Poor Roger "the Rocket" Clemens. You could almost see him shrinking on the stand yesterday as he proclaimed his innocence. Whether you believe he did it or not, we have now been educated in the dangers inherent in trying to bulk yourself into something you shouldn't be.
The Emperor's self-proclaimed,"Apollo on steroids" is facing the same fate. We've discussed many times here how overweight ORION is, at 5m diameter and six crew to ISS, exceeding the capability of the ill-formed ARES I rocket to lift it. Now it seems that the minions have run out of design tricks to get the weight back in the box. All but one, that is, and they are studying this one hard.
The CEV contractor has been asked to quietly address the weight issue by reducing the crew size to four for trips to the ISS and see how that helps. That appears to be the only way the capsule will limbo under the wire. And the implications are just as astounding.
Four crew to ISS means a CEV and a Soyuz would always have to be docked to bring six crew back in the event of an emergency evacuation. Alternately, the permanent crew size on ISS might have to be reduced to four. So instead of a full complement of Americans onboard, perhaps just one with the car keys is all that we can afford?
The much smaller Apollo was once configured to carry five astronauts back from Skylab in the event of a primary taxi failure. Now the Emperor's folly, steroids and all, appears unlikely to achieve that very level of performance.