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Early Abort of Ares I Rocket Would Kill Crew 414

Posted by kdawson
from the do-not-push-the-big-red-button dept.
FleaPlus writes "From studying past solid rocket launch failures, the 45th Space Wing of the US Air Force has concluded that an early abort (up to a minute after launch) of NASA Marshall Flight Center's Ares I rocket would have a ~100% chance of killing all crew (report summary and link), even if the launch escape system were activated. This would be due to the capsule being surrounded until ground impact by a 3-mile-wide cloud of burning solid propellant fragments, which would melt the parachute. NASA management has stated that their computer models predict a safe outcome. The Air Force has also been hesitant to give launch range approval to the predecessor Ares I-X suborbital rocket, since its solid rocket vibrations are violent enough to disable both its steering and self-destruct module, endangering people on the ground."
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Early Abort of Ares I Rocket Would Kill Crew

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  • 100% (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 18, 2009 @08:45PM (#28744525)

    Spaceflight was so much easier forty years ago...

    • The same NASA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by p51d007 (656414) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @01:38AM (#28745845)
      That said a small leak in the solid rocket motor O-ring seals wasn't anything to be alarmed about. The same NASA that said we've seen foam strikes on the shuttle for years without any problems, so don't worry about it. NASA has a problem, too many politicians control nasa instead of "missile men".
    • Re:100% (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kestasjk (933987) * on Sunday July 19, 2009 @02:55AM (#28746103) Homepage
      It was a lot easier when people accepted it was a dangerous job
      • by turgid (580780) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @06:38AM (#28746707) Journal

        Space flight needs to get to the stage where it is not dangerous. It should be routine and boring and reliable.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hymer (856453)

      40 years ago astronauts (and for that matter cosmonauts too) were test pilots which knew that the possibility (or risk) of dying was a part of their daily job.
      It was first after the Apollo disaster that dying on the job became politically incorrect... very much because of the media coverage.

  • IANARS but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk&gmail,com> on Saturday July 18, 2009 @08:47PM (#28744533)

    If I'm reading this right, the Air Force is saying that in the event of a complete failure (ie, the entire thing going to hell all of a sudden) the chances of survival would be zero.

    This doesn't really indicate that chances of survival would be zero in all possible emergency abort scenarios.

    • Re:IANARS but... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Entropius (188861) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @08:55PM (#28744591)

      Solid rocket motors, however, tend to "go to hell all of a sudden" in a rather spectacular way. "Sucks to be you" is really their only failure mode.

      • Solid rocket motors, however, tend to "go to hell all of a sudden" in a rather spectacular way. "Sucks to be you" is really their only failure mode.

        Why is this so funny, if it actually happens it would be a tragedy.

        Yet I can't get off the floor from the initial ROFL factor.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Repossessed (1117929)

          It's funny *because* its horrible. Your brain doesn't want to empathize so it trips the laughter switch instead.

          Thats why comedians love politics so much.

      • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

        True enough. Also the linked articles are unclear what, if any, propulsion mechanisms the escape pod has. It seems to me like they may be relying on the explosion of the engine failure to propel them out of the explosion.

        If this is the case then I can very much see how the Air Force's report makes sense. Small chunks of burning propellent are sure to fly faster/farther then some hunk of metal.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Entropius (188861)

          Fortunately it seems like this is a problem that *could be corrected* fairly easily -- with, say, a propulsion mechanism on the escape capsule, just enough to give enough delta-V that it would clear the debris cloud in time to deploy the parachutes. It's even easier since you're flying through the air: perhaps you could deploy some sort of air brake or aerodynamic device to change the drag characteristics of the capsule enough to escape the cloud?

          It doesn't have to survive the heat or provide a safe landing

          • Re:IANARS but... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by FleaPlus (6935) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @10:22PM (#28744999) Journal

            Fortunately it seems like this is a problem that *could be corrected* fairly easily -- with, say, a propulsion mechanism on the escape capsule, just enough to give enough delta-V that it would clear the debris cloud in time to deploy the parachutes.

