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

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the burninate-the-peasants dept.

NASA 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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143 comments

if we end up renting flight time on these rockets (0)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142492)

from European powers, I'm giving up and joining the fringe-right libertarians.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (0)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142522)

Why do you hate free market competition so much?

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142566)

The point is that if we spent 10 years and billions of dollars developing this technology, then declare it "a dead end" and give up on it, only to turn around and pay other countries to utilize the technology that we ourselves paid to develop... then I am completely disheartened by the leadership of our space program and I begin to see the point of the hardcore libertarians who claim that we have no right to be spending tax dollars on a space program of any kind in the first place.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (0)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142606)

Mostly just the solid stage comes from Ares / ATK (...something which was supposedly "virtually ready" anyways, according to proponents). Astrium just seems to provide a stage of their own.

Why do you hate free market competition so much?

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142926)

Since a considerable amount of tax dollars went into the development of the Ares 1, it's hard to see how you can call it "free market competition".

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143032)

Yes, and it was a failure. This is a new project, saving what is possible from the previous one (and also fishing for components on the free market) ... what, now you want all that past money to be totally wasted?

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143096)

I didn't say it was a bad thing. I merely pointed out that private firms resurrecting some or all of Ares 1 is not a victory for the free market, not in any way shape or form. I think it's damned good that someone is going to use this so it doesn't end up being some graveyarded parts and a bunch of files and blueprints archived in some dusty warehouse. But whatever this is, it is not a good example of free market success.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (2)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143312)

NASA has never been great for the "free market." NASA is, and has always been, about making the breakthroughs that needed to be made no matter the cost.

We've gotten more out of NASA's research than we ever expected, and NASA has actually been worth every penny we've ever spent on it. Nowhere in the private sector would the research for any major NASA breakthrough ever have managed to come; the private sector would have taken one look at the development cost and said "screw it, wait for someone else to do the difficult stuff first" and only then come by to make it "cheaper to do" later on - which is precisely what happened, time and again.

The problem is that because its results and benefits aren't immediately realized in a 2-year or 4-year timeframe, politicians on the "cut cut cut rawr rawr kill the government" platform always see it as "wasted money." This is much like the way that retarded "government representatives" scream about how "education funding is wasted" because spending more money doesn't instantly improve results, while ignoring every bit of research that shows quite conclusively that cutting education funding to below a certain minimum guarantees the worst results possible.

The end result today is that NASA's been hamstrung under the "do more with less" attitude for so long, as ordered by blind nincompoops who are insulated from the results of their own decisions, that they're stuck trying to "do more" with mere pennies for the tasks they are continually given.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (2)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143348)

It's certainly in the direction of "free market success"... and consider how most of the cherished, really really private, space companies also greatly depend on old developments (Bigelow is NASA Transhab; SpaceX, iirc, basing their engine tech on some earlier ideas / generally grabbing lots of existing engineering talent in the area; new Taurus rocket using ex-Soviet engines and the first stage developed by Ukrainians)

Just slight funny in how it makes the semi-nationalistic motives of armchair stalinist libertarians shining through ;p (don't tell them that James Web Space Telescope will launch on Ariane 5 ;p )

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142660)

I'd be interested in hearing the rational for the idea that "we have no right to be spending tax dollars on a space program." Why the space program? What else do we supposedly not have the "right" to spend tax dollars on? Or are you claiming that we have no right to be collecting taxes?

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35142836)

The rationale is something along the lines that the government can only legitimately spend money on defense and law enforcement, i.e. maintaining the monopoly on the use of force, and everything else should be privately funded or not exist at all, including (for instance) health care, basic scientific research, childrens' education, parks, roads, the fire department, etc. etc.

Personally, I think that's exactly as out of touch with reality as Marxism is, but it's a popular opinion (or perhaps a popular troll) around here for some reason.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (2)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142964)

That is not a rationale. It is a simple statement of opinion. In order to be a rationale, you would need to explain WHY the government can only spend money on defense and law enforcement and, presumably, law creation... but what laws? What would actually be illegal in a libertarian society? Harm, obviously, but what is harm? Does it harm me if you pollute? What if you use child labor and my moral code prohibits it, when you undercut me in the market, is that harm? What if you decide to form some White Citizens Councils [wikipedia.org] and drive all blacks out of business? Certainly that would be considered harm, right? Or would it just be the free market at work? In a libertarian society, what would keep a majority from economically coercing and dominating a minority? Or is that considered okay in libertarian society, as long as the majority uses market forces to oppress the minority?

