The Ares is Dead! Long Live the Ares!

The Space Frontier Foundation had an Irish wake for the NASA’s Ares rocket program last night. This poster explains their antipathy toward the program.

In reality, the Ares I rocket is dead, although ATK is trying to resurrect it as a commercial rocket using an Ariane 5 upper stage. The Ares V (the larger rocket in the photo) should have been listed as a survivor; it has morphed into the Congressional-mandated Space Launch System.

ATK/Astrium Propose Ares 1-Ariane 5 Hybrid Booster for CCDev 2


A new commercial rocket proposal based on the Ares 1 first stage and the Ariane 5 core. It’s like Frankenstein meets….rocket Frankenstein! Looks like it will definitely fly. But, is it affordable?


ATK and Astrium (an EADS Company) are working together in response to NASA’s Commercial Crew Development-2 (CCDev-2) procurement.  The team is offering NASA launch services with the Libertyâ„¢ rocket.  This new launch vehicle combines two of the world’s most reliable propulsion systems, with a collective heritage of nearly 150 successful flights.


NASA Proposes Spawn of Shuttle HLV

Jupiter Direct Launcher Variants

It looks as if Congress may well get its shuttle- and Ares-derived heavy-lift vehicle after all — although it will cost more and take longer to build than anticipated. Space News reports:

NASA told U.S. lawmakers Jan. 10 it intends to build a heavy-lift rocket that incorporates the space shuttle’s main engines, giant external tank and taller versions of the solid-rocket boosters it jettisons on the way to orbit, according to a senior NASA official. However, neither the rocket nor the crew vehicle it would launch could be completed within the cost and schedule Congress outlined for the project late last year….


ATK: Ares Solid Rocket Motor Ready for Flight Testing


Data from the second successful five segment Development Motor (DM-2) test conducted by ATK and NASA show that the new motor performed precisely as designed, providing substantially higher performance and reliability than the heritage space shuttle solid rocket booster at a lower cost.

“These extensive test results confirm the ATK five segment Solid Rocket Motor (SRM) is ready for flight testing,” said Charlie Precourt, vice president and general manager of Space Launch Systems, ATK Aerospace Systems.  “The five-segment first stage design was based on more than 30 years of safety-driven improvements on the shuttle program. The result is a higher performing, more reliable solid rocket motor, which equates to increased safety for crew and mission success for cargo.”


Aerojet Continues Work on Orion Jettison Motor

NASA's Orion spacecraft


Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, announced today that it successfully conducted a static firing of the third nozzle risk reduction motor in support of the Orion jettison motor, a critical component of the launch abort system (LAS) for NASA’s Orion crew exploration vehicle. This successful test firing validates several nozzle design changes implemented to enhance the safety and reliability of the jettison motor.


Tumlinson: Drug-Crazed Congressional Puppets Feeding Carnivorous Constellation Monster

Ares I-X lifts off from the Cape.

NASA’s Constellation Hallucination and the Congressional Money Drug
by Rick Tumlinson
The Huffington Post

In the coming weeks some in Congress will try to kill America’s future in space as they desperately work to prop up the tax sucking, pork eating dreamslaying monster known as the Constellation rocket program. Right now a bought and paid for cabal of hypocritical puppets in the House and Senate are trying to prop up this corpse of a dead end plan to go to the Moon and Mars that not only failed to deliver on President Bush’s promise of a permanent U.S. presence in space, but continues to eat the budgets of the very exploration it was meant to support.


Griffin and Pace Criticize Obama’s Plan for NASA, Support House Bill

Space shuttle Atlantis lands on runway 33 at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility concluding the STS-129 mission. Photo credit: NASA Jack Pfaller

The Space Transportation Association conducted a panel discussion yesterday during which some quite divergent views were expressed over the future of NASA and the Obama Administration’s commercial focus.


Video: ATK Tests Five Segment Ares Motor


Alliant Techsystems and NASA conducted a successful ground test earlier today of the second Ares five-segment Development Motor (DM-2).  The successful test is an important milestone in the development of America’s next generation of launch vehicles.

Initial test data indicated that the motor, which was chilled to a 400 F core temperature since early July, performed as designed, producing approximately 3.6 million pounds of thrust, or 22 million horsepower, and burned for just over two minutes.  The test collected 764 channels of data to accomplish 53 test objectives.  This is the most data ATK has ever collected in a static fire test.


Space Review Looks at the Future of Ares 1

In The Space Review this week…

DM-2 and the future of SRBs
This week NASA and ATK are scheduled to perform the second test-firing of a five-segment solid rocket motor originally developed for the Ares 1. Jeff Foust describes the planning for the test and its significance given the uncertain future of NASA’s human spaceflight plans.

Dancing in the dark: The orbital rendezvous of SJ-12 and SJ-06F
Earlier this month two Chinese satellites made a close approach to, and perhaps even made contact with, each other. Brian Weeden examines the facts about this event and its implications for space security.

Review: Eyes in the Sky
This month marked the 50th anniversary of the first successful CORONA reconnaissance satellite mission. Dwayne Day reviews a recent book that examines the early history of CORONA and related efforts to track what was going on in the Soviet Union.

White House Weighs Heavy-Lift Alternatives

constellation takes a look at the various heavy-lift options being considered by the White House in wake of the Augustine Committee’s report:

2010 will mark a number of key decisions for NASA, not least the potential switch from the current Ares I/V architecture to an alternative mix of commerical crew launch – accompanied by a new heavy lift workhorse. A decision is expected to be announced early in the new year by President Obama, although at least three heavy lift vehicles – including a huge 200mt vehicle – were still being classed as options ahead of the Christmas break….


Space Frontier Foundation: Ares Must Die! Just Like We Told You So!

ares-1x-assembledAres Needs a Death Panel: Government Must Buy All Rides to Space Commercially
Space Frontier Foundation Press Release

In the wake of the Augustine Commission’s declaration that the troubled Ares rocket program is unaffordable under any realistic budget projections, the Space Frontier Foundation renewed its call to immediately cancel the costly dead-end project and replace it with multiple commercial vehicles.

“Three years ago we published Unaffordable and Unsustainable, declaring that government must henceforth ‘buy all crew and cargo services with a destination of low Earth orbit [from] commercial providers using privately-owned and operated spaceships’,” said Foundation co-Founder Bob Werb.


NASA Completes Ares I-X Assembly



For the first time in more than a quarter-century, a new space vehicle stands ready in NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building in Florida. The final segments of the Ares I-X rocket, including the simulated crew module and launch abort system, were stacked on Aug. 13 on a mobile launcher platform, completing the 327-foot launch vehicle and providing the first entire look of Ares I-X’s distinctive shape. The Ares I-X flight test is targeted for Oct. 31.