SLS and Orion: August 2009 Archives

Keith's note: This is from a NASA Watch reader - and is a partial (unofficial) transcript of what NASA Administrator Bolden said at the Stennis All Hands meeting with regard to Ares. This was the last question asked:

"QUESTION: Ares 1-X is stacked and it's ready to go. Are we going to launch it?

BOLDEN: That's a good question - and that is a question that I know everyone is muddling over. How do we explain something that was not an option offered by the Augustine Committee. We have that vehicle and the opportunity to launch it and gain data and information from it that may be helpful to future programs ... I don't know the answer today - I wish I could tell you that I knew the answer - I don't."

Keith's original 21 August note: Word has it that during a Q&A with MAF employees yesterday Charlie Bolden openly questioned whether it made sense to go ahead with the Ares 1-X launch. His rationale? The Augustine Committee is not going to recommend to the Obama Administration that it continue to proceed with "the program of record" i.e. ESAS/VSE. In other words, if there won't be an Ares 1, then why launch Ares 1-X. You've got to gve Bolden credit - he's talking logically.

Given that the hardware is in place, and the money has more or less been spent, it would seem to be a total waste to not finish things up and then fly the mission. Stay tuned.

Keith's update: Despite multiple reports I received from people who should be in a position to know, Bolden did not make any mention of Ares. According to NASA PAO, in response to my request for clarification last Friday, a review of a transcript of Bolden's remarks at MAF reveals that "there's no mention of Ares I-X whatsoever."

Life After Ares-1

Future Marshall Space Flight Center work may be its past engines, Huntsville Times

"If Marshall Space Flight Center work is slashed on Ares I, then center employees could be put to work on Marshall's "bread and butter" efforts -- propulsion. The White House-appointed Augustine Commission last week continued its discussions regarding NASA's future, and much of the talk centered on stopping work on the Ares I rocket - after almost five years and $3 billion. space shuttle's large external tank and solid rocket boosters, transition to work on the larger Ares V heavy-lift vehicle, or developing a new 21st century large rocket like the Apollo-era Saturn V."

Ares 1-X is Good to Go

NASA Completes Assembly of Ares I-X Test Rocket

"For the first time in more than a quarter-century a new space vehicle stands ready in NASA's Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly Building. The Ares I-X rocket, its simulated crew module and launch abort system are assembled on a mobile launch platform at Kennedy in preparation for launch this fall."

Griffith Continues to Press Administration on Ares Program - Congressman stands firm on commitment to Constellation (includes Letter to President Obama)

"In September 2008, Ares I completed a key milestone with its Preliminary Design Review (PDR). PDR is the final step of the initial design process, and thereby a crucial milestone, during which the overall project verifies that the preliminary design can meet all requirements within acceptable risk limits and within cost and schedule constraints, and identifies technical and management challenges and addresses approaches for eliminating or mitigating them. Current plans call for Ares I to progress to the point of obtaining Agency approval by early 2010 to proceed to Critical Design Review."

Ares PDR Was Not As Smooth As NASA Says It Was, earlier post

"Too many people involved in the planning phase, meetings were too large"; "The integrated vechicle review did not present the element design issues (RIDs) so it was difficult to know if the parts added up to a rocket that will fly"; "The review occurred to close to the element PDRs, This did not allow for some of the element level rids to addressed or predeclared in documents"; "Much of the documentation presented for PDR was not mature enough for PDR. This limited an effective of these documents and left the impression that the PDR was rushed."; "The RID screening rules and procedures seemed to change from day to day, like we were making it up as we went along."; "Insufficient time was allotted to review the documents."; "Not allowing RIDs to be written against the SRD and declaring it a finished document prior to the PDR was just arrogant and wrong. This was further evidenced and confused by the introduction of two version of the SRD, showing that it was in fact being changed behind the scenes."

Keith's note: I wonder if Rep. Griffith's staff had any "help" from MSFC in the writing of this letter...

Constellation Update

NASA Internal memo: 8/1 Cx Update - Around the Program

"Regarding the Augustine panel's work, the program had opportunities during the panels visits to Houston, Huntsville, and Cocoa Beach to showcase just some of the substance of this program, the product of your labor of the last four years. We hope we did it justice given the time available. I want to thank all who contributed to the material that was presented, and to the presenters in all three locations. I feel we accomplished what we set out to accomplish - which was simply to make certain any options and recommendations from the panel are taken with as full an appreciation of the progress to date as possible.

Lastly, I would like to share the text of my closing remarks to the panel, as I believe it frames the primary choices that lay before our stakeholders, for whom we will execute whatever forward plan emerges..."



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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the SLS and Orion category from August 2009.

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