SLS and Orion: November 2009 Archives

One-Off Rockets

Time Magazine Falls for Rocket Launch Hoax - Names Ares "Invention of the Year" Based on Launch of Dummy Vehicle, Space Frontier Foundation

"While many reporters know that Ares 1 is far behind schedule and likely to be canceled as an unnecessary and expensive distraction from real exploration missions, apparently Time magazine fell for this publicity hoax. There was no boy in the balloon and there most definitely was no Ares rocket launched in Florida last month," said the Foundation's Rick Tumlinson. "If anyone at Time had bothered to go beyond the NASA and contractor flacks, they would have found out what most people in the space community already knew. This was a marketing ploy designed to save a program threatened with imminent cancellation."

Congress Falls For Time Magazine's Ares Award Too, earlier post
Time Magazine's Best Invention of the Year, earlier post

Chairman Gordon and Subcommittee Chairwoman Giffords Congratulate NASA on Receiving TIME Magazine's Best Invention of the Year Award for Its Ares Rockets

"House Committee on Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) and Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairwoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) congratulated National Administration of Space and Aeronautics (NASA) on making TIME's List of 50 Best Inventions of 2009. NASA's Ares rockets placed number one among the best inventions of the year. The Ares rockets placed before several remarkable inventions - the Smart Thermostat (#4), the AIDS vaccine (#8), and Tweeting by Thinking (#9), among others."

Time Magazine's Best Invention of the Year, earlier post

NASA studies Ares rocket alternativesm Orlando Sentinel

"Among the options they are looking at: a rocket made of the space shuttle's external fuel tank, engines and solid-rocket boosters that has been championed by freelance engineers and hobbyists, and a successor to the Saturn V that once carried astronauts to the moon. The study, ordered last month by NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden as a "top priority," is supposed to be finished by Thanksgiving so Bolden can present it to President Barack Obama to help him chart a new course for America's space policy."

The Ares I Rocket, Time

"TIME's best invention of the year may send Americans back to the Moon and put the first human on Mars."

Keith's note: Ares 1? There is no Ares 1. What is somewhat comical is that Time seems to think that the rocket that was launched is actually an Ares 1. It is not. Ares 1 only exists on paper and won't exist in reality for years. I guess Time magazine got carried away with all the noise and hype.

What was launched is an Ares 1-X - a one-off test article that differs in substantial ways from the real, production line, Ares 1. Ares 1-X is (was) a rocket cobbled together from pieces of old shuttle hardware, a borrowed avionics system that will not be used on the actual Ares 1, and dummy upper stages - none of which will ever fly again. Indeed, its first - and only - flight resulted in an unexpected upper stage trajectory, a parachute system malfunction, and heavy damage to its launch pad.

Moreover, the Ares 1, as currently designed, would not perform properly due to vibroacoustic and performance issues that have yet to be resolved. Indeed, its prime payload, the Orion space capsule, has had to be shrunk - twice - in both size and crew capacity - because the Ares 1 is incapable of lifting it into space as it was originally designed.

Is a "best invention" something that has yet to even be built, much less fly, one that is years behind schedule and grossly over budget, underpowered such that it cannot do what it was designed to do, with only one partial mockup in existence, half of which is on the bottom of the sea? I don't know - you tell me. Sounds a little counterintuitive.

Why We Need Better Rockets, Buzz Aldrin, Huffington Post

"Well, it looked spectacular. I'm referring to NASA's recent launch of the Ares 1-X, billed as the prototype of the Ares 1 as a crew launch vehicle, a fancy term for a manned space booster. The rocket is said to have performed as planned, and ushered in the era of the Ares rockets to replace the Space Shuttle next year. Only it won't. In fact, the much-hyped Ares 1-X was much ado about nothing. ... So, why you might ask, if the whole machine was a bit of slight-of-hand rocketry did NASA bother to spend almost half a billion dollars (that's billion with a "b") in developing and launching the Ares 1-X? The answer: politics."

Ares 1-Y is Toast

Pull the plug on Ares, editorial, Orlando Sentinel

"But even if the station gets a five-year extension, as it should, Ares I would be available to fly there for just three years under the best-case scenario envisioned by the Augustine committee. NASA has projected that developing Ares I and a crew capsule to accompany it will cost $35 billion, but the Government Accountability Office came up with an estimate of $49 billion. The Augustine committee predicted that the entire Constellation program, which includes Ares I, Ares V, the Orion capsule and the Altair lunar lander, will run $45 billion over budget."

NASA Blog: Constellation: Managers reevaluating Ares I-Y flight test

"Constellation program managers agreed to reevaluate the proposed Ares I-Y flight test during an Oct. 30 Control Board and plan to take the decision up the ladder to management at NASA Headquarters soon. The decision could result in the removal of the Ares I-Y flight from the manifest in order to better align test flights with evolving program objectives."

Keith's 29 October note: Given that the Constellation Program's Control Board decided last Friday to recommend canceling Ares 1-Y, reality seems to be descending upon the Ares 1 effort - despite the spin Jeff Hanley is trying to put on it.

NASA Drops Ares I-Y Flight-test, Aviation Week

"Hanley said on Nov. 3 he has recommended to NASA headquarters that the Ares I-Y test planned for March 2014 be canceled because the J-2X engine needed to propel the upper stage won't be ready in time to support that test date. The problem is money, he said. "Because of the cost-constrained environment that we've been in, I just cannot get an engine to that vehicle soon enough," Hanley said."

Predictable Statements

NASA's future - commercial, Constellation or Russia?, Orlando Sentinel

"There are a few people in the administration who want to kill Ares I and put all the money in commercial and the [Augustine] report tends to endorse that type of scenario. I think that is absolutely wrong," said Doc Horowitz, former astronaut and Constellation architect."

Senator Discusses NASA's Future With Obama, WFTV.com

"U.S. Senator Bill Nelson told Eyewitness News Monday morning that he met recently with President Barack Obama about NASA's future and believes the President will make a decision soon. Nelson says it would take an additional $27 billion over the next decade to replace the shuttle after 2011, continue flights to the International Space Station, and to take care of NASA's workers."


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

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