NASA To Update Reporters About Constellation Program
"NASA will host a media teleconference Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 1 p.m. EDT, to brief reporters about recent developments and ongoing progress in NASA's Constellation Program. Constellation will build the spacecraft to carry astronauts to the International Space Station and return humans to the moon by 2020."
Ares PDR Was Not As Smooth As NASA Says It Was, earlier post
Doug Cooke: Some recent news reports about Ares have been inaccurate and draw false conclusions.
PDR: In all cases we reviewed the approach resolving issues (such as vehicle drift) and are confident that there is a valid and straightforward path to resolve this - in some cases multiple paths.
Jeff Hanley: Up and running for about 3 years. 5 major procurements, 4 prime contractors on board. We have real hardware in flow - some of it on the way to KSC for flight tests in CY 2009. J2x reviews ahead, tooling for upper stage being delivered, solidifying schedules for new launch date - IOC first crew launch by Sep 2014. Working under a CR this year - funding is tight. Working on a study - Ralph Roe leading it out of NESC - acceleration of Constellation in the event that new Administration/Congress wants to ask us to do that. Press event in Mid-November at KSC - we want to show flight hardware for Ares 1-X.
Steve Cook: Ares is making outstanding progress toward flight. Ares 1-X delivering flight hardware to the Cape. Biggest accomplishment to dat - 1100 reviewers at PDR - 31 member PDR board approved. Identified challenges. Thrust Oscillation - team is pursuing 3 approaches to mitigate oscillations. Isolaters between 1st and second stage; looking at how we may use composite structures and optimize them for de-tuning, reaction mass actuators that actively cancel TO. Other challenges - environments and staging events, process control, making sure that process to resolve interface issues, enhancing operability. Claims that PDR earned a low score are not true - we rate according to color code. We do not use these as letter grades. Astronaut office revolt - not true. Crew office is not shy about expressing their opinions.
Brent Jett: Astronaut office has been invloved in early conceptual process.
Steve Cook: Another inaccuracy: Liftoff drift is a setback. Inaccurate. Liftoff drift happens due to wind and can be dealt with. Ares 1 can steer away from tower. We are cocnerned with 34 nm/hr winds from the southwest. This happens infrequently and the issue has been taken out of context more than it needs to be. NASA has not relaxed its safety requirements.
I asked Steve Cook if MSFC has reported back to HQ after being asked to do a 30 day look at how their recent ARES PDR was conducted - including the bad reviews that review got internally. Cook replied that NASA HQ has not directed them to do a 30 day review. What they did after the PDR was to invite people to make comments at a pause and learn activity on how they think various things went. Some things that were not good. "As you can imagine, with 1100 people, we'll have issues with process and doing things in timely manner. You are going to have issues with process. The purpose is to improve for upcoming CDRs. We found nothing particularly alarming or surprising. These are typical things that you can expect. This will not affect the Delta PDR which will focus on thrust oscillation.
I asked Jeff Hanley if he thought it was proper to state in NASA staff meetings that he thought that the manner in which the Orlando Sentinel reported things had to do with the way they run their company and current business climate. Hanley replied "I am entitled to my opinion and to share what I hear but I do not have facts one way or the other. That is hearsay on the part of my staff members."