunity to get in on the shuttle pie while avoiding financing of it. They required the 65,000 pound to LEO capability and this resulted in the 65,000 pound payload compromise shuttle we ended up with. A technical success but economic failure.&nbsp;</p><p><font color="#800080">From the earliest days of speculation about off-planet exploration, a beachhead, a toe-hold, just outside the atmosphere had been stipulated.&nbsp; Those who understood the problems of spacefight knew that passage through the atmosphere required one kind of vehicle, while traveling in a vacumn demanded totally different capabilities.&nbsp; So, exchanging the conveyance as soon as possible as leaving the atmosphere was the standard model.&nbsp; Only the time constraints that the Apollo program had to work under prevented a space station from being built before the Moon landings were attempted.</font></p><p>This can be seen in Von Brauns proposals featured in the 1953 Colliers Magazine article detailing what was thought would be needed in the way of launchers and earth orbital stations. Even then, an aerospace vehicle was seen as the most effective way to shuttle back and forth from earth to LEO. The space race caused both the U.S. and Soviet Russia to see capsules as a cheaper way to get humans to space quickly. Once capsules were adapted, they remained so as not to disrupt the JFK pledge to put man on the moon by 1970.</p><p>Perhaps the moonrace was like a nuclear accident...the shuttle was the fallout, and the current moribund timelines to do anything new resulting from the halflife of recovery from such an undertaking as a moon race.&nbsp;</p><p><font color="#800080">The shuttle program was an attempt to make such a construction program palatable to the public and to Congress.&nbsp; It was designed to carry space station components into Low Earth Orbit, and to assemble them.&nbsp; Nothing else.&nbsp; In the belief that funding for a space station would be easy to win if a low-cost method of putting it in place were available, the program focused on a high flight rate from a fleet of extremely advanced craft, which would allow economies of scale to be used in reducing the costs of putting mass in orbit.</font></p><p>The shuttle ended up doing much more than simply assemble station components. And contrary to popular belief (The idea it was designed or could only do one task), the shuttle has handled all tasks assigned to it very well. If anything, the shuttle could have been more cost effective as a result of doing many tasks. The problem has been regardless of task, shuttle is simply too expensive as built and operated.&nbsp;</p><p><font color="#800080">Had the minimum of seven orbiters been built, launch rates would probably have been achieved which would have reduced launch costs substantially.&nbsp; But Congress kept ignoring the testimony of the NASA administrators, and repeatedly cut the agencies budget. If I remember correctily, the total NASA budget for 1980 was about 1.2 billion dollars, of which nearly 800,000 went to the shuttle.</font></p><p>From the start, Congress insisted on developing a shuttle as cheaply as possible. The Nixon Admins mandate was develop only the shuttle from the 1969 Von Braun plan. And cap development at $5.5 b 1971 dollars. That cap was later exceeded but the shuttle was reduced from a fleet of 7 to a fleet of 5, then 4 when plans to convert Enterprise to a spaceworthy orbiter were scrapped. The 1980 budget was probably closer to $6 b dollars. I have most of NASAs budgets recorded but I have a gap from 1978 to 1985. The 78 budget was $4 b dollars while 85 was $7.2 b dollars.</p><p>Interestingly enough, the shuttle as is...demonstrated it could achieve 24 flights annually between 4 orbiters. Discovery made 6 flights in just under a year its first year of operation (84-85). The press and politicians didn't notice this. And unfortunately, neither did NASA.&nbsp;</p><p><font color="#800080">Everything was hung on a shoestring, while getting the shuttle operational was viewed as the most important goal of the agency.Senior management of NASA was certain that the success of the shuttle would insure funding for a space station, but they were wrong.&nbsp; Funding continued to be at minimal levels for keeping the agency in business, and justifying flying the shuttle became a game of frenzied adaptation of the vehicle as an orbital science laboratory.&nbsp; Irregardless of the funding levels of the agency, they would be inadequate to maintain a viable off-planet effort.&nbsp; In hindsight, it might have been better to mothball the four shuttles, and just build hardware for a space station for ten years, rather than continuing to fly them. &nbsp;Be that as it may, we are now back where we were in 1969, looking at the end of the only flying program available, while trying to build a replacement on a budget that is completely inadequate for the task.</font></p><p>Was NASA management wrong? The ISS did eventually get built and that resulted from an increasingly popular view of the shuttles capabilities which in turn resulted in Reagans inclusion of a space station as NASAs next step in 1984. Then came Challenger which set us back many years.&nbsp;</p><p><font color="#800080">Because our government is the way that it is, no one is going to stand up in front of Congress and say that we cannot build a space craft and operate it safely with the money that Congress is spending on the project.&nbsp; Instead, we see valiant attempts to satisfy the demands of the legislature with the money allocated, to the point of threatening the safety of the astronauts who will crew the proposed craft.At some point, we have to stand up to those in charge and say, "This is not going to work."&nbsp; We were at that point in 1970, and we are at that point again.</font></p><p>Didnt work in 1970 and wont work today IMO. Partly because its not just the government. Its taxpayer money that funds NASA and post Apollo taxpayers bought into the idea that if we cut NASAs budget, we'd spend that money on pressing social problems. Therefore, "The people" as it were, had no intention of going off planet. Most folks today still see NASA human spaceflight as a waste of money. Failing to realize that they loose far more of their dollars on government wastes such as S&L scandals, deficit spending, the civil rebuild joke called Iraq. It didn't matter what NASA said in 1970 and don't matter what they say now as long as people still believe earthly problems could be better handled with money cut from NASAs budget.