The editorial board at the Orlando Sentinel (Florida’s largest paper) weighs in:
If U.S. space-policy decisions were dictated based solely on spectacle, the Ares I would be a shoo-in as NASA’s next manned vehicle. Unfortunately for fans of the rocket, cost, design and timing also matter.
Problems with all three argue for scrapping Ares I and assigning commercial rockets the task of flying to the international space station in low-Earth orbit. That would allow the agency to concentrate on its pre-shuttle mission of cutting-edge exploration.
I think we’re reaching the point at which its supporters are trying to swim up Niagara Falls.
[Update a couple minutes later]
Mark Matthews over at the Sentinel has a story on the hearings discussing the future of the program.
This should shock no one:
“There are a few people in the administration who want to kill Ares I and put all the money in commercial and the [Augustine] report tends to endorse that type of scenario. I think that is absolutely wrong,” said Doc Horowitz, former astronaut and Constellation architect.
If I were him, I’d just shut up, and hope that the IG doesn’t decide to open a belated investigation into his revolving door between NASA and ATK.
And then there’s this little tidbit at the end:
…there are whispers that the administration is exploring plans outside options presented by the Augustine committee, although it is unclear as to what they could include.
I suppose they could include (e.g.) bringing in the Chinese. We could just put it on the tab with all the other things we borrow money from them to buy from them.