Feeds

US manned spaceflight after Shuttle could be delayed

Not so solid crew module launcher

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
TRANSMUTATION claims US LENR company
Ten points of stuff out of a five pound bag
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
BAT-GOBBLING urban SPIDER QUEENS swell to ENORMOUS SIZE
But they'd lose a deathmatch against the coming Humvee-sized, armoured Arctic ones
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?