Friday, June 26, 2009
NASA's Grand Plan B
NASA's future manned spaceflight programs are under review by the Catherine Commision. There are development issues with the current Ares1/Ares5 systems. Perhaps, the most important of which is the large time gap between retirement of the shuttle and scheduled
1st flight of the Ares 1 to the space station. Of course this time gap could easily grow larger.
So NOW NASA unveils a stopgap measure based on shuttle hardware. It looks a lot like the Shuttle-C which gets mentioned. I consider the timing just a bit creepy, since I've heard nothing of Shuttle-C in the last 10 years, except my own post, a week before this hit the news.
I'm not going to go over the whole system, since this article link is fresh. Just a few interesting points. Unlike Shuttle-C, NASA is proposing this as a manned system as well, with the new Orion capsule riding inside the fairing, which consequently would look a
bit different from the picture above. The comment about cost savings from reusable main motors being a myth is quite interesting. I'll need to digest that one further before emitting a response. Of course, this system fits my vision of modularity that I expounded
upon in my previous post. Finally, as I said then, this sort of thing could've been flying years ago, saving the orbiters for the missions that really needed them. I don't mean to sound bitchy, I like it better than the Ares 1 system.
6/28/09--Update; After a lot of googling, I found multiple references to Shuttle-C and Plan B, mostly dating from around 2005. That's still damn recent in shuttle years, but near the infancy of the Constellation program.
BTW; Dog years are 7:1, Shuttle years are about 5:1, therefore the shuttles are not dogs.