            From what I understand, the Orion capsule's launch escape system already has a jettison motor [nasa.gov], but it's not enough to take it out of range of the flaming debris. Increasing the range of the motor isn't an option, because the capsule is already too heavy for the Ares I and they can't add even more weight to it.

            Even though rockets like DIRECT's and the Ares V would have the "field of flaming solid rocket propellant debris" problem, my impression is that they have a big enough margin that you'd be able to have a launch escape system that could escape the debris cloud.

            • Re:IANARS but... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by MurphyZero (717692) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @02:47AM (#28746075)

              I am a rocket scientist. The Orion does have an escape motor. And outside of the range specified in the briefing it gets it safely away from the SRB propellant. The problem is due to it being a solid propellant booster, when you decide to get out of Dodge, you only have three choices: Blow up the SRB at the same time, blow it up shortly after the escape motor lights, or don't blow it up at all. For public safety and some other reasons, #3 is not acceptable. #1 is not acceptable because now you're always going to have flaming debris around the capsule. So #2 is the solution with the detail being how long of a delay. NASA's simulation have determined the most optimal time delay, for their purposes. The Air Force has agreed with that value. But that delay is the time the SRB keeps following the capsule. And it's still accelerating. And it's accelerating faster because it no longer has to push the capsule. This is a problem that can occur with ANY solid propellant choice, so the Direct crowd and NASA's shuttle alternative may also have this potential problem. Only a purely liquid propellant vehicle that could be shutdown immediately on activating of the escape motor could avoid this problem.

              From the Air Force's point of view, this would not affect Ares' launch as long as the flight termination system works--Air Force is responsible for public safety, not the astronauts, that's NASA responsibility. Air Force sent their analysis to NASA, NASA (someone at NASA) made it public.

        • Re:IANARS but... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Mercano (826132) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [onacrem]> on Saturday July 18, 2009 @10:13PM (#28744969)
          The Orion escape system is similar to the Apollo setup; that is, a rocket mounted above the crew capsule is, in the event of an emergency, supposed to yank the capsule off with enough acceleration to get clear of any explosion. Of course, there's an upper limit of how much force you can apply without killing the crew, and on a normal launch, the escape system is just dead weight, despite the fact that it's more powerful then the Atlas rocket that put Mercury capsules into orbit, so there are constraints. Obligatory Wikipedia link. [wikipedia.org]
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Tablizer (95088)

          It seems to me like they may be relying on the explosion of the engine failure to propel them out of the explosion.

          The Bruce Willis Rocket Design Company, eh?
               

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Valdrax (32670)

            Actually, I was thinking that now I finally understand why they decided to reuse the name Orion for this rocket concept.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 4D6963 (933028)
      It's about the rocket falling back to the ground, so that's about any event in which the rocket would crash back to the ground within the first minute of flight. Not complicated.
      • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

        The diagrams in the released PDF seem to indicate this is in the context of an air-burst type failure.

        A failure of the rocket which involves the rocket simply crashing back into the ground doesn't seem to be covered here (though it's somewhat doubtable if such a failure could realistically take place).

        • Re:IANARS but... (Score:5, Informative)

          by cratermoon (765155) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @10:12PM (#28744967) Homepage
          The Range Safety Officer can't let it just crash back to the ground. The stark reality is that in the event of a guidance failure the RSO's job is to activate the destruct system. Although the lives of the astronauts might be lost, the lives of hundreds of people on the ground take precedence. And no, there isn't really going to be time to determine which way the rocket is going. In the time it would take to figure that out, Cocoa Beach could be a flaming inferno.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Hadlock (143607)

            I thought the reason why they shot these things off from an island in a sparsely populated area, over the ocean, far away from major shipping channels, was in case it glitches an explodes near the ground after flight, nobody (besides the astronauts) would be near it. It's not like Orlando is a particularly large city (famous because of Disney world, yes, large... no). Detonating a giant fucking space bomb over the ocean to "save lives" seems a bit silly. It's not like they're launching it in downtown Pittsb

