Monday, July 06, 2009

A cheaper way to do heavy lift?

This story from the Orlando Sentinel reports on (and includes a link to) a new NASA study of a heavy-lift launch idea that has been around for a while. The concept is to use Space Shuttle solid boosters with the Shuttle external tank, with a cargo pod mounted on the side where the Shuttle orbiter goes now. While the rocket would lift less than the proposed Constellation program heavy-lift Ares V, it is feasible and appears affordable.
COMMENT: While the Ares V likewise appears feasible, it only makes sense if we continue with the Ares I human spaceflight booster, which would validate most of the hardware. And Ares I is in trouble.

See this NASAWatch/SpaceRef recap for the conflicting information about Ares and Constellation costs. Have aspirin handy.

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