Author Topic: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech  (Read 281657 times)

Offline Bill White

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #620 on: 04/22/2010 12:55 AM »
Interesting news from Senator Bill Nelson

http://billnelson.senate.gov/news/details.cfm?id=324027&

Quote
The Senate’s version of a spending plan for NASA, unveiled today, contains an extra $1 billion for testing and development of a so-called heavy lift vehicle.  The extra money would be used to build a rocket needed to move heavy objects into space where we could launch a ship to Mars.   
 
The added sum is about $726 million more than what the President has asked for in the NASA budget, which the White House unveiled in February.
 
If the extra money is approved, it would save hundreds of jobs at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in a program to continue testing of a version of a deep-space rocket.
 
“If we’re going to Mars, as the president has said, then let’s get going,” Nelson said today.  “We shouldn’t wait five years.”

A Senate version of a spending plan for NASA? Is this document available?

Jeff Foust has more including a video/audio link . . .

http://www.spacepolitics.com/2010/04/21/nelson-makes-a-move-for-heavy-lift/

= = =

Video / audio link is very interesting.

http://billnelson.senate.gov/audiofiles/NelsonBudget.wmv
« Last Edit: 04/22/2010 12:57 AM by Bill White »
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Offline rjholling

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #621 on: 04/22/2010 01:25 AM »
To play devil's advocate the 5 segment solid rocket booster is of little military value.  Minutemen and Trident I & II ICBMs use single segment solid motors.  Furthermore, why continue with tests of the Ares I that will never actually fly?  If we are going to keep testing it only makes sense that future tests be of a heavy lift vehicle.  That is where the true military benefit lies anyway, the ability to loft 100k+ lbs. into a polar orbit.
« Last Edit: 04/22/2010 01:27 AM by rjholling »

Offline zerm

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #622 on: 04/22/2010 01:43 AM »
Nelson's statements go back to some things I've said here many times that get shouted at and start the Ares I detracters to buzzing...

He said, in part: “You have allowed in this the flexibility of continuing the testing for that big solid rocket motor called the Ares 1-X, which will not only be important to the future of us getting out of low Earth orbit by building a heavy-lift vehicle for NASA, but is going to be critical to the solid rocket motors that protect this country’s national security.”

Now- please, if some can put aside their Ares I phobias for just a moment (we've all heard a bazillion times how evil the what a waste some of you think the vehicle is- that's not the point here. The point is how the political machine is working at this moment) here is what can be gleaned from Nelson's statement.

first- There are reasonings and discussions going on in the Congress, the focus of which are not public, and these will be large motivators going forward. Later Nelson says to the rest of the members in referance to the DOD and National Security aspect "Everyone here knows what I'm talking about" (paraphrase). In other words- every member of the committee has had a secure briefing.

second- Nelson's referance to the Ares I-X, although some may find puzzeling is not, nor is it an error if you place it into a context where he is speaking of the of I-X not in terms of last October's launch of a single vehicle, but rather as that configuration becoming a project to be used for testing large SRBs. Such a morph would politically provide cover for the sunk costs. (and anyone coming on here who wants to spout that sunk costs are a "myth" or "are easily ignored" has not beeen following the hearings going back as far as last August. The sunk costs of Constellation and Ares I keep coming up over and over again by the members- it IS a huge concern)

lastly- Nelson was probably quite disapointed with Obama at KSC (IMO). Nelson went out in public in front of the people of Central Florida and said (prior to the Obama visit) that he'd talked to the president and Obama was going to make big changes to his proposed budget. He then added "If he doesn't, we (the Congress) will." Obama didn't- now they will.

Folks- I'm tryin' to pick a fight here by using the term Ares I without the word "dead" being involved. And I will not be arguing my points above. Frankly, I've been following this all quite closely and if I'm right or not will be proven in the months ahead. I'd advise, however, if you want to know what is to come, put aside your disdain for CxP, Ares, Griffin and anything else and simply watch and listen to the Congress- it is all there.

