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NASA May Drop Ares I-Y Test Flight 203

Posted by timothy
from the other-people's-money dept.
Matt_dk writes "Just one week after the first test launch of the Ares I-X rocket, NASA says it may decide to cancel a follow-up launch called Ares 1-Y, which wasn't scheduled until 2014. Reportedly, program managers recommended dropping the flight because, currently, there isn't funding to get an upper stage engine ready in time. Depending on whether the Obama administration decides to continue the Ares I program, this decision may be moot. Earlier this week Sen. Bill Nelson said Obama may make a decision on NASA's future path, based on the report by the Augustine Commission, by the end of November."
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NASA May Drop Ares I-Y Test Flight

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  • Internal Interest (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @04:05PM (#29998796)

    I wonder if NASA is going to be able to keep up internal interest on these projects with the way their budget keeps getting cleaved. Hell, I wonder how they managed to keep people onboard, what with a 5 year delay between test flights.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because there's still plenty of work to do in the meantime. Just because a test flight isn't going to be scheduled doesn't mean the vehicle development will stop. The same thing happened with the Shuttle in the 70's. Ultimately, NASA decided to have the first test flight be manned/crewed (considered by many to be the single most hazardous test flight ever conducted -- John Young and Robert Crippen are studs forever).

      We might see the first "real" test of the Ares-I happen during the first crewed flight.

    • by khallow (566160)
      So far, the NASA budget hasn't been "cleaved" [wikipedia.org] (I interpret that as a significant year to year cut) since the 70s aside from a few years in the late 90's when the US underwent a serious effort to cut overall spending.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by demachina (71715)

      If you are just running a jobs program its actually better to do as little as possible. Hardware and launches cost money reducing funds available for salaries. As long as Congress and the President let's them get away with it, and keeps sending them a few billion each year, it would be ideal to schedule the next launch in the 2040 time frame, which is practically what they are already doing.

      If you've watched NASA over the years, especially when they are doing new launch vehicles they ALWAYS produce awesom

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 05, 2009 @04:08PM (#29998840)

    Too bad we spend a trillion dollars invading the wrong country based on obvious lies and fabrications. I think we would have been better off spending that money on cool space toys or at least getting Afghanistan right the first time.

    We will be paying for the George W Bush's disastrous presidency for a very long time.

    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @04:14PM (#29998926) Homepage

      We will be paying for the George W Bush's disastrous presidency for a very long time.

      Don't worry, we aren't paying for it. Our putative children (and their children) will be paying for it. We just put in on the big VISA card in the sky.

      Ka-Ching!

    • by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @04:24PM (#29999102) Journal
      were about the same. Both ran up monster deficits for no real reason. Both had economic bumps up front, so, I could not blame them for that spending. BUT, once the economy turned, they both increased the debts and threw money away. Between their debts, invasions of other countries, stealing of American rights, etc, the American dream is about to be the American nightmare.
  • Government Fail. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jugalator (259273) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @04:11PM (#29998884) Journal

    So Bush initiates Project Constellation, and at a time when it's barely started, after lots of time and resources have been plown into structuring the project, it's on the verge of being shut down?

    Well, if it's shut down, at least we saw some cool flames at the back of a rocket!111 Durr...

    • by Nyeerrmm (940927)

      Sunk costs don't matter for deciding future policy, only costs to complete it matter. When analyzing whether or not something should be done, you have to consider whether or not the remaining cost is worthwhile.

      The Augustine Report, on which any policy decision is likely to be based lays out the options and considers the completion costs on a 'stay the course' direction. And the only place where significant sunk costs may be wasted is on Ares 1. Ares V hasn't been significantly developed, and all options

  • 5 years? (Score:2, Funny)

    by methano (519830)
    It will take 5 more years to get another one ready for testing? Clearly someone else (yea, I know, the nazi) was running things back in the old days when they went from speech to stepping on the moon in about 8 years.
    • Re:5 years? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eln (21727) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @04:22PM (#29999074) Homepage
      Back then they were able to link landing on the moon with beating the Russians, which at the time virtually guaranteed as much money as you could possibly want to accomplish the goal. Having the goal set by a president who was later assassinated, and carried on by his VP who basically set himself up to be the guy who would carry on JFK's legacy, didn't hurt either. Of course, after that goal was reached, NASA's funding was slashed, and they've been unable to accomplish much in the way of manned exploration since then.

      Now, if you could somehow link landing on Mars to beating the terrorists, we could get all the money we need to get this thing done quickly. Until then, though, they can only do things as fast as their ever-shrinking budget will let them.
      • --Now, if you could somehow link landing on Mars to beating the terrorists, we could get all the money we need to get this thing done quickly. Until then, though, they can only do things as fast as their ever-shrinking budget will let them.--

        You gotta watch out, those terrorists will be on Mars any time now. We gotta get there first so they don't pull any suicide attacks there.

      • by Ceiynt (993620)
        Or link landing on mars with helping American's find jobs, or getting Detroit back on it's feet, or keeping your bank open.
        • by natehoy (1608657)

          Wait a minute.... I want to be clear of the linkage you are drawing here... ...you want the people responsible for bringing us the "K" car in charge of manned spaceflight?

          I mean, that'll make spaceflight cheap and all, and I'm all for that, but roadside service centers in space are mighty scarce. And you know what they say about vacuum - it sucks.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DerekLyons (302214)

        Back then they were able to link landing on the moon with beating the Russians, which at the time virtually guaranteed as much money as you could possibly want to accomplish the goal.

        Of course, after that goal was reached, NASA's funding was slashed

        That's what the urban legend would have you believe, but as usual, the reality is much different.

