The Emperor's Agency's acronym has found yet another interpretation in another newspaper op-ed piece. While the current crop of astronauts has not been know for blowing away intelligence tests, we would hope for better from the current head astronaut. Perhaps his arm was twisted by the Emperor in a tortuous manner which no mortal could resist? Perhaps BroomHilda cast one of her last spells over him? Or perhaps he is just plain dumb?
Flyboy Lindsey tries to convince us that ARES-1 "... consists of a two-stage launch vehicle based on an upgraded shuttle solid rocket booster and an improved upper-stage engine from the Apollo program. Both are proven, reliable, human-rated components." We might believe him, except for the fact that the ARES-1 SRB is entirely new save for the cases that surround the new propellant, grain pattern, avionics, oscillation damping system, and software. When you change something, anything really, on a space vehicle you are opening the door to a new set of potential failures. Upgraded, improved, whatever is not "proven" by any means.
Lindsey goes on to say that "Ares I also has the unique advantage of using the same components that will serve as the baseline for an ultra heavy-lift unmanned Ares V rocket needed to carry supplies, hardware and equipment to the moon." Except for the fact that the ARES V has an extra 1/2 segment, avionics, software....need we continue?
The capstone of the story is that Lindsey says that "NASA spent several years studying architectures and researching every available commercial rocket to find the design that could best accomplish those dual mission objectives in the safest, most reliable way." Einstein's time dilation must have really taken hold of ESAS's 60, er 120, day study as that duration now appears to be turning into Lindsey's years.
For the Emperor to use his commander-in-space-chief status to lord over the astronaut corp hard enough to publish yet another set of half-truths (most of the rest of the country would call them "lies") is, to use a timely phrase, "abominable."