&nbsp;</p><p><font color="#800080">Either we do this right, or we should not bother doing it at all.</font></p><p>The way I see it, NASA will never get the opportunity to open deep space to human exploration. I doubt we will even see Constellation become reality once a new Presidential Admin is elected in 09, especially a Democratic one which is likely for the simple reason that we've had 8 years of Bush/Rebublican leadership. Its now time for the private sector to take a crack at it. At least if they could enable economic access to LEO, NASA could still focus on deep space.</p><p>If the private sector cannot handle it, maybe its just not within our grasp to do economically with available or near term projected technology.&nbsp;</p><p><font color="#800080">Doing it wrong is only going to make it more difficult to try again, while bringing us down in the eyes of the world.</font></p><p>The world hasn't even achieved what we have in spaceflight. The U.S. is still the only country to operate a shuttle, to send probes beyond mars. The world still has some catch up...not that this would stop them from taking a dim view of us. Iraq has caused more of a problem in that area than NASA ever could.&nbsp;</p><p><font color="#800080">Our space program has been fantastic in its accomplishments, and the only disasters that we have encountered have been the result of decisions on the part of senior management.&nbsp; To continue the way that we have will only be a waste of money, because we cannot afford to do all of the things at the same time that have to be done to truly explore space; the building of launch vehicles, space stations, and spacecraft to visit other bodies.&nbsp; Building one component at a time just doesn't work.</font></p><p>Thats true. But there is no national will to allocate the budgets required for such an effort. Had the shuttle been an economic success, the rest would have fallen into place.&nbsp;</p><p><font color="#800080">The pure and simple truth is that those who are leading this nation do not see the significance of off planet exploration in the long term health of our nation.&nbsp; They are blind to the oppurtunities to create new wealth, fear disruption of existing empires, and believe that military power will solve any conceivable problem.</font></p><p>We here at SDC might agree with much of what you said here. But the public at large is gonna ask..."Why build an expensive infrastructure to get a few people to the moon or beyond when my public school needs a new roof?" They dont bother to research and see that NASAs budget was slashed amidst that same mentality in the early 1970s and has remained at those levels since. Having dropped from 2-4 percent GDP in the 1960s to 1-.6% GDP since the 1970s. Why don't all the schools have new roofs in light of this knowledge?&nbsp;</p><p><font color="#800080">In all likelyhood, the United States has lost the economic strength to continue to be a leader in space exploration, unless private investment in new technologies can be made to happen.&nbsp; The amount of wealth that dissappeared when the Bear Sterns investment bank dissolved would have easily funded the development of a second generation space shuttle, a new space station, or a base on the Earth's moon.Space exploration is not expensive compared to locating and extracting new sources of oil, or building a nationwide data network. The money is there, but the will to invest in the future is lacking. Posted by halman</font></p><p>Agreed...the U.S. space leadership position may well be taken by some other country one day. But the reality is, no country is rushing to take that responsibility now. No other country is developing the means to open up deep space. China is just getting its feet wet and seems in no hurry to do so. Russia has its hands full with its involvement in ISS as do the European partners.</p><p>I don't know how much money dissappeared in the Bear Sterns affair...but most companies do not have the amount of money to finance human spaceflight without diverting their budgets from whatever made them a successful company.</p><p>An excellent example would be Bill Gates and Microsoft. Gates personal net worth alone is in the $40 billion range, or over twice NASAs annual budget. But Bill Gates and Microsoft are about software, not space travel. Despite this, his silent partner Paul Allen did finance the Rutan effort to capture the "X" prize and further develop HSF with private funding. But most companies are hard pressed enough to channel their profits into their specialty areas.</p><p>The few that are trying, have barely enough cash and are directing that money to HSF efforts which are their specialty areas. Taxpayers have lost the will to finance HSF and have reflected this by buying into an argument thats over three decades old but can still be heard. Politicians use the argument to garner public support for non HSF programs. The example here being Obamas recent call to cut NASA budgets for education. Like NASAs budget hasn't been cut enough already. Why hasn't the U.S. regained a world education lead since the roughly 50 percent post Apollo NASA cuts that are still reflected in its budget today if the flawed argument Obama used was so effective?</p><p>The argument that "Money spent on HSF could be better spent on earth" is flawed and that has been proven. But the fact that people continue to buy into it reflects the lack of will. The simple will to do the homework I did that lead me to conclude the argument flawed to begin with.&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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<p><font color="#800080">Space exploration is not expensive compared to locating and extracting new sources of oil, or building a nationwide data network.&nbsp; The money is there, but the will to invest in the future is lacking. Posted by halman</font></p><p>Do you have some figures to show this? I would imagine that if this is accurate data wise...the private sector would already be exploiting space. NASAs annual budget is about $17 billion dollars and less than half is for HSF related activity. But this budget would balloon to possibly $30 or more billion annually once expanded to cover human expansion beyond earth orbit.&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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