        In reality, NASA's peak funding (during the Moon race) was in 1965 - and was slashed dramatically in '66/'67. (Before the Saturn V even flew, it's pr

        • Yup, and even at the peak of funding, it only comes about to about 2x the current budget, adjusted for inflation.

          NASA never had a *monster* budget, they found ways to do a lot with a little, and cut a lot of corners in the process.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by bencoder (1197139)

            NASA never had a *monster* budget, they found ways to do a lot with a little, and cut a lot of corners in the process.

            You mean like faking the moon landings entirely? ;)

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by khallow (566160)

              You mean like faking the moon landings entirely? ;)

              Not that. They went all out on that set.

  • Cancelling Ares I in my opinion would be pretty foolish, especially after so many resources have been invested into it. Its like, they barely funded the project, so that it struggled to produce, and then after they produced a working system, they decide to kill it off. I know conservatives babble on about private space and so on but I am doubtful that those would be as capable as Ares or that they would be any cheaper. More likely, the American tax payer would likely end up spending millions on some wealthy

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      The Dems and the Reps are both equally corrupt, and amazingly so.

      Single-payer health care sounds like a good idea, but what Obama is trying to pass isn't the answer. He wants to socialize the costs of everyone's health care across the entire taxpayer base, but he doesn't want to do anything to actually fix the reason that healthcare costs SO much. Healthcare has gotten expensive because of malpractice, malpractice insurance, and litigation. Obama doesn't want to fix any of that, because that's not good f

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Eravnrekaree (467752)

        We do want to control malpractice insurance costs. I agree with you there! The system is just far too litigation happy and we have lawyers who make a living off frivoulous lawsuits. But Part of the problem though is insurance companies with have 30% overhead compared to 4% for medicare. If we got rid of the insurance companies and replace it with medicare for all, we would save enough money to cover everyone in the country. Just by getting rid of private insurance and their $120 million dollar salary execut

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by camperdave (969942)
      Actually, it would be foolish to continue with Ares-1. It has no distict advantages over the Delta-IV and Atlas rockets, or the proposed commercial rockets (Falcon 9). It can't lift much more, and it costs a lot more. NASA's been trimming the Orion crew module to make it light enough to lift. (Backwards thinking. Design the crew module, then build a rocket large enough to lift it.)

      The biggest cost (both in terms of dollars and time) in rocket development is the design and testing of new engines. This
  • by blind biker (1066130) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @04:27PM (#29999146) Journal

    Change you can believe and stuff? What better than a daring scientific project of national proportions to catalyze the United States, to unite the minds and the hearts of all the people, to inspire them, to give them hope and a vision?

    During the Apollo missions America had a dream larger than life, a vision that propelled her forward for decades to come. The creativity, genius and overpowering enthusiasm that this country showed was what, I think, eventually broke the USSR - the Star Wars "threat" was so much more frightening to the Soviets, because they (the old gard, anyway) still had in mind the Apollo missions and thought that these crazy yankees might just pull this off!

    America is now just a shell of its former self - a gigantic trade and budget deficit, a country wholly subservient to foreign (mostly arab) oil, and almost bought out by the Chinese government.

    You want a stimulus, one that will really stimulate all the people, all their endevours, all their emotions? Give NASA more, much more money, and tell them to dream big!

    • Better (Score:3, Insightful)

      by KingSkippus (799657)

      What better than a daring scientific project of national proportions to catalyze the United States, to unite the minds and the hearts of all the people, to inspire them, to give them hope and a vision?

      How about a project of national proportions to get us off of fossil fuels, or at least completely energy-independent, today, and for a fraction of the cost of whatever you have in mind?

      How about a project of national proportions to beef up our computing and telecommunications infrastructure so that every Ameri

      • by khallow (566160)

        How about a project of national proportions to get us off of fossil fuels, or at least completely energy-independent, today, and for a fraction of the cost of whatever you have in mind?

        Why would we want to do that, when it'll occur naturally as a result of market forces? I say let it happen when we're ready for it to happen.

        How about a project of national proportions to beef up our computing and telecommunications infrastructure so that every American has pretty much instant, real-time access to, well, pretty much everything?

        Most people have that right now. You're just speaking of coverage for a few rural communities. I don't think that's a good use of government funds.

        Or for that matter, how about a massive funding effort of national in medical research, with the end goal of something like a cancer vaccine, maybe even a cure, or other goals such as extending the quality and quantity of life in general? That would certainly captivate me.

        We're already spending billions a year on R&D and tens of billions a year on treatments. Plenty of incentive for anyone who wants to develop a cureall.

        I love sci-fi, I love sci-reality, I've been a space junkie since I was a kid, and if I had the chance to go to Mars, I'd sign up tomorrow. But I'm also practical, and I realize that there are a lot better things that we could spend a lot of money on than the space program.

        Such as? You haven't mentioned one yet. All those other are stuff tha

    • by mewsenews (251487)

      America is now just a shell of its former self - a gigantic trade and budget deficit, a country wholly subservient to foreign (mostly arab) oil, and almost bought out by the Chinese government.

      You've answered your own question about why America will not return to her glory days. More NASA funding would be nice, but the country is still embroiled in Iraq and the economy is still reeling. The government owns General Motors. The shining beacon of individual liberty and "can-do" capitalism has been forever tarn

  • Making Hay (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @04:43PM (#29999370)
    The summary is trying to make hay. There are other tests already on the board between now and the 2014 Ares I-Y test flight. Project managers simply decided that the objectives of that particular test fly could be achieved by other means (test flights) thereby saving the program unnecessary expenses. A very helpful thing considering their already tight budget.

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