Transterrestrial Musings

Defend Free Speech!

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay

Site designed by

Powered by
Movable Type 4.0
Biting Commentary about Infinity, and Beyond!

« Now This Has Potential | Main | Too Young To Be President »

It's The Assumptions, Stupid

Clark Lindsey has some thoughts on NASA's latest attempt to justify Ares, including the usual red herring about "man rating" (a phrase that I would purge from the vocabulary, had I the power).

...the initial conditions are the real problem. Griffin insisted on absolutely minimizing in-space assembly and avoiding unproven technologies such as propellant depots, even when such technology is close at hand and would tremendously expand space access capabilities for less money. These requirements lead to big and heavy throwaway payloads for the lunar exploration architecture.

I don't know who the maligners of small vehicles are that she refers to in the article but I remember that there was a lot of bias within NASA towards a Shuttle replacement, i.e., a vehicle with similar crew and cargo capability. I've always thought the Shuttle was far too big for a first generation attempt at an RLV. Starting small, learning what works and doesn't work, and growing vehicles over time seems like the sensible development path.

Of course, today I don't think NASA should develop vehicles at all. Instead it should do R&D on leading edge technology the way NACA did for aviation and DARPA does today for general aerospace technology. Let Lockheed-Martin, SpaceX, etc. battle to offer the cheapest space access services.

And he is correct, Shuttle was never man rated. Which is one of the reasons why it's disingenuous to claim that the Ares first stage is man rated because it was a Shuttle component (particularly since, with the additional segment, it's become a new motor completely).

I'm a little confused, though, by his citing me, when the link goes to Jon Goff. I think that I have in fact pointed to Mike Griffin's flip flop on the issue, but it's not in any of Clark's links in the piece.

[Update early afternoon]

This was the last time I commented on the man-rating canard, a couple months ago.


0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: It's The Assumptions, Stupid.

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Clark wrote:

Hi Rand,
Whoops, I should have cited Jon rather than you. I had been reading a couple of your postings on man-rating while Googling on the topic and then confused the authors of that item. I've changed it now.

Leave a comment

Note: The comment system is functional, but timing out when returning a response page. If you have submitted a comment, DON'T RESUBMIT IT IF/WHEN IT HANGS UP AND GIVES YOU A "500" PAGE. Simply click your browser "Back" button to the post page, and then refresh to see your comment.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on July 11, 2008 6:45 AM.

Now This Has Potential was the previous entry in this blog.

Too Young To Be President is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 4.1