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by MurphyZero (717692)
              At the time mentioned in the briefing, the vehicle is barely over the ocean, and a slight turn back towards the launch site could put it into the local community, Orlando is unlikely, but the county is a half-million people or so.
    • Re:IANARS but... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @08:59PM (#28744613) Journal
      I don't get the impression that there are many other types of failures within the first minute of launch.
  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @08:49PM (#28744543) Homepage
    ~100%?
    The Old NASA wouldn't settle for anything less than =100%!
  • Well, there's a nail in Ares' coffin, so to speak.
    • Re:100%? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk&gmail,com> on Saturday July 18, 2009 @08:56PM (#28744601)

      To be fair, the survival rate of exploding space shuttles is currently 0% as well... At least the Ares as a mechanism to even allow for an early abort.

      • Re:100%? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by moosesocks (264553) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @09:47PM (#28744863) Homepage

        The survival rate for exploding Soyuz rockets is 100%. It happened once in 1975, and again in 1983. Both times, the crew escaped without major injury. The Russian/Soviet space program has never had a launch failure that resulted in fatalities to crew aboard the ship.

        The 1983 incident occurred as the rocket exploded while on the pad, and threw the capsule 6,500 feet into the air, subjecting the cosmonauts to approximately 17g of acceleration. According to popular legend, the cosmonauts destroyed the capsule's voice recorder due to the lengthy string of profanity that it captured during the incident.

        • Re:100%? (Score:4, Funny)

          by ceoyoyo (59147) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @11:30PM (#28745249)

          Only Russians could swear while undergoing 17 g acceleration.

        • Re:100%? (Score:4, Informative)

          by rcw-home (122017) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @12:10AM (#28745441)

          The Russian/Soviet space program has never had a launch failure that resulted in fatalities to crew aboard the ship.

          Without that last qualification things get a little hairier [wikipedia.org].

          • Re:100%? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by moosesocks (264553) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @02:00AM (#28745927) Homepage

            The rocket that exploded to cause the Nedelin disaster was an ICBM -- strictly speaking, not even part of the space program.

            Additionally, the Russian space program had notable problems with re-entry, safety on the ground, automated docking, off-target landings, or the fact that they couldn't get the N-1 to work at all.

            However, we're not talking about any of these things. Russia's launch abort system has proven itself to be successful, and has saved lives in two separate incidents. Although NASA has certainly done a better job of other aspects of its program, its launch abort system has never been used in practice and is conspicuously absent from the shuttle, which is the entire point of this conversation.

            Odds are that both uses of the Russian launch abort system could have been avoided by correcting deficiencies present elsewhere in their space program. However, it's certainly nice to have redundancies present in the system. Shuttle missions have to be conducted with outright paranoia due to some of its design deficiencies.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MurphyZero (717692)
          The examples you provide are an on pad failure, and a second stage failure. Both of which are outside the time period of danger mentioned by the Air Force. The NASA system would probably succeed near 100% in those instances as well. With the Soyuz being liquid, the problems with the NASA system (inability to shutdown the rocket without spreading burning propellant) would not be present.
      • Re:100%? (Score:5, Informative)

        by FleaPlus (6935) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @10:50PM (#28745097) Journal

        To be fair, the survival rate of exploding space shuttles is currently 0% as well... At least the Ares as a mechanism to even allow for an early abort.

        Allow me to present a little bit more context. Back in 2004, NASA received several competing designs for lunar launch architectures, most/all of which involved using liquid-fueled EELV rockets. In 2005 the (now former) administrator Michael Griffin came in, tossed out all the EELV-based designs, and focused the agency on implementing his own solid-rocket design which eventually became the Ares I. A big part of the justification is that the EELV-based designs would have "black zones" during which a rocket failure would be non-survivable, while the Ares I supposedly had no such black zones and was therefore the only legitimate solution. Ironically, since that time the EELVs have been shown to have no such 'black zones," while this latest report indicates that the Ares I has a huge black zone which covers the entire first minute of flight. That means that what was thought to be the main justification for the Ares I is actually a huge deficiency.

        Curiously, the other main justifications for the Ares I were that it would be finished faster and cost less than EELV-based designs. As it turned out, it's taking far longer than the EELVs were expected to take, and the cost has ballooned by almost an order of magnitude. With any luck Barack Obama will take the upcoming report from the Augustine Commission and end the Ares I program before it does any more damage.

        • Re:100%? (Score:5, Funny)

          by tcolberg (998885) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @01:35AM (#28745833)
          You mean a Bush appointee came in and went ahead with a plan of action based on a false set of data and discarded all alternatives due to some theoretical, but now disproven, threat to American lives? You don't say...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by timeOday (582209)

          Curiously, the other main justifications for the Ares I were that it would be finished faster and cost less than EELV-based designs. As it turned out, it's taking far longer than the EELVs were expected to take, and the cost has ballooned by almost an order of magnitude.

          Oh please, you can't compare the missed milestones of one program against another program that never missed a milestone because it never started. As for the safety argument, IMHO it's so hypothetical I don't even care. I still don't thin

          • Re:100%? (Score:4, Informative)

            by FleaPlus (6935) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @05:03AM (#28746449) Journal

            Oh please, you can't compare the missed milestones of one program against another program that never missed a milestone because it never started.

            Actually, since the other designs used already-existing EELV rockets, there were essentially quite a few milestones already finished.

            As for the safety argument, IMHO it's so hypothetical I don't even care. I still don't think anybody knows how safe the shuttle now is, or isn't.

            Yeah... it's also kind of interesting how the supposedly safer "man-rated" systems seem to have a pretty similar failure rate to the non-man-rated launch vehicles. IMHO, the only way you can really get a good idea of the safety of a system is through repeated unmanned testing, which coincidentally the EELVs have quite a few flights worth of already.

            However, if costs on a program have actually exceeded plans by a factor of 10, I think you have a good argument for developing both in parallel in a big programmatic deathmatch.

            Coincidentally, this was pretty much what the original plan was back in 2004: The top two design proposal teams (one headed by Lockheed Martin, the other headed by Northrop Grumman and Boeing) would receive initial funding of $1 billion and compete against each other in an unmanned "fly-off" test of their EELV-based in 2008. Former administrator Michael Griffin was convinced his design was safer/better/faster though, so he tossed out the existing designs (and the whole idea of competitive parallel development) and focused NASA on his Ares I.

    • Actually (Score:3, Informative)

      by WindBourne (631190)
      it would be in the Orion coffin, not an Ares.
  • Slide 2 Lower Right (Score:3, Informative)

    by El Torico (732160) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @08:56PM (#28744603)
    Slide 2 Lower Right "CAPSULE IS HERE" [spaceref.com]
    Feel free to draw your own conclusion.
  • More Broadly... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @09:00PM (#28744621) Journal
    The specifics of this issue aside(since I know next to nothing about modeling solid fuel rocket explosions, and two experts appear to disagree, along with a snide comment from a commercial outfit that would probably like the contract for themselves), what sort of safety should we bother shooting for with launch systems?

    Obviously, if we have the choice between a more safe and a less safe system we should, all else being equal, chose the more safe one. However, all else is rarely equal. More safety likely adds weight, design time, cost, whatever. How much safety is worth adding, before we get to the "For fuck's sake, dude, garbage collectors die on the job at twice the rate, and being crushed in a dumpster isn't exactly a blaze of glory..." point and live with the risks?

    Is there some direct assertion to be made(astronauts should suffer no more than X risk, period)? Should we take an empirical look at the risks of various occupations, and peg the acceptable astronaut risk as equal to that of some similar occupation for which an empirical actual risk value is available? Should we accept very high risks; because astronauts are highly likely to be well informed volunteers who have plenty of life alternatives?

    Pushing for perfect is chasing a dream. Deciding what we should be aiming for seems much more relevant.
    • by Entropius (188861)

      I think rather we should look at the cost-benefit ratio of decreasing the risk by a given amount, i.e. if a design decision that costs $X will on average save the lives of Y astronauts over the course of the design, should it be made?

