"They are hedging their bets," agreed Keith Cowing, a former NASA engineer who runs the Nasawatch.com web site, which acts as a watchdog on the space agency. "It clearly reflects some doubts among senior agency folks in the overall veracity of their current approach." NASA spokesman Michael Curie said Shannon was encouraged to make the presentation "in the spirit of sharing the options we've studied in the past." But he added: "NASA believes the best plan is to fully fund the current architecture ... This does not indicate a lack of confidence in or support for the current program."
Keith's note: John Shannon's presentation represents more than just what ESAS "studied in the past". If that was the case, then why not just have Shannon use old ESAS charts? Why have people go off and restudy it and make fancy (expensive) new graphics and animations? Shannon's presentation represented a contemporary analysis of the sidemount shuttle option in the light of what progress Ares has made, the problems that it has encountered, and the current funding and political climate NASA finds itself in.