Feeds

Ares I: What's the point?

Waste of cash, says spaceflight review chairman

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.