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NASA Space Technology

NASA Ares Rocket Specs to Be Open Source 116

Bruce writes "As a step toward returning to the moon, NASA announced last week that Boeing will be the lead contractor for the Ares I rocket. Interestingly, Popular Mechanics reports that the system's specifications will be 'open-source and non-proprietary' to encourage competition on future contracts."
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NASA Ares Rocket Specs to Be Open Source

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  • Open source? (Score:5, Informative)

    by link5280 ( 1141253 ) * on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @05:05PM (#21756396)
    Not the same as open source for software. They will make the data available only to future bidders and only when it benefits the government. You're not going to download rocket technology off of NASA's website.
  • by BZWingZero ( 1119881 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @05:18PM (#21756548)
    ITAR restricts technology related to satellites and launch vehicles to a select group of individuals and prevents export to other countries without a lot of hassle. If it is open source, how are they going to prevent other nations from getting the plans to these "weapons"?

    Further reading about ITAR can be found at []
  • by savuporo ( 658486 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @05:28PM (#21756728)
    Lets start with the fact that the prime contractor for the Ares-I is ATK, who provides solid rocket booster for the thing. What Boeing got was upper stage contract.
    So many aspects of the technology are protected by ITAR, that no matter of how open you may want to make any other parts, its not going to be "open" in any traditional sense.
    Plus, there is high likelyhood that Ares-I will never fly, because its ( again ) grossly over its initial cost estimates, falls short of any reasonable performance goals, and is not liked by anybody but few managers and select few policicans with certain interest areas, who are shoving this completely bass-ackwards technical solution to the launch problem down everyones throats.
    Just look up the DIRECT launcher [] concept and the discussion surrounding it, and see what i mean. It was conceived and proposed by a group within NASA under the radars to provide a sane, working alternative to the Ares-I fiasco, way sooner and way cheaper, with performance to spare.
    Ares-I is the reason why the NASA lunar return plans are late, underwhelming and underperforming even before they got off the ground, and may well be in danger of cancellation, post elections.
  • Re:In not too long (Score:3, Informative)

    by maxwell demon ( 590494 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @05:46PM (#21757014) Journal
    The link in the parent is a forwarding link. It's a completely off-topic link he only added in order to increase click rates, and used the forwarding link to prevent others recognizing the link target (it's a "minicity"). Clicking it would promote his antisocial behaviour, so don't do it.

    OT-note: If you really want to learn about myminicity, don't click his link anyway, but go to the myminicity main page [] instead. (And no, I'm not involved in the minicity web site [I do have my own minicity though, but I won't link to it here], I just want to prevent people to click on his link).
  • by iamlucky13 ( 795185 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @07:05PM (#21757986)
    The summary also says that Boeing will be the prime contractor for the Ares 1. This is not true. The article is about Boeing being the prime contractor for the avionics. Incidentally, Boeing is also the prime contractor for the second stage structure. However, the first stage is being built by Alliant Techsystems (who also makes the nearly identical shuttle SRB's...that part of the contract was a shoe-in), the 2nd stage engine is being built by Pratt and Whitney, and the Orion spacecraft that the Ares is being designed to launch is contracted to Lockheed Martin.

Were there fewer fools, knaves would starve. - Anonymous