Offline Jeff Bingham

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #623 on: 04/22/2010 01:53 AM »
Interesting news from Senator Bill Nelson

http://billnelson.senate.gov/news/details.cfm?id=324027&

Quote
The Senate’s version of a spending plan for NASA, unveiled today, contains an extra $1 billion for testing and development of a so-called heavy lift vehicle.  The extra money would be used to build a rocket needed to move heavy objects into space where we could launch a ship to Mars.   
 
The added sum is about $726 million more than what the President has asked for in the NASA budget, which the White House unveiled in February.
 
If the extra money is approved, it would save hundreds of jobs at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in a program to continue testing of a version of a deep-space rocket.
 
“If we’re going to Mars, as the president has said, then let’s get going,” Nelson said today.  “We shouldn’t wait five years.”

A Senate version of a spending plan for NASA? Is this document available?

Jeff Foust has more including a video/audio link . . .

http://www.spacepolitics.com/2010/04/21/nelson-makes-a-move-for-heavy-lift/

= = =

Video / audio link is very interesting.

http://billnelson.senate.gov/audiofiles/NelsonBudget.wmv

This is a bit over-stated....it refers to the Budget Resolution, a  non-binding resolution that doesn't go to the President for signature into law, and basically lays out the spending "targets" for the appropriating committees. The leadership of the appropriations committees will use the levels for various "accounts" in the Budget Resolution--if it is adopted--to establish the "allocations" to the various appropriations subcommittees, who will then put together their appropriations bills. It is those appropriations bills which represent the "spending plan" of either the House or Senate, depending on where they are crafted. What this represents is an additional funding "call-out" by Senator Nelson in the Budget Resolution that indicates something he believes should be taken into account when the subcommittee allocations are made. It's a good move, in terms of signaling a need for more NASA funding, but it is a long way from being a "Senate version of a spending plan for NASA." 

Actually, the first place such a "Senate version of a spending plan" is likely to be developed, is in Senator Nelson's Subcommittee on Science and Space, which he Chairs, and which is beginning the process of developing a NASA Authorization bill. That bill would set authorized spending amounts which are supposed to serve as a guide to the appropriators as to what is "legal" for them to appropriate. But that is more often honored in the breach, because, until Senators Hutchison and Nelson, respectively, became Chairs of that subcommittee (she in 2005 and him in 2007) the Authorizing Committees hadn't consistently produced authorization bills for the previous five years (and for eight years before the 2000 bill), so the appropriators did their own thing with NASA's appropriations. Hutchison and Nelson, respectively, as Chairs, have set a course to enact authorization bills consistently in series (usually they cover from one to three years of funding authority) to "reassert" the role of the authorizers in the budgetary process.

In addition, of course, the authorizers--often referred to as "policy and oversight committees" have the power to direct NASA policies and programs, and can point NASA in directions different than those recommended by the President, if they can pass their bills doing so and over-ride any presidential veto. This year, the exercise of that power will be especially interesting to watch, as there is still a considerable difference between many Members of Congress' views on the proposed NASA budget and the new direction proposed by the President.

Getting back to this amendment, what this represents, as I understand it, is an amendment to the Budget Resolution (or language Senator Nelson got inserted in the initial version of the Resolution) that the Budget Committee will consider in the days and weeks ahead. It would encourage the allocation of the amount of funds designated to pay for three more Ares 1 flight tests, but again is not binding, and thus cannot require the funds be made available or spent in that way.. 

But anything that could help increase the allocation for the Subcommittee that appropriates NASA's funding, is a good thing, in my view, so "Go, Senator Nelson!"
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline Bill White

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #624 on: 04/22/2010 02:08 AM »
Thank you, 51D Mascot.

Bill Nelson's words "The Senate’s version of a spending plan for NASA" seem rather more significant than what you describe.

However, Bill Nelson surely knows all of this as well therefore his "over-statement" also is itself a statement.

