Saturday, August 09, 2008

Ares/Orion troubles continue

The link above goes to a discussion on a NASAWatch board, which also has a link to an Orlando Sentinel story about continued problems in coming up with an Ares I design that is workable and safe. NASAWatch's Keith Cowing reports the Astronaut Office practically vomited on the latest proposal to control oscillations in "The Stick" design.

COMMENT: As I always say on this topic:
1. I'm not an engineer.
2. I am speaking purely my own opinion.
3. I never liked this design - it seemed marginal to begin with, and the more they have to keep tweaking it, the further away they get from the original claim this solution to launching the Orion was "safe, simple, soon." Yes, we have spent a lot of money and done a lot of work on the Ares I, but if I was Mike Griffin, I would still lean toward scrapping it and working instead to man-rate one of the existing EELVs.

If you go to NASAWatch, they also have posts on the first failure of the Orion Parachute Test Vehicle. It's not the failure that bothers me - it's a test vehicle, and that's why you do tests. It's that the failure was identified thus in a NASA memo: "This situation occurred because of hard buffeting produced by the wake formed by the PTV and the stabilization parachutes." In other words, it's not a one-time component failure. It's another thing needing redesign in a program where everything seems to need redesign.

No comments: