Editor's 15 Jan update: ESMD PAO just sent me a note: "We're converging on a final answer for your many questions, and my clients in ESMD have asked me to tell you that we expect to have the answer to you within 48 hours."
Editor's 14 Jan note: A week ago I submitted a series of questions regarding Ares 1 development to ESMD PAO. With the exception of a short email from someone at ESMD PAO last Monday ago telling me that they'd "update me tomorrow" I have heard absolutely nothing. Senior ESMD management was cc:ed on the original email. They know that these questions have been asked. What are they afraid of? Why won't they answer? Stay tuned.
Editor's 15 Jan update: Here are the specific questions I asked ESMD PAO - questions that they are either unwilling or unable to answer:
Do launch vibroacoustics, oscillations, etc. generated by the current Ares 1 design exceed acceptable baselined limits for the Orion spacecraft? Do these oscillations exceed limits and/or pose a risk to the crew inside the Orion spacecraft? If so, to what extent to they exceed acceptable limits?
Using a standard NASA 5x5 risk management matrix, what is the current risk rating of Ares 1 vibroacoustics and oscillations issue by the Constellation and Ares programs?
Have any presentations given by ATK, NASA or other contractor personnel in November or December 2007 - or at any other time - characterized the risk (using a standard NASA 5x5 risk management matrix) to Ares 1 first stage development as being 4x5 due to incomplete requirements and/or insufficient performance from the DAC-1 Ares 1 Design?
Are studies underway at NASA to reduce the weight of Orion and associated hardware so as to allow additional weight to be added to the Ares 1 to alleviate oscillation issues and/or conform to lower performance (payload capacity) by the Ares 1?
Is NASA looking at stiffening the Ares 1 structure so as to pass vibrations on to the Ares 1 upperstage and payloads i.e. Orion? If so what loads will be transferred to upper stages and/or payloads (Orion)?
Is NASA looking to use a dampening system to handle these vibroacoustic or oscillation loads? If so, what is the weight of such this system? How much would the weight of such a system affect Ares 1 payload capacity? What would be the added cost of such a dampening system?
Is a tiger team or working group working to report back to Ares and/or Constellation program managers on these Ares 1 vibration and oscillation issues? Is this tiger team due to report its findings in March 2008? If not March 2008, when are these results due to be reported and to whom will these results be reported?
Is any portion of the current tiger team's deliberations or proposed solutions considered to be restricted information due to ITAR concerns?
Was NASA Administrator Griffin made aware of these Ares 1 vibration issues in 2007? If so, when was he made aware of these issues? Who told him about these issues? What specifically was Griffin told about these issues? What was Griffin's response to these issues?
Is NASA currently working on any plans for alternate ways to launch the Orion spacecraft? Do these alternate approaches involve the use of EELVs? Do they involve other commercially available launch vehicles? Do they involve use of shuttle-derived launch systems? Do they involve the use of any launch vehicle design or concept with the working name of "Jupiter" or "Direct"?
If Administrator Griffin was ware of these design issues in 2007 did he inform Congress of these issues? If so, when? Has information on these design issues been presented to members of Congress or to Congressional staff by anyone at NASA?
Has any information on these Ares 1 design issues been presented to the Government Accountability Office? If so, when?