19 thoughts on “A Question For Ares Supporters

  1. Atomic Walrus

    Here’s the problem: there’s no guarantee that cancelling Ares will lead to funding being spent on any other program. In fact, it’s a pretty safe bet that a lot of politicians (including the president) would be happy to have an option that cuts any spending on manned space exploration. It’d be a different story if SpaceX successfully demonstrates a manned launch on Falcon 9, though.

  2. Charles Lurio

    …and of course, it is profoundly evident that its projected low flight rate because of its high cost means that it is NOT going to be safe, per Jeff G’s and other’s comments.

    At least those who crassly support it as a jobs program have a reason. The rest of the supporters are mere delusional worshippers of ’60’s era NASA.

  3. Martijn Meijering

    How many honest Ares supporters are there? How many honest SDLV supporters are there? There don’t seem to be very many of them. Lots of reasons for supporting SDLV are offered, but when they debunked, the preference for SDLV remains. In other words, the reasons given are not the true reasons.

    There are exceptions of course. Zubrin comes to mind. Others openly state the reason they want SDLV is that it helps Shuttle extension. But those appear to be the exceptions, not the rule.

    How do you enter into an effective debate with someone who isn’t honest about his or her motives? It looks as if it’s all politics.

  4. Carl Pham

    I think the problem is there is zero competition, at least visible. People think it’s the bleeding edge, and so it costs what it costs, which is a lot. Folks are not good at estimating what things should cost when they’re one of a kind. Furthermore in this case, the perception, for better or worse, is that this is the only game in town, and “not worth it” means retreating from space entirely.

    If there were a clearly visible existing competitor, then people could compare the price.

    Or were you only talking to those expert enough to price it based on actual understanding of the engineering?

  5. Kelly Starks

    >..the only important thing is that it’s “safe,” and to hell with the cost…

    Safe?! Projections are it will be far less safe then shuttle. When I was on Orion last year NASA was specifying far lower safty and redundancy levels?

    >==
    > …People think it’s the bleeding edge, and so it costs what it costs, which is a lot. ..

    How can Orion (which is hard to tell apart from Apollo in photos) and a SRB based 1st stage, be seen by anyone as cutting edge after 30 years of shuttle?

    Apollo is their fathers and grandfathers space program..

  6. Mark R. Whittington

    That’s the wrong question. Anything NASA builds or causes to be built will cost more than will suit most people. The right question, which the Augustine folks wrestled with, is what are the alternatives and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

  7. Carl Pham

    How can Orion (which is hard to tell apart from Apollo in photos) and a SRB based 1st stage, be seen by anyone as cutting edge after 30 years of shuttle?

    Because (1) it’s being built in 2009, (2) talking heads say it is, (3) the public perception is the Shuttle program lacked the panache and punch of Apollo, (4) every other new space system is also a rocket, and (5) we’re talking about journalism and business majors, who find it hard to distinguish one tall shiny tube from another, and rely on experts (or “experts”) to tell them which is New Cool Tech and which is Your Grandfather’s Oldsmobile.

    I don’t doubt if somebody built something that looked all future-tech-iPhone-gizmodo, with blue glowing exhaust ports, laser turrets, chrome and tailfins galore, then the public would eagerly embrace it.

    As I said, I think a big problem is the arguments about what a better approach would be are largely theoretical, and most people lack the theory to meaningfully participate. When it’s possible to show them an alternative, ready on the pad, with (much lower) price tag affixed, then they’ll be sharp consumers, I doubt not.

  8. bbbeard

    Reminds me of the blonde joke: Blonde notices a headline that says, “35 Brazilians killed in plane crash”. Shocked, she turns to hubby and asks, “Oh my gosh, that’s terrible. How many is a Brazilian, anyway?”

    I don’t know how expensive Ares would have to be for me to say it’s not worth it, but it would probably have to be more than hundred Brazilian dollars….

    BBB

  9. Martijn Meijering

    That’s why it’s the wrong question!

    If the answer is no or if Ares supporters refuse to answer it, then it is a very revealing question.

  10. Josh Reiter

    “Is there any amount of money that this thing could cost that would cause you to say, “OK, it’s not worth it”?

    1 TRILLION Dollars *pinky* And it better have a friggin’ laser beam.

    _______________

    I was just thinking that Ares I with the launch escape tower looks more like a typha cattail than a corn dog.

    Also I seems to me that NASA has just gone completely cukoo for solid rocket motors. Yea, lets have 18 rocket motors fire for staging, that will spectacular!

  11. ken anthony

    Hopefully Ares will be the last rocket NASA builds. I had a crazy thought (ok, quiet in the peanut gallery!) Would it be possible to build structure in a solid fuel so that as it burned the structure was abandoned incrementally as well?

    A Brazilian stage rocket!

    Ok, perhaps the nozzle would be a problem.

  12. john hare

    I actually heard a story about a caseless solid once. The end burning grain was supposed to be forced into the nozzle assembly. Apparently it didn’t work with the grain ejected from the nozzle area.

  13. Kelly Starks

    >Carl Pham Says:
    >November 4th, 2009 at 10:48 pm
    >
    >> How can Orion (which is hard to tell apart from Apollo in
    >> photos) and a SRB based 1st stage, be seen by anyone as
    >> cutting edge after 30 years of shuttle?
    >
    > Because (1) it’s being built in 2009,
    > (2) talking heads say it is,
    > (3) the public perception is the Shuttle program lacked the panache
    > and punch of Apollo,
    > (4) every other new space system is also a rocket, and
    > (5) we’re talking about journalism and business majors, ==

    I think your wrong about this. Give when it was anounced it was the joke of everything from Av Week to pop sci — and everyone I’ve talked to (even busness majors) look at me like I’m nuts when I say we’re trading the shuttle in for a Apollo style system.

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