Doug Cooke Dumps on Direct Concept

NASA: Not silent, Orlando Sentinel

Doug Cooke: "The "direct" variation fails to meet NASA's needs on several grounds. It is vastly over-capacity and too costly to service the International Space Station, but worse, its lift capacity would not be enough for NASA to maintain a sustained presence on the moon. Advocates for the "direct" variation are touting unrealistic development costs and schedules. A fundamental difference is that the Ares I and Orion probability of crew survival is at least two times better than all of the other concepts evaluated, including "direct"-like concepts."

Editor's note: Perhaps Doug Cooke will release the results of the actual internal studies NASA personnel performed whereby such a formal evaluation of the Direct Concept was made. NASA did actually evaluate the concept, yes? Or is Doug Cooke just tossing out opinions based on first impressions?

Steve Cook claims that no one at NASA has been working on this concept. Yet Doug Cooke says that people at NASA have been looking at it in some detail. They can't both be right, can they? Stay tuned. No doubt there will be some extreme NASA word parsing ahead should NASA ESMD deign to respond.

Editor's 24 June 2008 update: Perhaps this FOIA request (that I just filed) will provide some insight...

Editor's 2 July 2008 update: It has been a week. No feedback on the FOIA request from NASA.


1. Copies of all internal and external NASA and contractor reports, studies, surveys, technical evaluations, assessments, reviews, or other evaluation activities used to substantiate the claims made regarding the "Direct" (Jupiter 120) launch vehicle architecture "variation", by Doug Cooke, Deputy Director, NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, in the Orlando Sentinel Letter to the Editor titled "What you think Fueling change NASA: Not silent", published online on 24 June 2008 at le24_608jun24,0,2044465.story

2. The names of all NASA and contractor personnel who participated in the actives requested in item 1 of this request.

3. The total cost for all of the activities (including personnel) outlined in item 1 of this request.

4. The specific start and completion dates for all of the activities outlined in item 1 of this request.

The news item mentioned above in Item 1 of this request is included in it entirety here:

What you think Fueling change NASA: Not silent, Orlando Sentinel le24_608jun24,0,2044465.story

June 24, 2008

The recent Orlando Sentinel article overtly accuses NASA management of stifling debate of launch-vehicle alternatives to carry out our exploration missions. Nothing could be further from the truth, and NASA's development efforts with the Ares rockets are on track and making progress...

Editor's note: Meanwhile, to all you Direct Fan Boys out there in cyberspace, no I have not "changed my mind" about your pretty powerpoint presentations. I still think your ideas are half-baked and that your rationale for them is naive. The real issue is not what alternate proposals NASA looks at - but whether NASA is being honest when they say that they have or have not considered other ideas. Right now they want it both ways.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on July 2, 2008 8:12 AM.

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