Feeds

Obama banks on NASA's big launcher

Ares I set for scrap heap, says report

High performance access to file storage

US President Barack Obama will ask Congress to jettison NASA's plans to develop its next-generation Ares I crew launch vehicle and increase funds for the "simpler" Ares V heavy lift rocket to replace the space shuttle fleet.

The revised direction for US human space flight was decided Wednesday at a White House meeting with NASA administrator Charles Bolden, according to Science Insider, citing "officials familiar with the discussion." NASA would receive an extra $1bn in 2011 under the plan towards developing the heavy lift launcher as well as creating more robotic Earth-snooping spacecraft, the publication reports.

Under NASA's current plans for human spaceflight to the moon and beyond, the two-stage Ares I rocket is designed to be topped by the Orion crew vehicle and its launch abort system. The vehicle's primary intent would be to carry crews of four to six astronauts to Earth orbit or to use its 25-ton payload capacity to deliver supplies to the International Space Station.

Ares V is planned to be NASA's primary vessel for delivering large-scale hardware to space, such as lunar landers, materials for a moon base, or supplies needed for extended missions beyond Earth's orbit. Ares V can carry about 188 metric tons to low-Earth orbit.

The lighter Ares I rocket, however, has faced major delays and technical problems, and was excluded from recommendations provided by an outside committee tasked earlier this year by president Obama with reviewing the future of the US human space flight program. One option was to develop two separate "lite" versions of Ares V, providing for more robust mission mass and volume margins.

According to Science Insider, the White House believes NASA funding is better spent on the heavy-lift vehicle, which could be ready as soon as 2018. European countries, Japan, and Canada would be asked to work on a lunar lander and modules for a moon base and commercial companies would take the job of launching supplies to the ISS, the site reports.

But several questions about NASA's future remain, such as whether the shuttle program will be retired in 2010 as planned and whether a future mission to Mars is even still on the agenda.

The report claims there's no indication when the new policy will be announced, but speculates it could land as early as next week or be on hold for Obama's State of the Union address in January. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
Get your MOON GEAR: Auction to feature Space Race memorabilia
Keepsakes from early NASA, Soviet programs up for bids
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
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.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.