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35143264)

Or is that considered okay in libertarian society, as long as the majority uses market forces to oppress the minority?

Yes. The unique difference between nazism and libertarianism is method.

Unfortunately there are a lot of middle class fools around here.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35143638)

In a libertarian society, what would keep a majority from economically coercing and dominating a minority?

The inability to use any kind of force to keep the minority oppressed. That's why the market can never truly oppress like a government can.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143716)

Did you not read the bit about the White Citizens Councils? People used economic coercion to destroy other people's lives without having to resort to violence. It actually happened, the free market was used to oppress and destroy people, you can't simply rewrite history to agree with your political/economic theories. It amazes me that people can discuss "market forces" and, nearly in the same breath, deny that the market has any kind of force. It astounds me that people will simply deny history in order to make their cherished ideologies seem more plausible.

Fact: White people used the power of the free market to destroy the lives of middle class black business people.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144068)

Fact: Most modern Libertarians don't have a problem with racism.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144114)

ORLY? I won't argue, because that's not the point. The point is, the majority can use the free market to enforce tyranny on the minority. If the White Citizen's Councils could use the free market to destroy blacks, any majority could use it to destroy any minority. Thankfully, we live in a constitutional republic, and the Federal Government stepped in to stop the oppression. I don't want to see the clock turned back on that one.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143068)

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.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142896)

I didn't say I agreed (yet).

The basic idea of the hardcore libertarians (I know several) is that taking money from individual A (via taxes) to pay for the pet program of individual B is essentially government approved and mandated theft and robbery. I've never been able to get out of them exactly what the dividing line is between "pet project" and "societal necessity", but it seems to me that they generally believe that almost everything we currently spend money on falls towards the former rather than the latter.

On a discussion specifically about spaceflight funding, one particular friend of mine asked what right I (i.e. the government) had to take money from him for a project that does not benefit him and that he would not have chosen to support given the opportunity to choose. I pointed out the ways that the space program had benefited him, but he kept coming back to the same question of "why are you spending my money on something I don't want", and I was never really able to give him a reasonable answer.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143038)

Does your friend have any idea how many modern inventions were spawned from the space program? He only thinks it does not benefit him. He sounds like the type of person who would claim that nothing benefits him, and therefore he shouldn't have to pay taxes at all. But the thing is, he is benefiting. He could always shop around for a better deal. Society is offering him a deal, he is taking the deal, and then complaining that he doesn't want to pay. Well, the first step is NOT TAKING THE DEAL! He is free to find a better one, in any country on earth. We have a free market of governance, and anyone with useful skills and some capital can go nearly anywhere in the world and become a citizen. So why is your friend still here? He must like the deal, and he is simply trying to negotiate a better bargain for himself.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144016)

is that taking money from individual A (via taxes) to pay for the pet program of individual B is essentially government approved and mandated theft and robbery.

Those hardcore libertarians clearly do not understand the term "cost of doing business". Taxes are the cost of doing business, a kind of a rent for the infrastructure and opportunities they have by living in in a particular society. If they pay rent for a flat, do they also complain about the landlord not using the money for their benefit? They are always free to move to a cheaper place to leave.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142756)

The point is that if we spent 10 years and billions of dollars developing this technology, then declare it "a dead end" and give up on it, only to turn around and pay other countries to utilize the technology that we ourselves paid to develop

Isn't that basically the story of all heavy industry in the USA? Everything from steel mills to steel trashcans? Automotive industry? Most of the microelectronic industry?

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142796)

Naw, pretty sure that most of that we made some good profit off of first before we sold it off. This we gave up on before it was even done (maybe with good reason, maybe not. I guess we'll have to wait and see).

