DIRECT Delusions

Rebel Engineers Sit With NASA to Chart Future of Manned Space, Popular Mechanics

"[Ross] Tierney, an amateur space buff, is an outspoken advocate for Jupiter Direct, a rocket designed to replace NASA's Ares 1 and Ares V, the two launch vehicles at the heart of NASA's Constellation program. "

NASA Renegades Pitch Obama Team New Post-Shuttle Plan, Popular Mechanics

"We were received well, but they were very clear they are offering no opinions at this point," says Ross Tierney, a collectible space model kit designer from Florida who presented the alternative plan.

Keith's note: Dear DIRECT Fanboys: NASA has not selected a specific design to replace Ares V. It most certainly has not decided to build DIRECT or any variant thereof. According to how NASA sources tell me the process will unfold, if/when NASA decides to go ahead and procure a replacement for Ares V or any other heavy lift launch system, it will do so via standard commercial procurement process - just like it is going to be doing for LEO access. Newsflash: the shift is going to be away from government-mandated designs (i.e. DIRECT) toward launch solutions to be provided by the private sector. The fact that a toy rocket model company owner was asked to come to NASA HQ and talk about a rocket design - one whose actual "designers" can never be named - was simply a courtesy - a curious one at that - not a statement of support.

After all this time, I have to wonder why no one except these people are ever associated - by name - with this concept. I cannot fathom that NASA would make any rational decision about launch vehicles based on anonymous designers - especially when the "team" is led by a foreign national who runs a toy rocket model company and uses a blurry image of Werner von Braun on a website instead of showing his face.

Imagine the inevitable congressional hearing: Charlie Bolden tells Congress that NASA is going to throw away $8 billion worth of rocket design done by professional rocket designers and adopt a design whose team is mostly anonymous and is lead publicly by foreign national model rocket designer?

As Augustine Commission member Leroy Chiao once asked "Who are you guys?"

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on January 30, 2010 7:52 PM.

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