      I'm not claiming to know what the correct values of X and Y are. But I believe we should take all reasonable precautions to decrease risk, and this is really the only way to quantify "reasonable". (Granted, "reasonable" might include a lot fewer things than Nasa's doing.)

  • by Lord Byron II (671689) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @09:05PM (#28744645)

    The problem is that a parachute with a low melting point enters a region with high temperature particles. Solution: increase the melting point or move the parachute away. IIRC, in the case of an abort, the capsule is lifted away from the rocket by using additional thrusters. If they were allowed to operate for longer, then they would move the capsule further away from the flaming debris.

    I have no doubt that the Ares engineers will quickly solve this (if they haven't already).

  • How did NASA (Need Another Seven Astronauts) manage to make a replacement for the Space Shuttle that is actually more dangerous to the crew than a Space Shuttle with loose heat absorbing titles or malfunctioning O-Rings?

    Was this "design flaw" in the Apollo series and the public was not made aware that aborting an Apollo rocket would kill the crew 100% guaranteed?

  • Not surprised (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dolphinzilla (199489) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @09:24PM (#28744739) Journal

    folks it was built by the LOW BIDDER - what on earth would you expect - the design has been an abortion since day 1 and has had problems with virtually every single subsystem.....

  • Risk? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @09:27PM (#28744761) Homepage Journal

    How much risk is acceptable? Is the Air Force suggesting that space exloration should be 0% risk, or less?

    If so, then we should probably ground all aircraft, scrap all automobiles - you get the idea.

    Let's face it. Sitting on top of tons of explosive, and lighting them off, is going to be risky. Minimize the risk, yeah, but there will always BE RISK. It doesn't matter what kind of engine you are using, or what kind of fuel it is using. A crash within the first minute of flight is often quite deadly in aviation simply because the pilot has so few options for ditching or bailing out. The same will always be true of spaceflight.

    If we want 0% risk, we had better get started on that space elevator. Of course, there may be some hidden risk at some point in that ascent - but at least we won't be blowing it up to use it.

    • Re:Risk? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Entropius (188861) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @09:33PM (#28744801)

      The Air Force doesn't seem to be making a moral judgment.

      They're doing what any good scientist or engineer will do: "If you do this, this will happen. I'm not telling you what you *should* do, but simply what will happen if you do it."

      • Re:Risk? (Score:4, Informative)

        by richdun (672214) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @09:42PM (#28744847)
        Also, it helps to understand the AF's perspective here. As safety officers, they may have to be the ones pushing the Big Red Button (TM) if things go wrong. They're just laying things out so NASA knows what to expect. And as others have pointed out, "aborting" a solid rocket launch is... well... about as successful as aborting a nuclear reaction. You don't get to stop things from burning like you might with a liquid-fueled rocket. You just get to watch the remaining fuel get burned up, people on top or not.
  • by Shag (3737) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @09:30PM (#28744773) Homepage

    Here's the straight-talk version:

    "Welcome to NASA. We're going to send you into space, but this involves sitting you atop something that's basically a big stick of explosives. We're aiming for a controlled burn, and most of the time we get that part right, but as you're probably aware, every now and then something does blow the heck up.

    Now, as you might imagine, if you are sitting atop a big stick of explosives, and it blows the heck up, you probably go with it. We're going to try to give you some kind of an out so that the explosives can blow up without you doing the same, but we want you to know it's not really going to make your odds all that much better."

    I mean, seriously, folks. People don't sign up to be astronauts without grasping that there's a very real risk of death at pretty much every point in the mission.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      My first thought was, "I wish they spent this much time reducing risk for soldiers as they do for astronauts."

      Yeah, I'm a soldier. This is kind of sickening in a way since I spent the entire day practicing, "If the first post-attack recon team doesn't report back within 5 minutes, we'll send the backup par team. If the backup par team doesn't report back within 5 minutes, we'll send..."