Ain't politics marvelous?   ;D
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Offline orbitjunkie

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #625 on: 04/22/2010 02:57 AM »
first- There are reasonings and discussions going on in the Congress, the focus of which are not public, and these will be large motivators going forward. Later Nelson says to the rest of the members in referance to the DOD and National Security aspect "Everyone here knows what I'm talking about" (paraphrase). In other words- every member of the committee has had a secure briefing.
Two thoughts on this.

1. I get the impression Obama doesn't care about any potential impact that large solid rocket production would have on "national security". The common (though not necessarily correct) understanding seems to be that the "large-SRB industrial base" builds ICBMs. ICBMs launch nuclear weapons. Obama wants a world without nuclear weapons and is taking clear steps to make sure the US will probably never use them. So the ICBMs they fly on are irrelevant. Not sure if Congress would agree with this.

2. The above is the more obvious SRB-national security connection. However, I have a colleague who works in the national security related govt organizations that would care about launching really big things in space. The things he was able to share with me are that he gets the impression there are at least a couple of projects sitting on the ground just waiting on a "heavy" launch capability, and a couple more waiting on such a capability to exist so they can be green-lighted. Take that for whatever you feel it's worth.
   But if an HLV is really that important within the next few years, it seems odd the AF wouldn't be pushing harder towards it. But maybe Nelson and others are taking up the cause and feel using the SRBs in something like DIRECT (or even an "Ares" rocket) is the fastest way to create that capability. Or he really cares about space exploration and is strengthening his hand for that by becoming an uninvited patron saint of HLV for the Air Force.

second- Nelson's referance to the Ares I-X, although some may find puzzeling is not, nor is it an error if you place it into a context where he is speaking of the of I-X not in terms of last October's launch of a single vehicle, but rather as that configuration becoming a project to be used for testing large SRBs. Such a morph would politically provide cover for the sunk costs. (and anyone coming on here who wants to spout that sunk costs are a "myth" or "are easily ignored" has not beeen following the hearings going back as far as last August. The sunk costs of Constellation and Ares I keep coming up over and over again by the members- it IS a huge concern)
  I haven't had a chance to look at the audio/video above but if your goal was to mature the 5 segment SRB to operational capability then keeping an Ares I based test program might not be a bad way to do that while maintaining some KSC workforce. Who care's what's on top.
  Also, while you can argue that sunk costs "shouldn't" be considered it also seems pretty clear they ARE a critical issue for Congress. Think about it: elections in November, massive budget deficits... a prominent article in a big regional newspaper accusing them of voting to throw out a $9B "investment" is the last thing they need. Joe Taxpayer is going to take that as he hears it without pondering sound management strategy or reports from the GAO or Augustine Committee.

lastly- Nelson was probably quite disapointed with Obama at KSC (IMO). Nelson went out in public in front of the people of Central Florida and said (prior to the Obama visit) that he'd talked to the president and Obama was going to make big changes to his proposed budget. He then added "If he doesn't, we (the Congress) will." Obama didn't- now they will....if you want to know what is to come, put aside your disdain for CxP, Ares, Griffin and anything else and simply watch and listen to the Congress- it is all there.
  Clearly Congress is where it's at. Too bad it's worse than watching grass grow (I guarantee I'll mow my lawn over a dozen times before anything is resolved). But even if it's just a first step as 51D says, it's a pretty cool one! The fact that an influential Senator is even proposing to request more money than the President asked for NASA seems pretty big to me. Couldn't he have proposed just re-allocating the top-level number in Obama's budget?

Offline Jeff Bingham

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #626 on: 04/22/2010 03:02 AM »
Thank you, 51D Mascot.

Bill Nelson's words "The Senate’s version of a spending plan for NASA" seem rather more significant than what you describe.

However, Bill Nelson surely knows all of this as well therefore his "over-statement" also is itself a statement.

