As soon as a good defense attorney decides to take a challenging case, he or she will almost immediately move to manipulate the media with messages casting doubt on the credibility of potential witnesses. If the evidence is stacked against their client, they will plant false assumptions in the public mind and let resulting defective conclusions work their way back to the courtroom.
It was not surprising today, then, that Av Week would be handed a still unreleased report on the viability of EELVs to replace the mis-begotten Stick. Sure an EELV can do the job. And it can do the job less expensively. But guess what? It would take seven years to remake the rocket in human-rated form. Come again?
An already 8 for 9 rocket that carries multi-billion dollar satellites to orbit, has no problem getting insurance today. The design, development, and test phase has been paid for. Walk into your favorite EELV store and offer to buy several dozen and watch the prices fall.
But where to set the bar for human rating? If you are trying to get a new rocket built, and you're paying for the study, you set the bar obnoxiously high. Only then can a real rocket fall behind in the race with a paper rocket. Without getting into the tit-for-tat arguments that the Italian Waiter's minions are well studied for, there is only one more thing that our "risk is our middle name" astronauts would like to see over their heads at lift-off.
A reliable launch abort system.
And if a new one of those is going to take seven years to develop, shouldn't we get someone else to take over the job from the current contractors?