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NASA Space Science

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

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 maillemaker ( 924053 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @04:58PM (#35142806)

    Man does not explore for "no particular reason". Man explores for personal gain.

    We are going into space to make money. What it is that is going to make us money is as unknown to us as the wealth of America was known to Christopher Columbus. But we know that there is a high likelihood that something worth some money is going to be found.

    And hell, it just might be fun.

  • Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wiredlogic ( 135348 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @05:01PM (#35142838)

    The Ariane 5 is already man rated as it was designed to be the booster for Hermes. You could easily slap an Orion on top and call it a day without having this international make-work project.

  • by lax-goalie ( 730970 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @05:12PM (#35142988)

    So, the Liberty will be able to put about 20,000 kg into LEO for about $9,000 per Kg. The Falcon 9 can put just over half that (10K kg or so) into LEO for somewhere between $5,400 - $6,000 per kg, depending on the load factor. (Numbers pulled from the SpaceX web site.)

    Of course, there are other costs besides the raw launch cost (insurance, etc.), but it will be interesting to see how these two vehicles compete. For things like ISS resupply missions, it may make sense to just shoot the Falcon twice.

    Once the Falcon 9 heavy gets into the mix (32,000 kg to LEO for $95M), ATK & Astrium will need to sharpen their pencils a bit. That'll be one and a half times the payload for half the cost or so.

    Price wars for space launch capacity? I can't wait to watch!

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