"To participate in the call, reporters should dial 800-790-1836 and use the pass code "ESMD update." Replays of the call will be available through Dec. 24 by dialing 866-507-3617 and entering the pass code 52368."
Editor's note: When you call 800-790-1836 (I have tried twice) you get "Video Professors' free CD hotline". Oh well. I don't think there will be very many people on this telecon today.
Editor's update: The actual number is 888-790-1836
Telecon Notes starting at
4:00 - 4:10 pm EST:
AP's Seth Borenstein asked Doug Cooke a question about $2 billion in underfunding for Ares as was presented to industry in a recent briefing. Cooke denied having held any such briefing saying "I do not know what briefings you are referring to." Doug Cooke is not telling the truth. Steve Cook and ESMD representatives met with industry representatives this morning at NASA HQ to discuss Ares, Orion, and Constellation issues. This was sponsored by the Space Business Roundtable. Multiple sources report that this $2 billion underfunding was discussed. NASA PAO was not there.
Doug Cooke: 2008 milestones. Completed System Baseline Review for Orion completed. Administrator participated. Looked at what is needed to proceed to PDR. Launch Abort motor test completed. Jettison motor test as well. In the next week we have the HTA test that will test valves of Launch Abort Motor.
Ares 1 PDR completed with one open review with one item that will be subject to a delta PDR in the Spring. This was the first time in 35 years that we have had a review like this. J2-X reviews under way. Getting ready for RFP for Ares V in the next few days or early next year. Ares V Industry Day on 3 December. 11 July Ares 1-X launch contingent upon shuttle issues.
First lunar program milestone - lunar capabilities concept review completed that set in place point of departure designs for Altair and Ares V. This is the first programatic milestone in returning humans to the moon. LRO will be our first step on the way back to the moon. LRO has been in thermal vacuum testing and due to be done with this soon. LCROSS will launch with LRO - no real issues with that.
Analog surface testing of vehicles and EVA capabilities have gone well. Tested out ISRU to extract Oxygen from soil. COTS - we signed agreement with OSC for Space Act Agreement. Also have one with Space X. Have milestones where we provide payment and invest in their capabilities. Working to cargo capability in 2010. Space Space X had a successful Falcon 1 launch and Falcon 9 engine test. Do not know what changes lie ahead with the new Administration. We do have follow up to Ares 1 PDR that deals with Thrust Oscillation issue. Pad Abort 1 test in the Spring - no date set yet for that - waiting for HTA test next week.
NASA Watch: You are quoted on spacepolitics.com as saying that "I attended the review myself, and despite what was said in the blogosphere and the sensational media, it was very professionally done,". I am wondering how you justify such statements when your own internal PDR review documents as posted on NASA Watch were riddled with complaints about incomplete and inaccurate documentation?
Cooke: There are always items that are to be worked - and there were. The review was where is should be and for the issues that we identified we made sure that there were plans that were logical to mitigate those issues.
NASA Watch: Why are you rushing ahead with the Altair RFI which requires that lots of people work over the holidays when it is all but certain that the incoming Obama team is going to put all ESMD activities on hold pending an internal review? Is this the wisest way to be spending everyone's time?
Cooke: In the world that we live in we have a budget that we work to - we have to work to the direction that we have. We feel it is important to keep moving on things. I actually asked the question if we should wait until after the holidays and contractor community wanted it early.
When asked about moving Orion to an EELV Doug Cooke said "We do not have any data on that specifically."