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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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who is NASA defending against?
By wauteep on 7/31/2009 12:34:49 AM , Rating: 2
Not to sound like an idiot but who is criticizing the new rocket system? I'm pretty sure there are smart engineers working to design the new NASA systems, wouldn't they know what they're doing and whether something is even safe enough to try on astronauts?

RE: who is NASA defending against?
By CBRbrutha on 7/31/2009 7:39:11 AM , Rating: 1
ask the Challenger crew

By MrBlastman on 7/31/2009 12:43:46 PM , Rating: 2
Oh that's not fair. All spaceflight has a degree of risk and the astronauts on it knew that. All of them do.

It is infeasible and impossible to imagine a space program that would have any way of being successful if they were bent on being 100% risk free, all the time. The only way to push the envelope is to take risks from time to time, albeit educated risks, they still have to be taken.

RE: who is NASA defending against?
By boogle on 8/1/2009 4:29:01 AM , Rating: 3
Ask everyone who died in a car accident. If we can't get road travel 100% safe - how is space travel meant to be 100% safe? I'm amazed we don't have rockets blowing up all over the place, or rockets ending up completely off course.

RE: who is NASA defending against?
By abraxas1 on 7/31/2009 8:11:32 AM , Rating: 3
It's being questioned by other smart engineers,

RE: who is NASA defending against?
By TMV192 on 7/31/2009 9:41:13 AM , Rating: 2
the second Augustine Commission
the first one put Human spaceflight last on a list of 5 objectives for NASA (1990)

RE: who is NASA defending against?
By Major HooHaa on 7/31/2009 7:58:39 PM , Rating: 2
I think that it is sad that the reusable shuttle comes to the end of its life and we haven't got around to engineering a replacement. First, the loss of the ability to go to the moon, then the loss of a reusable launch vehicle. Another step backwards for mankind.

Does anyone know if it would be possible to carry out something like the Hubble repair missions using a rocket?

Also if there are any problems with building a new rocket (energy waves?) then go and ask the people who did it with 60's technology.

With the recent 40th anniversary, it surprised me that the astronaut’s moon lander had just over 64 KB's of RAM in their onboard computer and that they had to complex math on the fly, on paper. Now that's impressive, considering that Windows Vista on a desktop P.C. requires a good 2,097,152 KB's of RAM (or 2 Gigabytes) to run efficiently.

On the flipside though, we have an opportunity here. We could have an international space programme where the Space Station, going to the Moon and Mars could be just the beginning. I also think that what the Hubble Space Telescope has showed us about the universe is quite mind blowing! More of the same please NASA.

By stromgald30 on 7/31/2009 8:20:17 PM , Rating: 2
Large payloads like a space telescope or large space telescope repair components will be launched on an EELV or Ares V.

The Ares I can only carry a small payload and crew. The crew would then rendezvous with the parts/payload and perform repairs outside the vehicle. They won't be able to bring it into a contained bay like in the Shuttle, but I don't think that's a major loss.

A more significant loss I think is not being able to bring cargo down easily. The shuttle was designed to bring something like Hubble back down for repairs. That won't be possible with the new Constellation system.

Then again, bringing anything big down with the shuttle has never been tried due to worries about extra entry mass.

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