In a move some call genius and many call ridiculous, NASA will soon combine the middle ages with the space age. Budget cuts have heavily curtailed the agency's satellite deployment plans, so NASA has decided to develop a new launch vehicle: a giant catapult that will literally fling satellites into orbit.

"The X-4000 Launch Apparatus will be the largest working machine ever constructed by man," says NASA spokesman, Dr. Ivan Ivanovich. "It will save us millions to not have to use rockets or the Space Shuttle. The only expensive consumable will be the high tech micropolymer ropes needed to pull back the launching arm, and create tension. They will cost several million each, and can only be used once, but are much cheaper than a rocket or shuttle launch."

The specifications for the device call for a frame made of a space age titanium alloy, and a throwing arm made of a highly flexible, yet nearly unbreakable carbon fiber compound. The ropes Dr. Ivanovich mentioned will be pulled taut by a powerful hydraulic winch, and then cut with a synthetic diamond blade, the only substance capable of cutting these ropes. A huge hydraulic pile driver will force the blade down onto the rope at nearly the speed of sound, then off the payload goes into orbit, or so it says on the drawing board.

Former NASA employee, and frequent contributor to THE UNCOVEROR, Harvey Kurtz had a lot to say on the subject of the X-4000. "It's a boondoggle, and a potential disaster. If the trajectory or tension are just a little off, then the X-4000 could slam its payload onto land with the force of the bomb dropped on Nagasaki! Satellites are launched in many directions to achieve various types of orbit. Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Texas, Mexico, and many other populated areas could be hit by a misfired launch, and what if they hit an airplane? Oh the humanity!"

He also informed me that plans like this are not new. "In the eighties, the Air Force planned what was basically a giant crossbow to launch disk-shaped payload vehicles carrying satellites. They even considered it as a way to launch the shuttle. A working prototype was built at Area 51, and test launches were responsible for countless UFO sightings. Also, nothing ever got into useful orbit. Some payloads re-entered the atmosphere and burned up. Some landed in the ocean, and some just kept going deep into space." Mr. Kurtz pointed out that the whole thing was based on seized Soviet plans; plans that many felt must be part of an elaborate Kremlin campaign of disinformation and phony intelligence." To make matters worse, the first bowstring supplier had defrauded the Air Force. The high tech micropolymer ropes they were selling were actually ordinary ones dyed blue! Until they discovered this, the apparatus did not work at all, the ropes would break every time. Even the real ones they finally got only worked once, then were to weak to use again.

Mr. Kurtz urges all Americans, "Write NASA, E-mail and phone them, as well as your Congressmen and Senators. Urge them to stop this ludicrous program before it turns tragic! A source of mine tells me they have already broken ground on the construction site."

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