Ain't politics marvelous?   ;D

Well, it's natural for the press operation of any organization to want to put the best foot forward. The reference to the Senate version of a spending plan was not a quote from Senator Nelson, so I wouldn't necessarily attribute that description to him personally. In all likelihood he wouldn't have seen the final language of the release, or I'm sure he would have made a refinement to provide a clearer view of the context, and if anyone were to ask him about it in a follow-up, he'd make it clear. But as I say, it's a good thing, in my view, to use the Budget Resolution as a vehicle to make a statement about the need for increased funding. The situation with the budget proposal is so dire that supporting Senators are in a "leave no stone unturned" mind-set right now to build more flexibility and elbow room for what will hopefully become a consensus congressional alternative position to offer up in the authorization and appropriations settings. So, I would cut some slack on that. (Having done similar things in the past for Members I have worked for, hehe.)
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline yg1968

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #627 on: 04/22/2010 03:11 AM »
Interesting news from Senator Bill Nelson

http://billnelson.senate.gov/news/details.cfm?id=324027&

Quote
The Senate’s version of a spending plan for NASA, unveiled today, contains an extra $1 billion for testing and development of a so-called heavy lift vehicle.  The extra money would be used to build a rocket needed to move heavy objects into space where we could launch a ship to Mars.   
 
The added sum is about $726 million more than what the President has asked for in the NASA budget, which the White House unveiled in February.
 
If the extra money is approved, it would save hundreds of jobs at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in a program to continue testing of a version of a deep-space rocket.
 
“If we’re going to Mars, as the president has said, then let’s get going,” Nelson said today.  “We shouldn’t wait five years.”

A Senate version of a spending plan for NASA? Is this document available?

Jeff Foust has more including a video/audio link . . .

http://www.spacepolitics.com/2010/04/21/nelson-makes-a-move-for-heavy-lift/

= = =

Video / audio link is very interesting.

http://billnelson.senate.gov/audiofiles/NelsonBudget.wmv

Nelson may have been talking about the Ares I-X Prime which likely would have flown a 5 segment booster:

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2009/11/ares-pressing-forward-plans-ares-i-x-prime-flight/

His reference to the importance of solid rockets is likely simply stating that NASA abondonning solid rockets would be detrimental to the DOD.
« Last Edit: 04/22/2010 09:41 AM by Carl G »

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #628 on: 04/22/2010 04:50 AM »
This is going from confusing to mega confusing faster than I can twist my head from Congress to POTUS and back again. So first Nelson glowingly supports the president, goes on NBC and claims he's "been won over", then turns around and starts putting in money for (potentially) more ares 1 test flights?

I am not sure how all this will turn out, but I fear we may end up worse off than we are now.

Why can't they just do what the data says is the most reliable, most affordable, most powerful, and quickest way to do it? Or a comprimise of various options that match up to those needs? :(
« Last Edit: 04/22/2010 04:50 AM by FinalFrontier »
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Offline Rabidpanda

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #629 on: 04/22/2010 05:55 AM »
This is going from confusing to mega confusing faster than I can twist my head from Congress to POTUS and back again. So first Nelson glowingly supports the president, goes on NBC and claims he's "been won over", then turns around and starts putting in money for (potentially) more ares 1 test flights?

I am not sure how all this will turn out, but I fear we may end up worse off than we are now.

Why can't they just do what the data says is the most reliable, most affordable, most powerful, and quickest way to do it? Or a comprimise of various options that match up to those needs? :(

Because people disagree on what is 'the most reliable, most affordable, most powerful, and quickest way to do it' is.  Some say DIRECT, some say EELV master plan, some support Constellation.  There's no consensus.

Offline MP99

The situation with the budget proposal is so dire that supporting Senators are in a "leave no stone unturned" mind-set right now to build more flexibility and elbow room for what will hopefully become a consensus congressional alternative position to offer up in the authorization and appropriations settings.

Many thanks for illuminating.

