Interview with Ross Tierney of DIRECT

Next Big Future has an interview with Ross Tierney, who heads up a group that is promoting its DIRECT launcher as an alternative to NASA’s Constellation architecture. An excerpt:

Question: If the Jupiter rocket scheme is accepted and properly funded, how will it affect space exploration during the next decade?

Answer: I see a major revolution in the space exploration industry. We could begin to explore the solar system in a serious manner. We will be able to launch massive payloads into orbit. Missions to the moon and near-earth objects will become feasible. We will also be able to lay the groundwork for missions to Phobos and Mars. It might take 20-30 years, but it will happen. This marks a radical change from the Shuttle era, when we were limited to taking extremely expensive trips to low-earth orbit. This truly represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to jump-start a new ear of exploration and eventual colonization of our solar system.

Read the full interview.

The Space Show This Week

The lineup for this week’s Space Show includes: Bob Werb, Ross Tierney, Robert Talmage, and Ram Jakhu. Full details on their backgrounds after the break.


Dissident Engineers Push Alternative to Ares Lunar Architecture

NASA & Its Discontents: Frustrated Engineers Battle with NASA over the Future of Spaceflight
Popular Mechanics

[Ross] Tierney wondered whether the Ares I is really the best way to keep the U.S. in the spaceflight business. What if, instead of building a largely new rocket, NASA created a new configuration of proven space shuttle components and placed a crew capsule on top? Sitting on his living room couch, hunched over a laptop computer, he posted the question to the chat room. A dozen replies came back supporting the idea. “I was shocked,” Tierney recalls. “Here I was, just a nobody enthusiast asking a dumb question, and a bunch of NASA engineers are telling me I was absolutely right. They said they’d been pushing the same thing for years and that they’d been threatened with their jobs if they kept talking about it.”


Group Pitches Ares Alternative to Obama Transition Team

NASA Renegades Pitch Obama Team New Post-Shuttle Plan
Popular Mechanics

A group of renegade space vehicle designers, including NASA engineers bucking their bosses, today got their chance to make their case to the next presidential administration. During a morning meeting at NASA headquarters in Washington D.C. with Obama administration transition team members, a handful of advocates today pitched an idea to scrap NASA’s existing post-shuttle plan.

Instead, they want to create a different launch vehicle from space shuttle parts that could reach the International Space Station and, eventually, be used for a return to the moon. According to the current plan, NASA’s launchers are slated to fly in 2015, five years after the shuttle is retired. The alternative plan, called Jupiter Direct, promises to trim that date by two years and tens of millions of dollars.