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Nearing The End?

Robert Block is wondering if the Stick is dying. I liked this bit:

In the face of the latest reports of trouble, sources say that NASA leaders are looking at a possible replacement design, including one that would use the shuttle's two four-segment solid rocket boosters, and a liquid engine with four RS-68 engines and no upper stage. While it sounds similar to a rocket called the Jupiter 120 or the Direct 2.0 concept which is being proposed by moonlighting NASA engineers, the sources insist it is not the same.

Yes. I have a literary theory that the Iliad and the Odyssey weren't written by Homer, but by another blind poet with the same name.


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Karl Hallowell wrote:

To my knowledge, NASA has never dropped a manned vehicle design once it has gone as far as the Ares I has. However, I see serious problems that have piled up on Ares I unlike those of predecessors like the Space Shuttle namely: 1) it competes directly with commercial launch, 2) heavy launch is postponed a significant number of years, and 3) serious engineering hurdles with fixes that cripple the capabilities of the vehicle and render void the safety and performance numbers that drove its acceptance in the first place. It is time to set a new precedent.

Mike Griffin still has an opportunity to do something productive by dropping the Ares I and going with the Delta IV Heavy and the Atlas V Heavy. While there are political obstacles, it is clear that the more political convenient approach followed by Ares I just isn't working. This is an opportunity to get Congress to go along with a good plan. Otherwise we're stuck for another year until the incoming president and their NASA administrator, whoever they may be, decide what to do and hopefully clean up this mess. That scenario is very risky since it depends on getting a good NASA administrator.

The money that was to be spent on Ares I can then go to "man-rating" the commercial launchers and to developing *now* the heavy lift vehicle, be it Ares V or DIRECT. Even now, after four years of developing Ares I, the best solution then remains the best solution now.

Josh Reiter wrote:

I wonder if NASA will pull a Prince and refer to this new concept as simply "The Rocket Formerly Known as Ares I"

ken anthony wrote:

Here we see the difference between a close political Bureaucracy (NASA) and an open entrepenural company (SpaceX). Can NASA turn the beast before the next admin?

I'm happy to see the astronauts still have some say in the matter.

anon wrote:

They won't abandon Ares I. They will simply move forward to the enhanced, more capable Ares IA.

The enhancement will be a design that works.

Karl Hallowell wrote:

They won't abandon Ares I. They will simply move forward to the enhanced, more capable Ares IA.

The enhancement will be a design that works.

Well, in that case, I have a suggestion. I'm sure with modest effort the ULA partners, Boeing and Lockheed could come up with rockets that NASA could slap an "Ares I" sticker on.

Anonymous wrote:

True - think Great Repair

Paul Milenkovic wrote:

What has to happen to either EELV to launch the CEV? No, I don't mean Vu-graph "crew rating" requirements. I mean things like, is the upper stage powerful enough not to require a steeply lofted trajectory with no-abort zones, or could they add more RL-10 engines, or would they have to come up with their own upper stage?

What is the practicality of the 3-fold core vehicle configuration of either EELV -- does it have an engine-out capability with cross-feed, or once you light all three cores, do they need to stay lit?

I remember that the engine start procedure of the RS-68 dumped so much hydrogen that when they launched a Delta IV Heavy, the foam insulation on the core boosters caught fire and charred. Is this an aberation? Can this be fixed or is launching a rocket with the foam insulation on fire considered a normal event for a rocket that will carry people?

The RS-68, while not of the specific impulse of the SSME, has something like 75 percent the thrust of the M-1 liquid hydrogen engine proposed for Nova back in the day -- it is one of the more powerful single rocket engines short of an F-1. Couldn't they cluster RS-68 and Delta IV Common Core Boosters around a Shuttle ET and dispense with the SRBs?

K wrote:

From the Wiki article on same:

Supporters of the Ares I claim that the vehicle is essential in ensuring the continued employment of the current STS workforce,

I'd say the vehicle continues to meet it's prime specification.

Monte Davis wrote:

re Homer...

Tweedy don #1: I've conclusively established that the so-called "Shakespeare" plays were written by Queen Elizabeth I.

Tweedy don #2: But surely you don't believe a woman could have created a Macbeth or Othello or Julius Caesar..?

T.d. #1: Of course not. My next book conclusively establishes that Elizabeth was a man.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on August 8, 2008 9:48 AM.

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