Can I clarify - does that relate just to the NASA budget, or the wider all-of-2011 budget?

cheers, Martin
« Last Edit: 04/22/2010 07:34 AM by MP99 »

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #631 on: 04/22/2010 09:22 AM »
My two pennies' worth:

It looks to me that Sen. Nelson is working towards not waiting for the future-HLV but to start on developing deep space (using chemical propulsion, obviously) immediately.  Basically, what he seems to be suggesting is removing the 5 years currently earmarked for developing the US-indigenous large kerolox engine (and, I suspect, intended to allow commercial crew launch to get moving and develop momentum of its own) and starting the new HLV now.

If you want to start now, without a 1Mlbf kerolox engine or a regenerative-nozzle RS-68, then a D-SDLV powered by the stock SSME is the logical and obvious choice.  This is especially the case given the clear political objective of saving as many KSC jobs as possible.  The 1Mlbf kerolox R&D funds would then be spent on RS-25e whilst early aerodynamic, system and integration tests are done using the remaining stockpiled SSMEs (plus whatever new production that can be quickly made available).  The only question about the Nelson Plan is: In-line or Side-mount?

Not advocating or denouncing, just saying.
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Offline simonth

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #632 on: 04/22/2010 09:38 AM »
If you want to start now, without a 1Mlbf kerolox engine or a regenerative-nozzle RS-68, then a D-SDLV powered by the stock SSME is the logical and obvious choice.  This is especially the case given the clear political objective of saving as many KSC jobs as possible.  The 1Mlbf kerolox R&D funds would then be spent on RS-25e whilst early aerodynamic, system and integration tests are done using the remaining stockpiled SSMEs (plus whatever new production that can be quickly made available).  The only question about the Nelson Plan is: In-line or Side-mount?

Atlas V Phase 1/Phase 2 creates jobs as well, can immediately be started and does provide a viable path towards a new HLV with the money baselined for HLV development in the next 5 years. I do not believe Sen. Nelson is pushing for a Shuttle derived HLV, I think he knows that the window of opportunity for such a vehicle has passed.

Atlas V launches for NASA are conducted from KSC and Lockheed/Boeing can be made to also do some development for Phase 1/Phase 2 or a hybrid of both in Florida. If politically required, the RD-180 can be produced under licence in the US. This was the original plan back in the 1990s. There would not be a use of a development program for a new kerolox first stage engine or first stage, as this would be available already. NASA would invest - potentially together with the military - in a new upper stage for a vehicle that is currently underutilised.

This plan would help Boeing and LockMart cope with the loss of business from Constellation, keep more jobs in Florida, utilise KSC to a higher extent over the next decade and provide a suitable first variety of an HLV for deep space missions soon at low costs.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #633 on: 04/22/2010 10:01 AM »
I thought I'd better reply to this before Jim explodes at it. :D

Atlas V Phase 1/Phase 2 creates jobs as well, can immediately be started and does provide a viable path towards a new HLV with the money baselined for HLV development in the next 5 years.

Agreed, but they won't be NASA jobs at either KSC or MSFC.  They would mostly be BoeingMDD and LockMart jobs and would be elsewhere.  IMHO, Nelson's focus is the shuttle workforce in Florida.

Quote
Atlas V launches for NASA are conducted from KSC...

Um... No.  They are from CCAFS and the two sites don't share many jobs.

Quote
If politically required, the RD-180 can be produced under licence in the US.

There are indications that a US-built RD-180 would be very expensive.  That means that RD-180 is caught in a perfect storm, a foreign engine that can be built in the US but might be a budget-buster if it is.  I think that the time has come for PWR to dust off the drawings for RS-84.

Frankly, KSC is going to be idle during the post-shuttle interim under the current plan, apart from lots of administrative work.  Things won't pick up until the future HLV, whatever it is, starts operating from LC-39.  Worse, ULA apparently don't like LC-39 very much so the early development/shakedown flights are likely to be from LC-37B and LC-41 in CCAFS.  Some KSC personnel might, probably would, be present for cross-training but the numbers still would be at a very low level.

