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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: Magnetic launch pad?
By guacamojo on 7/31/2009 10:52:15 AM , Rating: 3
Subatomic particles don't care about acceleration, either.

Suppose we took your suggestion and had a crewed (or even unmanned) vehicle, going around a 10 km diameter ring (like the LHC) at 7,800 m/s (orbital velocity). The vehicle would experience a radial acceleration of 1,241 G. And that's even neglecting the extra delta-V you'd need because of atmospheric drag.

To limit vehicle acceleration to a human-friendly 3g's, you'd need a circular track 4,136 km in diameter. That's almost 13,000 km of accelerator track (length), or 17% of the Interstate Highway System. Linear would be better; it'd only need to be 1,034 km long. Heck, you could fit it into Texas with a couple hundred km to spare!

With a launch velocity that high (mach 23), you'd have higher-than-reentry atmospheric heating effects, plus enormous shock waves at the point of departure from the accelerator (you were planning to accelerate the vehicle in a vacuum, right?)

I'll take the rocket. It sounds safer and less expensive.


RE: Magnetic launch pad?
By cludinsk on 7/31/2009 11:04:55 AM , Rating: 2
i remember the discussions in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress about locating one of these on a mountain near the equator (and it was cargo only).


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