I just read to confirm after hearing from a friend on that on the 8th, just days ago, a panel of so-called experts decided to recommend to kill Ares I for the Obama Administration. The rocket ship Ares I was to be the part of the Constellation Program to get humankind back into space more safely and less costly than the shuttle it intended to replace. It is the smaller launch component of the program intended to be the safer human rated rocket with the greater safety systems intended only to reach orbit, the moon, but not other places. But without any cargo or luggage. It's larger variant, the Ares V will carry cargo, telescopes, large rovers, other big things, not people. It will be a heavy lift vehicle and although near the size of Saturn V, it would be capable of ferrying much greater payloads. Many of the components are recycled technology from both the shuttle era such as solid rocket technology, which already have established factories and evolved Saturn era engines such as the original Saturn era J2 engine is being redesigned. The new design of the J-2X pumps and other engine components will provide the additional performance. The J-2X engine is being designed to produce 294,000 pounds of thrust. Whereas, the original J-2 produced 230,000 pounds of thrust. Some components are semi-reusable, some are one time use. It is the best of both worlds and is well thought out. These allegedly so-called experts are recommending we use just the Ares V. So, history appears to repeat itself. We'll end up with another shuttle compromise which does too little for too much, built by committee resulting in delay and cost overruns at best. The point is missed. We do not need a human rated rocket to carry heavy cargo, it simply needs to be reliable and not as complicated. This brings the price per pound to launch down considerably. Combining heavy lift requirements and the requirements for human life support makes such a system overly complex and excessively expensive.
Where the hell is Dr. Wernher von Braun? Good ideas come from motivated teams with effective leadership. The Apollo program was 40 years ago and the world, not just the United States is still reaping economic benefits. This would be the stimulus package worth pursuing beyond the obvious technology. If you were to go ask anyone in 1965 what technology would be like between 1967-2010 and what were the drivers of that technology, no one would have suspected it was a little old space race. Perhaps if just he diverted just 1 month of the cost of the maintaining Operation Enduring Occupation, we would not need such expert panels consisting of has beens and never weres.
Just consider what we have learned from the Hubble? Imagine a better Hubble that did not have to fit to constraints of the compromise shuttle? I thought Mr. Obama was about change and vision. Yet another disappointment. We may as well elected Palin*McCain who at least was openly anti-progressive. Mr. McCain belittled the idea of an planetarium projector as a slide projector in one of the presidential debates. He considered that wasteful. At least, that is honest about keeping us in the dark and not evoking any vision for the future.