A "Space Clipper&quot

As a decision on the shuttle neared in the final days of 1971, Jim Fletcher and George Low continued to interact with the relevant White House and Executive Office officials. They told Cap Weinberger on December 22 that NASA was “not yet in the position to respond to Don Rice’s request of December 11.” NASA’s human space flight element was still resisting seri­ous analysis of the OMB-suggested shuttle design. The Weinberger meeting “was followed by another series of phone calls from Jonathan Rose in Peter Flanigan’s office, who is primarily concerned with employment in Southern California.” On December 23, Fletcher and Low had lunch with Bill Anders, his assistant David Elliott, Tom Whitehead, and Jonathan Rose. These indi­viduals “were all trying to be very helpful and particularly wanted to bring the [shuttle] issue to a proper decision.” On the basis of their White House discussions, Fletcher and Low learned “that there indeed was a Presidential decision to go ahead with the Shuttle; that the issue of size was not really raised as a major one with the President; but that David and Rice, and to a lesser extent, Flanigan, felt that the 15 x 60′ 65,000 pound shuttle proposed by NASA was really too big.”1 Based on messages such as these, the NASA leadership by the end of December was increasingly skeptical that it could get White House approval for a full capability shuttle, and was searching for an acceptable compromise.