Aerospace Corporation to Assess DIRECT Alternative to Ares

NASA's Ares I rocket lifts off in this artist's conception. (Credit: NASA)
NASA's Ares I rocket lifts off in this artist's conception. (Credit: NASA)

Alternative moon rockets to over-budget Constellation gaining traction
Orlando Sentinel

They have deemed some of these projects worthy of further study, including ideas written off by NASA engineers a few years ago as being underpowered, unsafe and unimaginative. One of them is being promoted by the head of NASA’s shuttle program. Another is the product of a group of freelance engineers — some of them NASA employees working on their own time — and rocket hobbyists calling themselves the Direct team.

Last week, the committee said it wants Aerospace Corp., an independent-research group, to analyze Direct’s Jupiter rocket, which would use the shuttle’s giant external fuel tank and two solid rocket boosters to launch a capsule instead of an orbiter.

“This should show our detractors that we can’t be dismissed as a bunch of people in tinfoil hats,” said Stephen Metschan, who leads Direct.

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