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Program is not too risky or too expensive says NASA

The current NASA shuttle fleet is set to retire by the end of 2010 and will be replaced no sooner than 2015 by a new system.

NASA is currently in the design and testing phase on the replacement to the shuttle fleet. NASA is planning on a return to rocket power similar to the method used to get the Apollo 11 astronauts into space for their moon landing. The new space flight program is called constellation and NASA is defending the program asserting that it is not too expensive or too risky.

A committee appointed by President Obama and engineers working on the Constellation program at NASA has had to defend its work to the committee reports MSNBC. Head NASA researchers have spent four years designing the Ares rocket that will replace the shuttle fleet and maintain that the program is the safest and fastest way to get America back into space.

Steve Cook, head of the Ares project said, "We have done what we said we would do, and we are well on the way to our first test flight."

MSNBC reports that other managers on the Ares program told members of the committee that they were working through technical issues with the rocket system. One fear is that powerful energy waves created during launch would injure astronauts or make it impossible for them to perform basic duties. The chance of this happening is admittedly slim according to the managers.

Broad options will reportedly be offered to Obama from continuing to use the shuttle fleet to moving forward with the Constellation program unchanged. The final report from the committee will be presented on August 31. NASA plans to test a version of the Ares I rocket by October 31.



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RE: Energy wave?
By Ranari on 7/30/2009 4:10:39 PM , Rating: 5
Honestly? Who knows.

I'd wager those "dangerous energy waves" are people's fear of rockets. Since the shuttle's debut 20 something odd years ago, we've been calling it the "shuttle", and not the "rocket". Now that we're talking about rockets again, it's like people are suddenly terrified that the rockets might explode, or those 3-4G of force astronauts experience during take-off might get them injured.

But it's like, "Hey man, you know what gets the Shuttle into orbit? It's called, get this, A ROCKET! Ho-lee shit!"


RE: Energy wave?
By TheEinstein on 7/30/2009 6:53:56 PM , Rating: 2
Well there is a type of thrust started with the V2 (or waas it the V1?) rocket from WWII Germany.

It's called a pulse based firing. Instead of a sustained rocket thrust there is the kind which literally turns on and off in very rapid pulses.

This can however in many frames create a serious vibrational issue. I suppose if it reached the right harmonics it could cause damage and/or harm. Anything falls apart to the right frequency after all.

And I do know this has been a big thing recently, with more promise than traditional continuous thrust methods.

Research has been indicating that these systems can self regulate thrust and keep it from consuming to much or to little fuel at times. It also allows for different fuels to be explored.


RE: Energy wave?
By Gholam on 7/31/2009 2:47:30 AM , Rating: 2
You're talking about a pulsejet engine:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulsejet

Obviously not in any way useful for spaceflight, as it cannot function without atmospheric air.


RE: Energy wave?
By pgwulfing on 7/31/2009 11:42:06 AM , Rating: 2
This may be the type of enigne used. NASA put a lot of effort and money into development of the SCRAMJET. It can be used to boost the velocity while the ship is still in the atmosphere. Then, conventional rockets take over.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scramjet


RE: Energy wave?
By Fritzr on 8/1/2009 6:02:16 AM , Rating: 2
SCRAMJet is a variant of the RAMJet. Most jet engines have a turbine air compressor on the intake end of the engine to create a high pressure air fuel mix for combustion.

RAMJets and their variants do away with the turbine components and use airspeed to 'ram' air into the intake throat where it is compressed by by constriction. The high pressure air fuel mix is then burned in the combustion chamber resulting in even higher pressures that exits through the rear end of the engine.

SCRAMJets are being considered as power plants for the atmospheric flight portion of a rocket launch. The rocket stage would seperate and head for space when the airbreathing engines reach their altitude limit.

A problem all members of the RAMJet family have in common is that they require a high airspeed to keep the intake pressurized. They can be started while stationary by putting a blower in front of the engine, but they require a continuous high speed airflow both to start and keep running.

However the Ares rocket IS a rocket carrying fuel and oxidizer. It will not be using an airbreathing engine for any part of it's flight.


RE: Energy wave?
By drycrust on 7/31/2009 2:37:15 PM , Rating: 2
The V1 and V2 where quite different, like comparing a jet fighter to a rocket.
The V1 was really the first cruise missile. It had wings just like a plane, used a pulsing jet engine, and flew through the air at around 450 mph. This was quite a high speed for that time and did push fighter planes to the limit of their speed. It was also quite dangerous shooting them down, but pilots found by accident that the auto pilot wasn't very good and it could be upset by just flying over the top of it. The British called it the Doodle bug and said that as long as you heard the engine you were safe because it would just keep flying. When the fuel ran out, the engine stopped, and it would fall from the sky and explode on impact.
Several other factors contributed to the demise of the V1, such as the need for a large, difficult to build, conspicuous ramp, that was easily seen on photo reconnaissance; the fact it could only fly in a straight line; and the fact the British improved their fighter / radar guided anti aircraft guns coordination to the point they achieved an near 100% kill rate.
The V2 was almost the first real ICBM rocket. I believe it actually either officially made it into space or was very close to it. It flew straight up, then the fuel ran out and the rocket fell to earth and hit the target. In addition, it needed a considerably smaller launch pad, just several square metres, than the V1, which was much harder to spot with photo reconnaissance. In addition, because most of the flight path being well outside of the flight envelope of any fighter of the time, and the fact the British didn't have any anti-missile technology (even radar guided flak was ineffective), it was essentially immune to being shot down after the first minute of flight.
There were several factors that worked against it though. Firstly was the fact that by the time it became operational the Allies had already landed in Normandy and thus the "in range" territory was shrinking (I didn't say "launch sites" because it just needed a small launch pad which was very easy to set up).
Next was the fact the Enigma code had been compromised and all the German spies in Britian were double agents, thus the British fed false "strike" information to the Germans, saying the rockets were landing outside of London (when they were actually hitting the middle), so the Germans corrected their aim so they'd hit the centre of London (when in fact the rockets then landed outside of London).
But even with these factors, the V2 was essentially immune to being shot down after the first minute of flight. So although it could be seen being launched on radar, there was little that could be done to stop it (except start the air raid sirens). In addition, it was essentially silent, so the populous just heard a loud explosion.
I think the last V2 launch (in anger) was in the last week of the war.

It doesn't make sense to get worried about an "energy wave" unless they are using some sort of ion rocket. Yes, you get an energy wave with a normal rocket too, but the effect of it is limited to the immediate launch site whereas an ion rocket may actually produce electromagnetic radiaton which (in the absence of shielding) could travel a long way.


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