Thursday, October 22, 2009

R.I.P. Altair

17 comments:

mp_meijering said...

WTF? Work continues on an unnecessary SDLV and the one piece of a moon program you cannot possibly leave out - the bleeping lander - is cancelled? Are they going to use broomsticks or something? Criminal mismanagement of federal funds, thy name is Constellation.

See Lunar Escape Systems.

Anonymous said...

Never existed!

Anonymous said...

It is a funny little report that fails to converge to the only workable solution that fits within the budget. It implies that heavy lift is mandatory with the proviso that we ignore orbital depots. In fact the depots would just be in the way of heavy lift. Then proceeds to show how the assumption of heavy lift breaks the bank. The obvious solution is to change the bad assumption! Not following through on this obvious next step is either laziness or bias.

It makes a priority out of not perturbing the NASA way of doing business - even though that perturbation is EXACTLY what is required to get the job done in budget. It isn't an option! It is mandatory to use commercial suppliers wherever possible and for NASA to stop doing things the way they are doing them. If and only if that is done will we get to anywhere above 386 miles and STAY there. It should have manned up and just said: your system is broke and MUST be fixed for anything useful to be done in the future.

I find it appalling that they just parroted the ARES I assurance of safety while simultaneously recognizing that the thing would fly a couple times a year at most and be the most immature crewed launcher ever. Artists are allowed to have cognitive dissonance- not aerospace engineers. The latter findings override the prayer-based ARES I safety numbers. This should have been clearly stated.

Calling the Space Shuttle the most reliable vehicle by drawing a line at heavy lift is simple obfuscation. especially since the majority of the mass lifted is in the overweight payload fairing that is the orbiter. It is the useful mass that matters. There are launch systems with perfect operational records reaching back 15 years. Those launchers happen to be a key to success here.

It is a weird conclusion that a Delta HLV which is an existing and flight proven thing that you can order would show no time or cost advantage over vehicles that are paper. This is absurd on the surface as are the cost assumptions. Then in the next breath they state that commercial launchers are a damn good idea. I think these guys needed to talk more.

The amusing aspect is how important the cost of the NASA facilities is to the entire equation. You simply must out and out eliminate them to obtain the needed future flexibility. The estimates of $11B are a load of FUD. The value of the real estate alone probably runs into the billions. WIth the concrete shoes of obsolete and unneeded facilities you simply can't run- you can't even finish the race.

Anonymous said...

The true tragedy will occur when the axe swings and all those minions are forced out into the real world. They will spread their incompetent ways to other companies, to other industries, multiplying the misery that they have already caused.

QuantumG said...

I'm honestly surprised it was funded in the first place.

BenRG said...

Altair! It was big, unweildy and ambitious. It needed to do things that no proposed crew lander before it had to do because of massive weight limits on the orbiter. It also had the misfortune of needing to be developed from scratch in parallel with two launch vehicles and an orbiter at a time when NASA's budgets had never been tighter.

In retrospect... is it any surprise that we are here?

~

Ben the Space Brit

Anonymous said...

"The true tragedy will occur when the axe swings and all those minions are forced out into the real world. They will spread their incompetent ways to other companies, to other industries, multiplying the misery that they have already caused."

You seem to be under the strange delusion that senior managers will be losing their jobs.

ROTFLMAO!

Anonymous said...

Can I keep my Altair patch as a momento, or do I have to turn it in? It's the one thing that was actually designed and built - and deployed.

Anonymous said...

No delusion at all. The senior types will land on their feet. The lower level engineers, the ones that couldn't pour it out of a boot will labor on with all the bad habits they learned on Ares 1.

They will be under the illusion that they did it right when the opposite is the case. Trying to break them of their bad habits will be a monumental task!

AEL said...

Is there any more information about this?
I haven't seen any news at all about the Altair lander lately?

Nathan R said...

I thought that all that has happened is that they have simply run out of funds this year having spent the budgeted amount?

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite bits of space trivia is a Space Shuttle Discovery- Vandenberg AFB T Shirt I found at
a thrift shop one day.

Now I just need to look for an
Ares 1 and Altair Lunar Lander T Shirt to round out the collection

Anonymous said...

AEL, it was reported the day before this blog post on NSF.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2009/10/bolden-directs-msfc-special-team-to-evaluate-hlv-alternatives/

AEL said...

Thank You for the link.

Anonymous said...

So, what happen to R-man?

11/11/09

Anonymous said...

It was rather interesting for me to read that post. Thank author for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read more soon.

Anonymous said...

We miss your discussions ... You started on Oct. 27 of 2007 and ended on that same date? Any more to come?