Feeds

US manned spaceflight after Shuttle could be delayed

Not so solid crew module launcher

Top three mobile application threats

The planned Ares I rocket - which will be the USA's only way of putting people into space after the Shuttle retires in 2010 - faces "significant threats" to its performance, according to an internal NASA document. The problems have already led to significant delays.

Artist's pic of the Ares I first stage

Fuel's solid: design not so much?

The Ares I first stage is a modified version of the solid-fuelled boosters mounted either side of the Shuttle's external fuel tank, and apparently it is here that the problems lie. The solid booster must lift the second stage - a liquid-fuelled rocket based on the J-2 design used in the 1960s Apollo moonshot programme - plus the crew module and its abort bailout system.

NASA says that the Ares I stack will be able to lift 25 tons into earth orbit. However, there have been rumours that the first-stage modifications - which involve adding an extra segment and structural strengthening - have cut into the weight allowance for the crew and service modules.

Now Flight International reports that an internal NASA circular says that "there are significant threats to the performance" of the Ares I. It seems that a preliminary design review of the first stage has now slipped six months behind schedule.

NASA says that there will be a four-year hiatus in manned US spaceflight between the Shuttles retiring and Ares I coming online. "Crew transportation to the International Space Station is planned to begin no later than 2014," according to the agency.

"The first lunar excursion is scheduled for the 2020 timeframe."

The return to the Moon will call for more complex missions in which Ares V unmanned heavy lift rockets will fire cargo and modules into orbit. These payloads will then be assembled into ships which can carry Ares I-lifted astronauts to the lunar surface - and then, according to plans, on to Mars.

However, it would appear that the timetable is already beginning to slip. The Flight piece is here. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.