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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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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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