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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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  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 05, 2009 @04:30PM (#29999182)

    Too bad we spend a trillion dollars invading the wrong country based on obvious lies and fabrications.

    Over what, eight years?

    We just spent almost a trillion in one year as a "stimulus" that has apparently helped nothing...

    ... and you conveniently overlook that it was the Bush administration that encouraged and started the stimulus spending before Obama took office.

  • by Aereus (1042228) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @05:20PM (#29999900)

    Our national debt went from 4 trillion to over 8 trillion during Bush's tenure in what was supposedly very good economic times. The economic policies pursued during that same administration led to the greatest economic meltdown the country has seen in 80 years. The stimulus package planning was begun under the Bush administration, and finalized in the early months under Obama in order to partially mitigate the poor choices made by our banks and Wall Street.

    A number of recent economic markers are pointing to the economy starting to be on the way up again -- I would say that 12-18 months turnaround on this depression is fairly quick compared to recessions of the past. FDR's economic policies in the 30s may have been shocking back then, but Americans expect far more "socialist" programs out of their government nowadays. Not spending any money certainly wouldn't lead to less unemployment, and very likely would cause the depression to last longer as the banks are still hesitant to do any sort of major lending -- which leads to companies hesitant to do new hiring.

  • Re:For example... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 05, 2009 @05:44PM (#30000246)

    In the spirit of breaking Slashdot etiquette, I am going to request that parent and gp are modded down. I honestly can't believe they've actually been modded so high.

    If you think $18 billion per year is going to roll out a national energy infrastructure that will get us off of fossil fuels TODAY, then you are sorely mistaken. In fact, suggesting a dichotomy between our space program and energy R&D is just plain stupid. There are dozens of other more wasteful, less beneficial government agencies/programs that would be much more fitting for your silly hypothetical, but that's not even the proper argument for increasing energy R&D funding.

    Some people are still under the misguided notion that we don't have to make such choices, that we can just do both. That's one of our problems with science initiatives today. We're trying to do everything, and we end up half-assing it all and nothing gets done.

    Who is "we"? The scientists/engineers working on the space program aren't the same ones working on renewable energy (although the space program is responsible for several advancements in the field). The fact is we can, have been, and will continue doing both. Suggesting that "nothing" gets done is ignorant.

    And so long as I'm an AC, your mother and I had intercourse last night.

  • by CannonballHead (842625) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @05:55PM (#30000376)

    Because there is always evidence for anyone's point, these days, and you can find economists that say the stimulus hurt and the stimulus helped the economy.

    But I haven't read any that said it helped very significantly.

    If you asked me what I actually thought - in my non-economist and "my macro-econ class boiled down to really complex terms for really simple ideas"-mindset opinion - I would tell you that I think it did nothing good and, if anything, some amount of bad. All it seemed to do to me is put the US government even further into debt. I know, we can't get rid of all debt ...

    ... but according to wikipedia, [wikipedia.org] the US is around 90% of GDP in debt (estimated for 2009; 70% in 2008). Also according to wikipedia, [wikipedia.org] there are very few countries even above 70%. Above 70% are Hungary, Israel, Sri Lanka, Barbados, Belgium, Bhutan, Egypt, Sudan, Greece, Seychelles, Italy, Singapore, Jamaica, Lebanon, Japan, and Zimbabwe.

    I read the "you don't get it, we need debt, too" comments a lot on Slashdot. My response is ... they don't get it; we don't need THAT much debt, unless we want our economy to look like the economy of the ones I just listed. The only "good economy" - and actually, the only real "world power" - that I see in that list is Japan.

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @06:15PM (#30000652) Homepage

    But the Democrats won't listen to or accept a single change to bills from Republicans

    The Republicans aren't proposing simple changes. Once again, their approach is simple: our way or the highway. That's it. Meanwhile, the Democrats have been folding on some of their core proposals in order to get things moving (a public healthcare option being the most glaring). There has been *no* attempt from the right to work toward a bipartisan solution. NONE. The Democrats can hardly be faulted for that kind of uncooperative, even childish behaviour.

    Worse, in cases like healthcare, the Republicans are actively blocking measures that over *60%* of the US population supports. If that isn't pure, unadulterated political brinksmanship, I don't know what is.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 05, 2009 @06:25PM (#30000774)

    You have no idea what you're talking about. Mod this DB down.

