CEV Booster Faulty?... Aug 14, 2006 0:07:49 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Aug 14, 2006 0:07:49 GMT -6
Scrap The Stick Now
Honolulu HI (SPX) Aug 11, 2006
There seems to be general agreement that the Vision for Space Exploration is in deep trouble. Recently both the staid number-crunchers at Government Accountability Office (GAO)and the wild-eyed libertarians at the Space Frontier Foundation have issued reports questioning the viability of the program.
The GAO analysis is concerned with management and contracting issues, and the SFF screed merely demands bigger government subsidies for the alt.space industry. My report will concentrate on what is really killing the program: the Ares I booster, formerly the Crew Launch Vehicle and vulgarly known as The Stick.
The Stick began as a back-of-the-envelope design by some NASA astronautsSpace ShuttleShuttle killed another crew.. They needed a design which could be quickly designed and put into service before the who were angry about the Columbia crash and frankly terrified at the prospect of continuing to fly on the fundamentally defective
This implied that the new booster should use existing Shuttle components to avoid a long development and qualification program. The Shuttle-derived concept also was essential to gain political support from the existing Shuttle contractors and their representatives in Congress. Given these constraints, it was inevitable that The Stick would end up as a single SSME stuck on top of a single SRB.
It is important to remember that this design predates the VSE and was not intended for Moon or Mars missions. At this time it was assumed that NASA would continue to be focused on ISS for the foreseeable future. The Stick was only intended to replace the Shuttle for ISS crew exchange missions.
For a long while The Stick had only an unofficial existence on the fringes of the space community. The first study was actually done by the Planetary Society, an organization advocating unmanned missions which has never before taken any interest in the troubles of the manned program.
But when the shadowy authors of the VSE plan placed a hard limit of 2010 on Shuttle operations and 2016 on US participation in the ISS, The Stick suddenly became the only lifeline for the standing army of contractor employees and civil servants employed in the STS program. The SRB contractor ATK staged the most extensive publicity campaign in the history of the US aerospace industry, promoting The Stick with giant centerfold ads that proclaimed it as "Safe, Simple, and Soon".
Then a major advocate of The Stick was appointed NASA Administrator. Mike Griffin insured that it became a major element of the return-to-the-Moon program - not only as an ISS ferry rocket, but as an element of the "1.5-launch" lunar landing plan.
More here: www.spacedaily.com/reports/Scrap_The_Stick_Now_999.html