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142844)

The point is that if we spent 10 years and billions of dollars developing this technology, then declare it "a dead end" and give up on it, only to turn around and pay other countries to utilize the technology that we ourselves paid to develop... then I am completely disheartened by the leadership of our space program and I begin to see the point of the hardcore libertarians who claim that we have no right to be spending tax dollars on a space program of any kind in the first place.

So you are against funding research of any kind or just space? Much other research funded by the government is then developed by private enterprise. The reason the government has a space program, instead of just funding it, is the interest by DoD.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

wizkid (13692) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143058)

It's not the leadership of our space program. It was obama that decided it was a "dead end". NASA did good things for this country, then politics took over.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

Gravatron (716477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143514)

It was overpriced, and behind schedule. the only reason to keep it was pork to congressional districts. Obama made the correct call, but the people getting the kickbacks didn't like it.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144796)

Do you have any fucking clue about engineering at all? You're nothing but an ignorant politician who doesn't understand that the costs of breakthrough engineering cannot be accurately predicted, because the discovery of the problems that need to be solved occurs during the development process, not before. Real leaders set the goal, face the difficulties, and follow through when the going gets rough. Assholes whine about the costs, give up on the goal, and spend their rhetoric forcing others into failure.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

AlphaFreak (646767) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143300)

What the heck are you talking about? It's called a JOINT VENTURE. An american company (ATK) provides the first stage. An european company provides the upper Stage. Each one developed its part. You didn't pay a dime to develop the Ariane 5 core stage!

Capitalism is based BOTH in competition and cooperation. This is a case of cooperation. If both companies get a profit, and NASA gets a cheaper/safer way to put astronauts and cargo in orbit it's a win-win situation.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35143512)

Odd, the "the government can't do anything right" are usually the ones who kill cool science programs.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143618)

The point is that if we spent 10 years and billions of dollars developing this technology, then declare it "a dead end" and give up on it, only to turn around and pay other countries to utilize the technology that we ourselves paid to develop...

This describes US economic history since Ronald Reagan. It's not specific to the space program.

In fact, according to the leading geniuses on the political Right, getting government out of the space program and letting "private industry" do what they want with it is completely consistent with the "free market".

I'm with you, though. I believe really big and important things, like space exploration, health care, education, research, etc should be in the government's wheelhouse. We cannot count on private industry, much less private capital, to do the right thing by us.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35142616)

Free market competition is great - when theres no foreign national controlling it and it is purely domestic.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142686)

The new rocket appears to have virtually the same planned mass to LEO as Ariane 5 ... so not much reason for Astrium. Other then selling to operate their technology of course, basically in the form of Ariane-5 core (Free Market! Wait, what, it's good only when you have a free hand to operate in other places? Oh, got it... nvm, carry on)

This is still local pork, it matters most for ATK.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (2)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142888)

If it ends up saving NASA tons of money - what's the problem?

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143106)

NASA and "save money" are like oil and water. NASA was born under the blank check "just get it done, price be damned" environment of the cold war era. I don't see them as having ever truly moved away from it, not to menion they are now politicized all to hell and have all the penalties of "You'll do it this way because senator asshat from arkansas pulled some favors to have congress vote this way in order to keep jobs in his district".

Aside from that, it works out like this:
Launching a rocket costs X dollars.
if you are going to launch a rocket because someone else wants you to, not because you want to, one would assume that you're going to charge them X + Y dollars, in order to pay your expenses AND make it worth you while to do favors for them.
I think we can assume that if random European country can launch the rocket for X dollars, so could we, so by launching the rocket we designed ourselves, we'd save Y dollars.

The exception to this is, of course, if for some reason it's much cheaper (i.e. more than Y) to launch a rocket in that country than here... at which point you really have to ask yourself "why is it so much cheaper? Is it purely that they're paying a lot less to workers in that country, or are we into areas of 'savings' impacting safety and craftmanship?"

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143416)

Your equation leaves out about 12000 other factors also involved in building a rocket.

X+Y can be cheaper then X+Y+Maint+Dev+transport

All large machines cost money just sitting around.

Different country have different priorities. So leveraging one of there systems or visa versa is a perfectly sound financial decision.

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

Artifice_Eternity (306661) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143434)

So what you're saying is:

1) If NASA builds something, they'll waste money.

