Many months ago we pointed out the dangers of specifying a design instead of deriving one from requirements. Many previous entries have expounded on the results. Finally, others closer to the problems are speaking out.
Av Week: "NASA's planned Ares V heavy lift vehicle can't meet its lunar-mission requirements as currently conceived, and will need beefing up...But even with expansion from earlier concepts to a full 10-meter diameter all the way up to the fairing that will cover the Altair lunar lander, allowing the upper stage to carry more propellant, Ares V still falls short, according to Phil Sumrall, advanced planning manager in the Exploration Launch Projects Office at Marshall Space Flight Center. "The payload requirements are very driving and very difficult to get to, and frankly our vehicle today is close but doesn't quite meet those mission requirements," Sumrall told the Third Space Exploration Conference & Exhibit [in Denver] Feb. 26."
Now ARES V might become ARES VI with six engines. The Emperor's common element approach may not employ common elements after all. The SRB casings and fuel could change to get added performance. Time to add back those reduced development and life cycle costs being touted as a benefit of the ARES I/V common concept. It might not fit out the door of the VAB as it grows longer than the Saturn V. Worse still, today's shuttle's launch pad is not wide enough for the ARES VI. One solution offered to that problem involves tipping over the rocket slightly to make it fit. Maybe Steve Cook will just go out and hold it like the leaning Tower of Pisa?
Have to hand it to those ESAS guys. Bragging about how they accomplished in 60 days (ok, it was more like 120) what no one before them could pull off. Now we see the fruit of their efforts.
Haste makes waste.