Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ares 1-X !

"Ares 1-X launch from Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 at approximately 11:30 a.m.. T minus 1:00 on."

This is a great rocket because it is: simple, safe, fairly cheap, and never mixes humans with payload. This is a very small step, but a step in the right direction. Hopefully this rocket will be able to carry men to space before 2015...

I wanted to quickly explain, in simple math, why I think the Shuttle system was a HUGE waste of money, time, and lives:

The shuttle program has cost at least $170 billion for just over 125 launches. That is quite a bit to say the least, certainly (at $1.5 billion per flight) not so great given the only modest LEO payload. But here is the worst part: Using advanced rockets and a really efficient external tank, the shuttle rocket motors launch up to 250,000 lbs to LEO. BUT, this includes the orbiter at about 200,000! That means that, given 127 launches, the shuttle system launched over 25 million lbs to LEO that was utterly wasted on the orbiter. That's right readers, since the early 80s the shuttle has placed enough mass in LEO to launch several Mars missions (not to mention spending the money they would cost), AND land men on the moon again, and to build a nice space station to boot. And it was all wasted because it was simply the mass of the orbiter that was to carry at most 1000 lbs of men back to Earth after the flight.

Anyone who wants to know more about the ill fated shuttle program, how it started on the right foot and then quickly turned into the space exploration blunder of all time, read these books:
Vol. 1
Vol. 2


Anonymous said...

With the release of the key elements of the Augustine report I can make a few comments.

Build this and the heavy lift but put money into VASIMR technology.

R2K said...

Obviously we need money for many areas. I am not a fan of dropping out of the ISS, despite the fact that it is a huge money drain. I think funding overall should increase. But we need real rockets now, and these two Ares rockets are pretty darn good. The big one could provide the heavy lift needed to send men to deep space and mars (what the future of manned space exploration is really all about, NOT the Moon), and also launch very large probes and space telescopes. This is what we need, in addition to a safe way to launch men without spending much money.