2) If the private sector does it, they'll overcharge.

3) If they're not overcharging, they're probably cutting corners.

So... what's your solution?

Re:if we end up renting flight time on these rocke (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143594)

Honestly, my solution is to kill every politician within 1500 yards of NASA engineers, write the remaining NASA (After the politician purge) a check that the DOD would envy, and say "get our asses to Mars".

But then, I'm a romantic.

Roman-Arab numerals mixup (4, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142502)

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?)

Re:Roman-Arab numerals mixup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35142860)

How on Earth...blah blah blah

Perhaps, busy building aerospace stuff instead of screwing around on Slashdot, they haven't refined their loathing for all things US to the point where some special set of words common in Americana can't be considered. Maybe only deranged moonbats do that.

Re:Roman-Arab numerals mixup (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142886)

Liberty was also the name of the American built 400 HP engine for WW I fighters, bombers and tanks to be sold to all the Allied Powers, but in the end only the Americans, French and British used them.

The program back then led to Cadillac engineers leaving GM and forming the Lincoln company which was bought by Ford.

Re:Roman-Arab numerals mixup (2)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142986)

There's even more profound example of cooperation / etc. - Liberty ships from WW2. But the times of those examples had an... unique character. The current one (and for somewhat different reasons...) would somehow cheapen the undertone of historical ones, IMHO)

Re:Roman-Arab numerals mixup (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143084)

Not sure why I drew a blank on the Liberty ships.

But yea, this is a stupid name for a rocket, rockets should always get an astronomical name. I've always been disappointed that things like the SRBs didn't have a better name like the Neptune boosters for the Shuttle.

Re:Roman-Arab numerals mixup (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143524)

Well, to be fair, "Soyuz" or "Salyut" (to mention just two from memory) are similarly stupid names... as will be "Rus". Simply just foreign and mysterious, hence sounding attractive (a trick unavailable for "Liberty", being very widely understood / cheapened by ridiculous rhetoric during the past decade)

At least there's always hope the name will become a sort of generalized trademark... (what perhaps happened with you & Liberty ships?)

Re:Roman-Arab numerals mixup (1)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144244)

Salyut means Fireworks/Salute and Soyuz means Union. Both probably have a good reason deep inside the old Soviet mindset.

Re:Roman-Arab numerals mixup (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143060)

Also, Re: "Liberty," if you read the press release it refers to ESA as specifically NATO-alligned. I guess that has a better connotation than simply being European.

Clearly they're trying to play politics here and play up shallow patriotism to win over some in congress rather than simply compete on technical merit. Par for the course for ATK.

Re:Roman-Arab numerals mixup (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143164)

Yes, the press release itself would also seem as a bit of a lip-service, considering ESA just finishes in Kourou a launchpad for Soyuz rocket ;>> ... generally having a long and very fruitful cooperation with the Russians. One of its major members is even the only instance, I believe, of leaving the alliance ;p (granted, they recently returned; were in the meantime still very much aligned, as well as ESA members which never were members)

Re:Roman-Arab numerals mixup (1)

matrim99 (123693) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143134)

Yeah, "Liberty". The name "DRM I" (Dynamic Recovery Module version I) ran into a few little legal issues...

/. Armchair Rocket Scientists Were Wrong?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35142514)

I'm surprised that all the armchair rocket scientists that posted their poorly thought out rants on the failure or Ares were wrong.

It's almost like you are all a bunch of clue-less out of touch elitists.

Slashdot has become the Engadget of science.

Re:/. Armchair Rocket Scientists Were Wrong?? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142626)

is it also stale and outdated?
So now you post as anon, why do you cower, or whatever it was you used to post?

Re:/. Armchair Rocket Scientists Were Wrong?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35142706)

My friend, I believe the lines you're looking for are:

"slashdot = stagnated," and
"...what are you afraid of?,"

Followed up with a brilliant bon mot about someone's mum's face.

Re:/. Armchair Rocket Scientists Were Wrong?? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142654)

From a quick glance at announced specifications - this new rocket will have virtually the same launch mass to LEO as Ariane 5 ... so there really doesn't seem to be much of a reason for Astrium. Other then selling their technology of course, basically in the form of Ariane-5 core.

This is till pork, it matters most for ATK.

Re:/. Armchair Rocket Scientists Were Wrong?? (1)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142722)

"so there really doesn't seem to be much of a reason for Astrium"

There certainly is, for Republican Senators from Utah.

Re:/. Armchair Rocket Scientists Were Wrong?? (1)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142902)

Also, the proposed second stage would have to be completely redesigned to allow air start (it is a ground stage).

Basically, a lot of work for not much benefit (other than to keep ATK's 5-segment booster development going).

Re:/. Armchair Rocket Scientists Were Wrong?? (1)

Manhigh (148034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142708)

To be fair, theres a world of difference between a rocket that launches crew and one that doesn't. Crew-rating costs are out now, which saves a ton of money. It's also not going to be as capable, with 44 klb of payload to LEO rather than 56. So while it will probably be a good launch vehicle, that doesn't mean it was good for Constellation.

Re:/. Armchair Rocket Scientists Were Wrong?? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143704)

To be fair, theres a world of difference between a rocket that launches crew and one that doesn't.

No there isn't, unless you insist on using a massive SRB. I believe the proposed 'man-rating' costs for launching Onion on Atlas and Delta were on the order of a few tens of millions of dollars.

Crew-rating costs are out now, which saves a ton of money.

Only if you insist on using a massive SRB.

Re:/. Armchair Rocket Scientists Were Wrong?? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144012)

The story seems to be very much about a manned rocket [bbc.co.uk] ... and BTW, the only way for SRBs to pass man-rating standards was to relax the standards.

Re:/. Armchair Rocket Scientists Were Wrong?? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142760)

people bought the pinto too, just cause someone is dumb enough to buy it does not make it awesome

Re:/. Armchair Rocket Scientists Were Wrong?? (1)

watomb (920150) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143064)

Oh well at least they can rant a rave about how america gave aways this technology to the EU. An when astronauts die because we are again using a liquid based rocket like delta or something similar they can again complain that the president was wrong to cut the program. So many opinions with so many options and so little money.

Re:/. Armchair Rocket Scientists Were Wrong?? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143776)

I'm surprised that all the armchair rocket scientists that posted their poorly thought out rants on the failure or Ares were wrong.

Wrong about what? Ares I failed hard. And this new rocket still has yet to fly much less compete in a market with a number of established successful competitors. Before you whine that the realists are "elitists", perhaps you should provide some support for your arguments?

Remember (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142556)

The faster we launch people into space for no particular reason, the quicker we can get rid of those annoying fossil fuels under the ground!

Re:Remember (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142726)

Unless we just start burning liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen in our rockets, like the Delta IV Heavy and such. At that point, we're more likely to start burning our oceans.

Re:Remember (1)

juhaz (110830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142930)

Unless someone flipped the magical "free energy" switch, there's no unless. Producing hydrogen and oxygen uses a shitload of energy that comes mostly from getting rid of those annoying fossil fuels. Not to mention that the vast majority of hydrogen is produced by steam reforming the aforementioned annoying fossil fuels, not electrolysis.

"no particular reason" (3, Interesting)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:"no particular reason" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35143226)

But we know that there is a high likelihood that something worth some money is going to be found

Really? we know that? what of value have we observed in space that we can even imagine how to make economically recoverable? I am aware of pretty much nothing, yes metals and such are out there but we don't have the technology to get them back here and nobody has a workable plan to do so, even at the thought experiment level, hence no space elveator.

Columbus did not go out just exploring he had a specific objective, he wanted to find a faster sailing route to the east where there was already valuable trade happening. He just stumbled on to the Americas accidently. Again he was not just out to look around, just simply failed to find what he was looking for and lucked into having the voyage pay off anyway.

Re:"no particular reason" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35145324)

"We are going into space to make money. "

Really? You speak for "we"? Interesting. Arrogance aside, please describe one single thing that will make money from space.

Hmm, that's right, the few things that do make money from space don't involve people in space: communications satellites and recon satellites.

The rest of your Space Nuttery relies on several levels of delusions about our technology. Usually you invoke technologies we neither have, or that we do have but simply don't scale. And when faced with that fact, you invoke even higher levels of unreality.

There will never be space-based solar power. Ever. It doesn't make sense, and involves several technologies we either don't have, or don't scale. Guess what? As soon as we come up with more efficient solar panels, we just use them down here, on Earth. Why put them in space?

Suppose we do invent fusion power.... why go in space? We'll have all the power we need here.

Space mining? Absolutely nonsensical and delusional. We do not have the technology. Even if the rest of the universe were made of pure gold you can't make it worthwile.

Space colonies? Mental illness. You have been poisoned by sci-fi with utterly unrealistic, incorrect, wrong and just plain delusional notions about our technology, and even about what motivates most people.

Why not just build a Ringworld? See? Anyone can write unrealistic, delusional, borderline-raving-lunatic nonsense, does that make it even theoretically possible?

Re:Remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35142918)

Welcome to my friends list! (At least when I get home!) You've summed up Space Nuttery in a humorous way.

Re:Remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35142962)

Put down that glass of cool-aid and step away from the crack pipe!

Re:Remember (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143148)

The faster we launch people into space for no particular reason, the quicker we can get rid of those annoying fossil fuels under the ground!

I thought is was: the quicker we can get rid of those annoying humans above the ground!

"I'm sorry Ms. Lindsay Lohan, but this ticket that you are holding is only one way, to Mars."

not the kill switch, maybe the severely wounded... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35142646)

switch. at least in our area. feels like dialup, or not dead yet? probably better if we don't know?

Why? (3, Interesting)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Dear Astrium (2)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35142842)

Have fun dealing with some of the premier assholes of the U.S. space industry.

On the other hand, I suppose ATK can't really lobby Astrium the way the lobby the U.S. Congress....

No. (5, Insightful)

Silm (1135973) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:No. (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143442)

IT's nice to know rocket science is following razor science. More blades..er boosters!

I joke. I was recently sent a 5 bladed razor as a promotion, and no shit best razor I have ever owned.

Re:No. (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144014)

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.

That's pretty much the point - you don't *need* to do a hold down test. If it lights, it's working.

Re:No. (1)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144022)

And your point?

ATK has what was Thiokol and Hercules so who else in the US has Very Large Solid Rocket Manufacturing capabilities? Nobody

And it's all about lobbying and demonstrating capabilities. I bet ATK can put a 10 segment motor together if they wanted to. There's probably enough segments out in those bunkers in North Utah to do so.

We've been running manned missions on Solid Rocket engines since the 70s, it was called the Space Shuttle. There are safeguards with the RSRM technology, but you are correct, once the candle is lit, you're going for a ride. I think the escape mechanism for any manned flights with this technology should be well thought out, unlike the shuttle which took it into consideration but everybody knew, including the astronauts, that there wasn't an escape mechanism once you left the lauchpad.

So if ATK and the French want to put something together, that's a good thing. Let them. I'd certainly trust their capabilities to put something together. It might even work.

Space travel will always have risks associated with it, just like flying in a plane. like early air travel there were lots of early designs and systems. Zeppelins as I recall were once great for getting to South America until one blew up over New Jersey. Maybe the RSRM configuration being proposed is a new 747 to space or it could be a new Hindenburg. People just have to be willing to step up and pay the price of admission and make sure they have their affairs in order.

you did not understand what they are doing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144422)

It's not using Vulcain engine, they are using the SECOND STAGE of Ariane V, the FIRST STAGE of ariane 5 has vulcain.

There is no vulcain in ariane V second stage. (1)

hkultala (69204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144630)

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

They are not planning to use Vulcain. Vulcain is used in Ariane V's FIRST stage, they are using the SECOND stage.
The engine they are using is both air-startable AND re-startable.

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?

again, wrong.

The ariane V second stage sits in top of it's first stage.
The stacking is quite similar.

Ariane V has "2.5" stages:

0) Boosters.
1) first stage (vulcain engine)
2) second stage

This new rocket will differ from Ariane V by having one huge solid rocket engine(from ares 1) replacing the boosters an first stage.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144864)

It looks like the want to have a single extended solid fuel booster with Ariane 5 second stage and payload stuck on top. The there are two versions of the second stage using different fuels and neither uses the vulcain engine. They must be in flight startable as they are already used that way.

It may work. It does not need to be a heavy lift vehicle to serve as a taxi to LEO.

Comparison v. Falcon 9 (4, Interesting)

lax-goalie (730970) | more than 3 years ago | (#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!

Re:Comparison v. Falcon 9 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35143376)

If you believe in SpaceX.

Re:Comparison v. Falcon 9 (1)

Gravatron (716477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143560)

Two orbital launches is a nice start. How many did Ares have again, in the same time period of development?

Re:Comparison v. Falcon 9 (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143644)

Two orbital launches is a nice start. How many did Ares have again, in the same time period of development?

And didn't SpaceX build two different launchers and their engines from scratch and launch them into space for about the same amount as NASA spent to launch a dummy upper stage on an existing SRB? Or have I got my numbers wrong?

Re:Comparison v. Falcon 9 (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143648)

Such price per kg (basically, at this point, claimed one...) of Falcon just matches the ranges of Zenit, Proton, Long March or Soyuz... (a launchpad for the latter is almost ready in French Guiana BTW)

Re:Comparison v. Falcon 9 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35145484)

Actually, it is not. The falcon 9 and F9H are BELOW all that you listed at this time. However, it is expected (if not done already) that China will further subsidize the long march and truely dump on the international market while both USA and EU ignore it. And as to the comment about 'Claimed' one, well, it is predicated on the price that SpaceX NOW CHARGES.

Re:Comparison v. Falcon 9 (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 3 years ago | (#35143760)

The ones with the most heavily funded lobbyists will win. Innovation and efficiency always take a back seat, if they're in the car at all.

Re:Comparison v. Falcon 9 (1)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144054)

Exactly, ATK (Thiokol/Hercules) have been building things to government contracts for years, therefore they have to get lean to make this work.

Re:Comparison v. Falcon 9 (1)

maswan (106561) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145526)

But, Ariane 5 (ATV version) already can put 21000 kg into LEO, at what seems to be competitive cost (one number I saw was just $180 million launch cost, but I'm not sure if that's for the ATV version, anyone with proper numbers?).

So, I don't get the why of this, other than making it half American to be a little bit easier for NASA to swallow politically than sending money to other than directly to ESA. Otherwise, this seems like a big development undertaking just to end up with the same capability that already exists in the Ariane 5.

This is hysterical: (1)

Hartree (191324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144432)

I think we can sum up many of the comments as follows. "How dare ATK try to use "our" commercial space subsidies to keep your jobs after you lost direct government support, instead of dying quietly. That would have been much more convenient for our particular views/politics."

*shrug* I doubt it'll go anywhere, but if they can convince someone to try to make a go of it, more power to them.

vitiligo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144812)

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.

vitiligo [antivitiligooil.com]

Not really. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145096)

This is just one of multiple attempts by ESA to get NASA to fund their work. In addition, is one of the few American space companies that makes NOTHING when it comes to launch vehicles. They are pretty much a worthless company in that arena.

I would much rather see NASA, COTS, etc. be awarded to American companies that produce the majority of the work in America. That would be SpaceX, Boeing, and even SNC's Dream Chaser, which will launch on Delta, Atlas and F9H. My guess is that those 3 will be the big winners in the human launch systems.

U.S. space agency, what U.S. space agency? (1)

redwhine (1990662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145432)

Obama's Augustine Commission suggested that NASA's future budget will be relegated to low earth orbit missions. This means future NASA missions such as Juno (Jupiter mission), MAVEN and Curiosity (both Mars missions) will have to reach their destination on rockets from the European Space Agency, China National Space Agency, or the Russian Federal Space Agency.

Re:U.S. space agency, what U.S. space agency? (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145544)

Might I suggest the USA transfer NASA to the UN? If everyone is going to benefit from the science then let everyone pay.

Problems (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145538)

1) NASA abandoned this design because of thrust oscillation problems that could have destroyed the rocket. 2) The Ariane 5 with an Orion third stage already has LEO capability 3) The solid fuel booster hasn't enough thrust to launch this. 4) ? 5) Profit!
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