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NASA Space Science

NASA's Ares 1 To Be Reborn As the Liberty Commercial Launcher 143

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the burninate-the-peasants dept.
MarkWhittington writes "When President Barack Obama canceled the Constellation space exploration program, it was thought the Ares 1, the much-maligned planned rocket that would have launched the Orion into low Earth orbit, was dead and gone. However, it looks like ATK, the aerospace firm that manufactures solid rocket boosters for NASA, has entered into a joint venture with Astrium, the European firm that builds the Ariane V to build a commercial version of the Ares 1."
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NASA's Ares 1 To Be Reborn As the Liberty Commercial Launcher

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  • by sznupi (719324) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @04:35PM (#35142502) Homepage
    It's not Ariane V, it's Ariane 5. And also not Ares 1, but Ares I... don't do it, it looks & feels bad.

    (the end result is not really Ares anyway... yes, it will use the solid stage from ATK. But the rest would be mostly Ariane 5-derived, it seems)

    PS. WTF, "Liberty" rocket?! How on Earth Astrium agreed to such ridiculous name?... (will any possible manned spacecraft launched by this rocket include "freedom fries" in its menu?)
  • No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Silm (1135973) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @05:08PM (#35142936)

    No, just No.

    This rocket can be described in a few words: it is a desperate attempt from ATK to find a possible justification for their 5- segment booster.
    That is all. There is no technical merit for this rocket.
    I can guess the design process went like this:
      "Hey, We need an upper stage for our 5 segment booster!"
    "How about that Ariane 5 center ( ! ) stage?"
    "Sure!"

    The press release is an exercise in PR. Flexible, Commercial, hell, the name is LIBERTY!
    There are a few things that make this rocket BAD.

    The Vulcain engine is not air startable. They will have to fix this; it is not clear how much this will cost
    You don't want a Solid rocket engine for manned launches. They are not able to do a hold down test before launch. Once it is lit, you are going, whether it is working or not.
    With this rocket, there is once again no Horizontal stacking.
    It lifts less than just the ariane 5 as it is RIGHT NOW!
    The Ariane center stage will have to be radically altered - right now it is build for bearing the load of boosters on its sides. Now it will be pushed up?

    Really, this is ATK lobbying and marketing. It is just not efficient, safe or even a good idea.
    If NASA adopts this it will be because of the ATK lobbying lawmakers, not because of technical merit. Because it just has less merit than anything else currently being discussed. They want a piece of the pie, and they will ask for a bigger piece of it while paying less for it then other ideas being discussed.

    All in all, I hope this bombs hard.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @05:18PM (#35143068) Journal

    I don't know how popular it is. Libertarianism always has a populist streak in it, but usually it gets turfed as soon as people realize that Real Libertarians (TM) mean their entitlements as well. It's always easy to say "I don't want my tax dollars paying for x 's schools/parks/roads/etc.", but when the seduced find out that Real Libertarians (TM) are also out to kill taxes going to their schools/parks/roads/etc., it suddenly dawns on them that Libertarianism isn't nearly as attractive as it sounds.

    Frankly, I doubt a society could long survive on the purer forms of Libertarianism. I guess the US was sort of a Libertarian system prior to the Civil War, but I'd posit that the considerable pressures put on the Federal Government by a good many of those Libertarian policies, particularly the very strong States Rights arguments that guys like Madison and Jefferson had been in favor of, were in fact the underlying structural problems.

    That's not to say I'm in favor of Big Government, per se, or of creeping intrusions of one level into another, and I can certainly appreciate why Obama's health care plan, for instance, really does intrude Federal powers overly much into the business of the States. At the same time, the hallmark of successful modern democracies is not obsessively narrow ideological systems of governance, but rather compromises (ie. free enterprise, but with some sort of socialistic welfare safety net to assure that the lower classes are not entirely left behind). One must govern pragmatically, but there's damned little pragmatism in full-blown Libertarianism. They want the Federal Government hog-tied so tightly that it would become pretty much impotent, and don't seem to realize it was precisely that problem that lead to the Civil War.

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