No, I repeat, as attractive as the EELV growth plan is as an integrated launch system plan, it is not attractive to politicians whose first priority is minimising the pain to the shuttle workforce.  Only a D-SDLV does that.
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Offline Jeff Bingham

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #634 on: 04/22/2010 10:21 AM »
The situation with the budget proposal is so dire that supporting Senators are in a "leave no stone unturned" mind-set right now to build more flexibility and elbow room for what will hopefully become a consensus congressional alternative position to offer up in the authorization and appropriations settings.

Many thanks for illuminating.

Can I clarify - does that relate just to the NASA budget, or the wider all-of-2011 budget?

cheers, Martin

The Budget Resolution addresses the entire budget. Attached is a document that gives a summary of how it fits in the process, but here's a quick excerpt:

"What is in the budget resolution? Unlike the President’s budget, which is very detailed, the congressional budget resolution is a very simple document. It consists of a set of numbers stating how much Congress is supposed to spend in each of 19 broad spending categories (known as budget “functions”) and how much total revenue the government will collect, for each of the next five or more years. (The Congressional Budget Act requires that the resolution cover a minimum of five years, but Congress sometimes chooses to develop a 10-year budget.) The difference between the two totals — the spending ceiling and the revenue floor — represents the deficit (or surplus) expected for each year."
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline renclod

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #635 on: 04/22/2010 11:44 AM »

If you want to start now, [...] then a D-SDLV powered by the stock SSME is the logical and obvious choice. 

Maybe to you, but Senator Nelson said nothing about SSME or Directly-SDLV.

In my opinion, all this points directly to the 5 segment solid rocket booster developed and tested in a single-stick launcher configuration - a CxP "nugget" if you will. That'll be Ares-derived not D-SDLV.

Ares II-X ("the monster rocket") could fly in late 2012 if the Administration agrees to that kind of extra money noted in the budget resolution.

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Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #636 on: 04/22/2010 11:52 AM »
Ares II-X ("the monster rocket") could fly in late 2012 if the Administration agrees to that kind of extra money noted in the budget resolution.

I assume that you're talking about essentially two SRMs either side of a central payload (with liquid upper stage, of course).  I'd be very interested to know for what purpose you think such a machine would ultimately be.
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Offline renclod

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #637 on: 04/22/2010 11:57 AM »
Ares II-X ("the monster rocket") could fly in late 2012 if the Administration agrees to that kind of extra money noted in the budget resolution.

I assume that you're talking about essentially two SRMs either side of a central payload (with liquid upper stage, of course).  I'd be very interested to know for what purpose you think such a machine would ultimately be.

No. Ares II-X and Ares III-X are names for single-stick 5 segment test launches. Follow-ups to Ares I-X.


Offline MP99

Ares II-X ("the monster rocket") could fly in late 2012 if the Administration agrees to that kind of extra money noted in the budget resolution.

I assume that you're talking about essentially two SRMs either side of a central payload (with liquid upper stage, of course).  I'd be very interested to know for what purpose you think such a machine would ultimately be.

No. Ares II-X and Ares III-X are names for single-stick 5 segment test launches. Follow-ups to Ares I-X.

What happened to Ares I-Y?

cheers, Martin

Offline renclod

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #639 on: 04/22/2010 12:45 PM »
Ares II-X and Ares III-X are names for single-stick 5 segment test launches. Follow-ups to Ares I-X.

What happened to Ares I-Y?

cheers, Martin

Correction : "Ares II-X and Ares III-X" were names for test launches. I just used them for simplicity.

IMO Ares I-Y in the last incarnation was a configuration too close to baseline Ares I to merit mention in the current environment.

IMO when Senator Nelson talks about the continued testing of monster rocket (or rocket X) and saving jobs at KSC, he is not looking at a quasi-complete Ares I config that given the funding requested could not fly soon enough to save any jobs.

IMO Senator Nelson sees value in near term (2012 ?), continued test launches of 5-seg, single stick, first stage powered flight only - configuration(s).


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