    Falcon 9 was on the pad in january for integration tests. Most of the hardware on the rocket- minor things like the tanks and engines- were not flight ready. They also didn't have the pad fuel, oxidizer, or water tanks built yet, so even if the rocket was ready they couldn't fuel it.

    If you even bothered to, say, visit the spacex website you'd have learned this.

    The only "paperwork" holding back the falcon 9 is nobody has offered to pay for the development work to make it man-rated. But they have a huge contract for development flights and ISS resupply, so they're not exactly stopped in their tracks as far as flying the thing is concerned.

  • Re:For example... (Score:3, Informative)

    by DirePickle (796986) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @07:17PM (#30001374)
    Guh? How does spreading out into space help our population problem? It gives us redundancy, yes, but there are 200,000 (from my first Google hit) more people born every day than die. That's 550 747s worth of people we'd have to fire out of cannons at other planets every day to maintain a steady population. The physics of escaping from gravity wells isn't very nice to such ideas.
  • by camperdave (969942) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @07:36PM (#30001550) Journal
    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 cost could have been completely avoided if NASA had adopted the DIRECT plan. The DIRECT plan involves taking the engines out of the shuttle and tacking them onto the bottom of the external tank. Mount the Orion crew module on the top of the external tank, and away you go. This configuration, called the J-130 could be flying in three years. It would easily be able to lift a fully stocked Orion crew module, plus an extra 20 metric tons of supplies to the ISS. The Jupiter, because it is made of existing shuttle parts, allows most of the people currently employed in building and deploying shuttles to keep their jobs (especially if the shuttle program is stretched out for a couple of years.

    By adding a fourth engine and an upper stage, you transform the J-130 into the J-246. It is capable of lofting 85 metric tons into orbit. The upper stage is similar to the upper stage currently used on Centaur rockets. (It can even use an existing Centaur upper stage, I believe.) Because it uses the same core configuration as the J-130 (which is itself a minor variation of the existing shuttle), it can be built, deployed, and launched on the same lauch pad, using the same gantry cranes, by the same experienced personnel that will be running the J-130. ARES cannot do this because the rockets are so dissimilar.

    Now, the ARES program is called a 1.5 launch configuration. The 1 launch is the ARES-V, and the 0.5 launch is the ARES-1 with the crew. No matter what you call it, it is still two launches (of significantly different rockets). With the DIRECT plan, you still launch two rockets, but because they are both carrying cargo, you wind up with more tonnage in orbit. Also, since the rockets are practically identical (apart from the upper stage and additional first stage engine), you don't need separately trained personnel. Best of all, both the J-130 and J-246 can be built and flown with NASA's current budget. We could be on the moon by 2020 if we so desire.

    Now don't think that all of the development that went into ARES would be lost. By no means! Development of the human rated RS-68s would continue. When ready, they would replace the SSMEs used on the Jupiter core. Development of the J-2X could continue as well. The thing is, they would be optional upgrades, and not required equipment.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @08:48PM (#30002018) Journal
    Since Nixon, the budget has been at ~1% of the federal budget. It dropped pretty heavily under reagan and W, stayed mostly even with Clinton and Carter (though both dropped it in their last years due to the economy) and increased with Poppa bush. This current budget which is W's has it at .52% of budget. [wikipedia.org]

    It remains to be seen what Obama/Dems will do with it. When it comes to ppl screaming that they do not live in their budget, I see nothing by idiots. The president SETS NASA'S DIRECTION. W set it to be massive new undertaking, but then grossly underfunded it (just like everything he did).

    Right now, everybody is screaming for NASA to push THEIR idea of what should happen, and few want to provide proper funding for any of it. Personally, I hope that the dems get the clue that the neo-cons did not; Space is near to being able to survive on its own and grew RAPIDLY. This is the time for the dems to pour a BIT of money into it and get this set up. It is NOT hard to do. What is amazing is that with less than and increase of 3 billion next year, 2 billion the year there after, and then 1 extra billion for the next few years thereafter, they can create in space what the Internet did; massive jobs and new frontiers.

"I got everybody to pay up front...then I blew up their planet." "Now why didn't I think of that?" -- Post Bros. Comics

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