It's a nice spring day in Thousand Oaks, CA. Sounds of Moon River waft out of Iris's kitchen. Many times, Mom had tried to convince young Scott to use the training wheels, but there he was scraping his knees after falling off his bike once again.
Too bad he didn't pay heed to Mom's advice then. Of course, the only tears shed at the time were his own and he picked himself up and walked the bike back home. But now, some 45 years later, the taxpayers are paying the price for Scott's failure to accept sound advice yet again.
Unlike Scott, ARES 1 will not be able to lift itself off the ground. The latest attempts to dampen its inherent oscillatory modes are falling far short of the goal. Additional weight is required just to strengthen the basic structure of the rocket to withstand the rigors of the rocking and rolling being generated by the solid rocket motor. That weight is being added even before the dampers are added to keep the crew within the Orion capsule (itself drastically overweight) from suffering unrecoverable damage to their chest cavities and bladders caused by the rocket's natural frequencies aligning with those of the vital organs.
More and more engineers are coming to realize that ARES 1 has become unviable as the crew launch system. And their morale has more scabs than young Scott's knees.
You will soon start to see the results of this calamity become more evident as apparently disconnected scapegoats are constructed to cover for ARES/Orion misfortunes. Late external tanks for the shuttle will delay the Hubble repair mission deep into the fall. Until that mission is completed, and the need for a back-up rescue launch is put to bed, the launch facilities at KSC can not be modified to accommodate ARES test flights. An unnecessary swap to a new launch abort system, the ill-contrived MLAS, will cause a one-year redesign cycle to collect wind tunnel data and to buy time for ARES 1. Already in hand for ALAS, this data needs to be regenerated to determine the loads on the integrated launch vehicle.
The alternatives are already being dusted off. ARES 4 is making the rounds again. An ET, some RS-68s, and two four segment solids could be configured to carry the too heavy Orion. But the brand new engine that is the J2x is just starting to experience the inevitable set of development problems, and ARES 5 analysis indicates it is too small to carry the minimal Lunar Lander.
Such is the return on investment for 30 days of pony-tailed engineering.
ESAS could have used another 180 days or so of cooking, and a lot less of the Chief Engineer of the Universe's heavy hand. Remember Space Station Freedom? Remember the last redesign to make it workable. The back-room redesign of Orion is at now hand. The Queen's galley and restroom needs to be removed and the crew must be able to swim. Time for the EELV contractor's to play their hands with the man-rating plans they've kept in their back pockets for this very day. Its time to stop the waste and expose this fraud.
It's time for the Emperor to be handed his coat and hat.