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NASA Constellation - No Success

Posted by: Klaus Schmidt - Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:14 pm
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NASA Constellation - No Success 
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Post NASA Constellation - No Success   Posted on: Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:14 pm
In my opinion NASA's Constellation program (Orion, Ares I, Ares V) will basically fail.

Orion may be realised but I'm already sceptical about the Ares I launcher. It's expensive, it faces a lot of problems (e.g. steering the stick), and there are already launchers available with a similar payload.
The Delta 4 Heavy already exists (don't miss the next launch in April) and even the Atlas 5 Heavy is designed, only not yet built.

Especially the Atlas 5 family could get quite a boost with the usage as a crew launcher for the Bigelow space stations.

But as NASA won't have any crew launcher after 2010, it is possible that they push the Ares I rocket against all logical means. If the COTS program succeeds, they will also face a strong public resistance ("Why pay billions, when private companies do the same for a few millions?").

Something that never will be developed in my opinion is the Ares V heavy-lift launcher. While making sense to develop that rocket (and abandon the Ares I), the money that the Orion and especially the Ares I programs will cost and the potential failure these programs will experience, the Ares V is already dead.

Just look at the delays that are already fact.

What do you think?


edit: typo

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Last edited by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:43 pm
Hello, Klaus,

If ´the COTS program succeeds then SpaceX may be preferred to RpK or can be sure to get contracts again and again. In that case there are significant chances that Elon Musk gets partner-investors enabling him a reusable pendant to the Ares V - which would mean that it would be nonsense to develop Ares V: The reusable pendant could be used to launch the lunar lander and the other "cargo"...



What about it?



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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 15, 2007 4:55 pm
If COTS succeeds then I think that it would be impossible for NASA to continue with the Block 1 (used only for ISS crew transport) variant of Orion and that they will switch all attention to the lunar variant.

I think Orion will get built in one form or another, the alternative will be that NASA will have to admit that that it can no longer build manned space craft (something that is highly unlikely to happen). After all if they cant even essentially copy/update what they have already done with Apollo then what chance that they can come up with anything new?

As for Aries 1, I think that if they continue to have problems both technically and financially, NASA may well drop it in favour of a Heavy EELV variant or even Falcon IX as this is likely to save money/reduce the gap between the shuttle's retirement and Orion's first flight. Although at the moment I would not be surprised to see that the Shuttle goes on a little longer than 2010 if they cant get the planned launches in in time (Even if Mike Griffen is still saying at the moment that is not an option).

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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 15, 2007 8:24 pm
Andy Hill wrote:
If COTS succeeds then I think that it would be impossible for NASA to continue with the Block 1 (used only for ISS crew transport) variant of Orion and that they will switch all attention to the lunar variant...

...I would not be surprised to see that the Shuttle goes on a little longer than 2010 if they cant get the planned launches in in time


I consider both of these events to be highly probable.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:18 pm
Here's an article that makes basically the same point about extending the shuttle's retirement deadline:

http://www.flatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/a ... 04/opinion

Obviously since the article originates from Florida Today they are likely to be pretty pro-shuttle (jobs, money spent in state etc) but it makes sense to fly after the deadline to complete the station when so much money has already been invested in the ISS.

I think as it becomes increasingly obvious that not enough flights will take place before the deadline more and more pressure will build up to fly the shuttle longer. Also as time goes on the previous shuttle accidents will seem less likely to repeat themselves and people will see it as being a safer vehicle than before. The truth of the matter is of course that its still like playing Russian Roullette and at some point, god forbid, NASA will loose another crew. Lets just prey that the loaded chamber does not come round before the shuttle is retired.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Mar 16, 2007 11:01 pm
I don't think that extending shuttle flights significantly beyond 2010 is possible. 1/2-1 year should be possible especially if flights are delayed. But pulling more out of the shuttle fleet wouldn't be possible. The manufacturing of several parts is already stopped (e.g. SSME). Restarting is pratically impossible because it would be far too expensive.

I guess the only thing would be a new Space Race with China that the development would be speeded up and pushed through like Apollo. But I don't think China will leave its way of slow but steady progress.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:38 am
I think that an extra year of the shuttle operating should see the ISS completed. But I think that some people might be reluctant to retire it if Orion/Aries slips a couple of more years.

Whether this is actually feasible is another question, wont the shuttles be due a major recertification by then?

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Post    Posted on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 3:51 pm
Stick (Ares-1) isn't going to work !?
collectSPACE thread on John Young's remarks


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Post    Posted on: Fri May 04, 2007 10:35 pm
He's not an LV designer. He just misses the Shuttle.


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