Editor's note: NASA sources report that Jeff Hanley recently issued a memo wherein the need to delay the first Ares missions was discussed - and recommended. NASA sources also report that Mike Griffin did not agree with this recommendation and that he has countermanded the recommendations that Hanley made. When I asked NASA ESMD PAO about this issue today they replied:
"NASA has not announced a 12-month postponement of any Ares or Orion test flights and has no plans to do so.
This is federal budget season. As a routine part of NASA's annual budget preparation process, the Constellation Program is looking at schedule options for all program elements including Ares I-Y and the first three Orion test flights. This analysis of internal schedules will not affect NASA's public commitment to a 2015 date for the initial operating capability of Orion and Ares.
Evaluating schedule scenarios is a standard part of the program management process. Program managers constantly weigh schedules against available resources and make adjustments, as necessary, in order to achieve established program milestones.
A discussion of potential adjustments to internal planning dates for the launches of Ares I-Y and Orion 1, Orion 2, and Orion 3 should not be construed as a program delay. NASA has a formal approval process for schedule changes, and no schedule changes have been proposed formally or approved.
The scenarios being considered for Ares I-Y and the first three Orion test flights are not commitments and are in no way related to technical issues.
NASA remains committed to conduct the first launch of Orion and Ares I with astronauts aboard in March 2015."