January 23, 2008

Mark, if I seem "fixated" on scrapping the Ares I (I don't care what it's replaced with, just that it's something up to the task), it's because I'm one of the people who have to deal directly with its many shortcomings. I'll give you credit for at least not lumping me in with this "internet rocketeer club" of yours for my opposition to the hodgepodge of politics and engineering you yourself seem to have a fixation with defending.

It's worth noting that my gripe is with the first stage of Ares I. Your fixation with the dog's dinner design being worked at present has led you to overlook the possibility that the solid first stage might actually reduce commonality with Ares V...replacing the first stage with (worst case) a clean-sheet liquid design would permit the use of the same first stage engines needed for Ares V, further leveraging the investment on those engines.

Posted by T.L. James on January 23, 2008 12:08 AM | TrackBack


I was going to reply to Mark's post as well, but he so thoroughly misses the point (including missing half of what I said in the very article he linked to), that I wasn't sure if I really wanted to waste my time responding. I still might, but I think you did a good job of highlighting some of the issues.

Posted by: Jonathan Goff at January 23, 2008 05:08 PM

Actually, Tom (and Jon), I'm not defending anything. I'm agonostic when it comes to hardware. I am, however, asking for some kind of evidence that (a) Ares is a complete turkey and (b) some other alternative is better. So far I have seen nothing of the sort. Just bald statements.

In fact, Griffin's recent recap of the rationale behind Ares, which included an examination of the trade offs involved, seemed pretty convincing to me that in the physical and political universe we happen to occupy, Ares is likely the best option. I am, of course, willing to be convinced otherwise, but so far I have not.

Posted by: Mark R. Whittington at January 24, 2008 06:56 AM