I am writing in response to the article ” Hutchinson: COTS Would H elp Close Shuttle-CEV Gap” [May 29, page 12].

Embarking on capsule technology to replace the shuttle as a ” flawed vehicle” might be in line with the current available NASA budget and the Bush exploration program; however, in the long run, the Crew Exploration Vehicle is a step back to the beginnings of human spaceflight — the Jules Verne approach.

Where are the Saengers, HOTOLs, HOPESs, Hermes and Clippers? The concept of involving industry in space transportation is excellent — however, there has to be a market looming on the horizon. One of the fledgling markets is space tourism. I think the customers are expecting more of the ” pink thing” — the spaceship in Douglas Adams’ novel “Mostly Harmless” — than a capsule for zipping through space.

May the space developers –Bigelow Aerospace, Rocketplane Kistler and Burt Rutan –keep that in mind and come up with grandiose ideas to put some wings on the Crew Exploration Vehicle.

J. Kehr

Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany