10th May 2012, 01:30 AM
ATK aims to use its Liberty system to carry passengers to destinations in low-Earth orbit.http://feedads.g.doubleclick.net/~a/-5Vxprxyc1OILuRh-OrWFwfIVmc/0/di (http://feedads.g.doubleclick.net/~a/-5Vxprxyc1OILuRh-OrWFwfIVmc/0/da)
10th May 2012, 06:39 AM
Here's the question I want answered... The plans for SLS include flying the five-segment Ares I first stage SRM booster as the SRB's for SLS... although the plan is that these new five segment boosters will ONLY be used on the first few test flights of the SLS... They are not going to recover the steel SRB casings as they did with shuttle, but allow them to impact and sink in the Atlantic, like Astrium's expendable SRB's on Ariane 5. The plan is, that SLS will then get a NEW booster (another billion dollar plus project, probably a lot more than that, because just turning the four-segment shuttle SRB's into five-segment Ares I booster stages was a billion dollar project, and that's mostly EXISTING hardware and designs... the NEW boosters will be COMPLETELY NEW...) Supposedly there is supposed to be a competition to determine whether the new boosters will be Liquid Rocket Boosters (LRB's) like Zenits were on Energia, or the gleam in ATK's eye, the new "steel lined composite filament overwound casing high pressure SRB's", which will also be expendable incidentally (by necessity) which will replace the reusable shuttle SRB hardware, which at that point will all be in a thousand shredded pieces on the bottom of the Atlantic... Shuttle SRB casings haven't been manufactured in YEARS, and would likely be cost prohibitive to produce now, probably requiring new tooling and such, which is extremely expensive... and refurbishing SRB's wasn't particularly cost effective anyway... but then again, the EXPENDABLE SRB casings haven't been designed yet either, and that costs a lot of money too...
SO, WHERE are they going to get first stage SRM casings for this Liberty rocket? The EXISTING shuttle casings are all slated for SLS... Even if they're using old or disused or test casings, how many flights before they run out of casings, since Ares I-X's flight showed that recovery of a five-segment configuration (although it was a four-segment shuttle booster with a weighted dummy segment for the fifth) when used as an Ares I first stage is problematical (seeing how the parachutes failed and the casing was SO damaged as to have to be scrapped...)
That's part of the reason I don't see this "son of Ares I" as anything but propaganda... Ares I certainly had its share fo problems... NASA couldn't make it work on time or on budget and it had slipped rediculously, but suddenly ATK, cobbling another company's core stage modified into an upper stage, on top of their shuttle SRB derivative and slapping a composite test capsule on top is suddenly going to make a safe, viable launcher within 3 years or so? I call BS... and playing devil's advocate, if by some miracle it WERE true and DID work as advertised, then SOMEONE has a lot to answer for... either NASA made SUCH a hash of the "simple" Ares I/Liberty design that there is NO credibility in them being able to deliver SLS, or the contractors were milking Ares I for everything it was worth and bilking the taxpayers out of billions for the extra years in development when it was on NASA's dime (and therefore the taxpayers) while slapping it together quickly and cheaply now that THEY are paying for it...
I smell a rat in Utah... Later! OL JR :)
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