Thursday, February 21, 2008

Four is the Loneliest Number

One of our favorite sister blogs asked some pertinent ORION/ARES design questions of NASA recently and posted the answers today. When asked if contractors or civil servants were working on CEV designs with reduced crew sizes, the Emperor's minions reported a firm "no" to the questions. Of course, that can be parsed in several ways to allow the respondent to maintain plausible deniability. Who in the chain of command actually has asked for the analysis is not any clearer today that it was before the question was asked. We just know the direction maybe didn't originate on E street. But the small contractor team working the issue would certainly respond otherwise if they had been asked.

Unfortunately, the requisite follow-up questions were not asked. What is the current weight situation on ARES/ORION? What is on the mass equipment list, for real, and what is still lurking off on the side on the risk list? How many requirements are still in the parking lot? And just how much mass is going to go into solving the ARES vibration attenuation problem so that the astronaut's chest cavities and bladders remain in one piece after the ride to orbit?

2 comments: said...

One doesn't have to look too far to see that HQ. PAO's responses to the NASAWatch questions are not entirely honest or fully informed.

On page 4 of the Orion DAC-2 Closure Plan Rev. E:

"Crew Size" is clearly and plainly listed as an "Opportunity" for reducing Orion's weight problems.

So although no one at HQ. may have ordered a look at four crew (per the NASAWatch questions), folks in the field are obviously examining smaller crew sizes (per the Orion DAC-2 Closure Plan Rev. E).

A smoking gun that Mr. Cowing or another journalist should follow up on.


Dave said...

But, when the final doc was published

"crew size" was deleted from the "opportunity" list.