Feeds

Ares I: What's the point?

Waste of cash, says spaceflight review chairman

The next step in data security

The chairman of the committee tasked by president Barack Obama with reviewing the future of the US's human spaceflight programme has questioned the value of NASA's Ares I rocket, just days before its first test flight.

The committee yesterday released its final report (pdf), offering pretty much the same options it suggested in its preliminary findings, which concluded that without a substantial injection of extra cash, even the planned return to the Moon was pretty well a non-starter.

NASA is keen to press ahead with its Constellation programme, with the Ares I theoretically supplying the International Space Station following the planned retirement of the space shuttle fleet.

However, as New Scientist reports, former Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine yesterday told reporters: "The issue that comes up under Ares I is whether the programme is useful."

Indeed, it's unlikely that under the current budget Ares I will be operational until after the slated deorbit of the ISS, pencilled for 2016.

Instead, Augustine suggested NASA should press ahead with commercial alternatives to supply the ISS, such as SpaceX's Falcon 9. He said: "We think NASA would be better served to spend its money and its ability, which is immense, focusing on going beyond low-Earth orbit rather than running a trucking service to low-Earth orbit."

Whether the White House will agree with Augustine and his colleagues remains to be seen, and it's a matter of speculation whether "beyond low-Earth orbit" will eventually mean a return to the Moon's surface or, as many insist, heading straight for Mars.

The Ares I-X, meanwhile, is sitting on the launchpad at Kennedy Space Centre ahead of a slated 27 October test launch. NASA is doubtless hoping it doesn't do its critics a favour on the day by shaking itself to pieces on the pad, as some engineers have suggested it might. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.