SLS and Orion: December 2009 Archives

First flights of NASA's Ares rocket: less safe than space shuttle?, Orlando Sentinel

"In an e-mail to the Orlando Sentinel, Jeff Hanley, manager of the Constellation Program that includes Ares I and Orion, said that in the four years since the ESAS was first conducted, there have been advances in engineering risk assessments and that supercomputer analyses say that the ultimate risk of losing a crew aboard Ares I would be just 1-in-2,800. But he acknowledged that even with better risk-assessment techniques and designs, a new rocket poses considerable risk. "What at least some of our work suggests is that, yes, on the second launch the LOC [loss of crew] risk may be roughly on par with today's mature shuttle risk. Other assessments are less rosy (a little riskier than a shuttle launch), so we are working right now to sort out a 'best estimate,'' he wrote."

NASAWatch: NASA withheld safety data from Augustine panel, Orlando Sentinel

"NASAWatch.com,a respected watchdog website,reported on Tuesday night that NASA allegedly withheldinformation from a White House panel that showedthe Ares I rocket did not meet the agency's own safety goals."

Congressional testimony about early Ares flight risks incorrect, Orlando Sentinel

"Fragola said that the passage quoted by the Sentinel storyfrom the Exploration Systems Architecture Study concluding that it would take at least seven flights (two test flights and five mission flights) before the Ares I and Orion crew capsule could to be deemed to be as safe as the shuttle referred to a more powerful configuration of Ares-Orion that used a liquid oxygen-methane engine and not the simpler lower performance configuration being designed today. He said he knew this because he wrote the section of the ESAS that the Sentinel was referring to. Indeed, the report does say a few pages before the passage quoted by the Sentinel that a LOX-methane engine is riskier than the original simpler design for Ares-Orion, however, Fragola either misremembered the report or was not entirelyhonest with Congress when he dismissed our reporting."

Keith's note: With regard to Jeff Hanley's current comments, this is not the first time that Hanley's organization has had problems presenting (or admitting) a consistent view of what Ares 1's safety was relative to Shuttle and other launch systems. Indeed, you only have to look at Joseph Fragola's presentation to the Augustine Committee to see what Constellation knew Vs what it said. Specifically, there was a briefing chart that was withheld from the Augustine Committee - see below for that chart.


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

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