<font color="yellow"> OK. However it should be noted that unmanned test flights are not a requirement for man rating. </font><br /><br />That is one of the reasons why I do not think the process should be nearly as difficult and expensive as some would have us believe here. Originally, when NASA said they were going to use such parts of the STS system as the original four segment SRB's and the venerable but still great SSME's, then I thought it was indeed a great cost saving idea! <br /><br />However, all this seems to have changed. Now, we have a very large and expensive development program for an entirely new five segment SRB (at such a cost that even Griffin himself was not happy, and as for congress, with the possible exception of Utah.....). Then they come along and have Rocketdyne (where I retired from, and still have friends, so don't talk about my being a political person that approves of pork!) start up another such program.<br /><br />The big question to me (in all my inexperience) is all this new development going to be more expensive than using the already available EELV's even with this man-rating thing?<br /><br />NASA is perhap playing these kinds of political games while staring at an entirely new paradigm of a possibly new and <br />entirely different administration right in the face!<br /><br />I don't think that I am the only person here that is somewhat worried about the future of NASA, and the entire space program! If that somehow makes me clueless then I am more than happy to be that way!