      Our chem warfare training assumes at least a 50% casualty rate. This is not what I signed up for. Astronauts DID sign up fo

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MurphyZero (717692)
        I was military too (though Air Force--chair force) and yes, in case of war, that is what you signed up for. If armies can't inflict casualties they're doing it wrong. So unless you're going up against the junior varsity you should expect to take casualties. And if they have chemical warfare in their arsenal, 50% seems right. US doesn't go 20 years without some sort of conflict, so there's a good chance a ground pounder could see some action in his career. I knew basic math, so I avoided Army and Marine
  • by StarsAreAlsoFire (738726) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @09:48PM (#28744867)
    From TFA:

    "But Jeff Hanley, who manages NASA's Constellation program that includes the Ares I, questioned the validity of the Air Force study because it relied on only one example. He said NASA had done its own study, using supercomputers to replicate the behavior of Ares I, that predicted a safe outcome."

    Allow me to translate this:

    "[...] He said NASA had done its own study, *USING NO EXAMPLES AT ALL WHATSOEVER*, that predicted the results that NASA required for further funding."

    Show me that 'the supercomputers' model the Air Force's one example to within .5% of reality and I will consider apologizing to Mr. Hanley.

    I am incredibly passionate about space flight. The incompetence and political gaming which has produced the fiasco that is the Ares has not caused me any surprise. From the moment NASA decided on solids for a manned vehicle I knew that, without question, the advancement of the state of the art was not going to come from NASA. Ares isn't about space travel. It's about government subsidies to existing aerospace contractors. Thiokol /ATK, I'm looking at you.
  • by IHC Navistar (967161) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @10:23PM (#28745003)

    "NASA management has stated that their computer models predict a safe outcome."

    -In retrospect, NASA also predicted the safe outcome of the last Challenger launch.

    "It's time they you take off your Engineering hats and start putting on your Management hats."

    - Famous last words. Unfortunately, with the current disagreement brewing, I think someone at NASA must have uttered those very same words, not knowing what trouble they can cause.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think NASA has all the elements for the Perfect Storm:

    1. Underfunded,
    2. Overzealous and overbearing management,
    3. Overconfidence,
    4. Massively complex, high-risk mechanical systems,
    5. Career managers making critical decisions, instead of career engineers,
    6. Over-valued managers,
    7. Under-valued engineers.

    Ever notice how when something goes wrong at NASA, it almost always results in a massive, explosive failure, along with several deaths?

    Oh well. This conflict will give the networks something to scruitinze instead of endless "specials" on the life and death of some freaky-deeky nutjob pop singer.

  • by homm2 (729109) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @01:08AM (#28745719)
    This is only the latest in a long line of technical problems with Ares I, to say nothing of all the delays, cost overruns and other management issues.

    First [spaceref.com], they discovered an oscillation issue from the SRB that could cause damage to the upper stage and the orion capsule. Last year [discovermagazine.com], they found out that with a slight wind gust, the vehicle might collide with its launch tower.

    Incidentally, both of these problems and the current one are all related to the SRB. President Obama needs to do the right thing here and kill Ares I before it has the chance to kill anyone.
  • by FleaPlus (6935) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @05:54AM (#28746569) Journal

    Of course, most of these comments are made pseudonymously and should be therefore be taken with a grain of salt, but they're still quite interesting:

    http://www.nasawatch.com/archives/2009/07/ares_doubts_con.html [nasawatch.com]

    Sources report that Steve Cook and his team were preoccupied on Friday with the ramifications of this report going public. Several meetings were held on Friday and another was planned for Saturday morning. Lots of finger pointing and asking questions along the lines of "who knew what and when did they know it?" and "how do we respond?" was reported to have happened on Friday. A briefing is being prepared for NASA Administrator Bolden for presentation as early as Monday.

    http://www.nasawatch.com/archives/2009/07/usaf_orion_crew.html [nasawatch.com]

    When people at MSFC tried to discuss this in 2007/2008 "Niki the aborts manager" shut them down and made sure two most vocal left the group.

Nobody said computers were going to be polite.

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