Broadcast 1167 (Special Edition)

02 Jun 2009 Ross Tierney
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Guest: Ross Tierney. Topics: Direct 3.0, heavy lift, Ares 1, Ares V. Ross Tierney was our guest to update us on progress with the Direct alternative to the costly Ares 1 and Ares V launchers. We referenced several websites during this program and here are the web links to what we mentioned. First, for the DIRECT discussion thread at the nasaspaceflight forum, please use http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=17295.msg415258;topicse.... To see the Workforce Transition Strategy Document Ross talked about in terms of NASA layoffs and related issues, please see http://www1.nasa.gov/pdf/281712main_Workforce%20_Transition%20_Strategy_.... To visit the Direct website, visit www.directlauncher.com. Note that they will soon have information on Direct 3.0 on this site so be patient. Email to Ross or for inquiries about Direct 3.0, please use info@directlauncher.com. Ross started our discussion with an introduction to the Direct Launcher program. He then described the new version 3.0. Most of the differences from 2.0 to 3.0 are focused on the need to move away from the R68 engine which has proven problematic for the Atlas 5. So listen to the details on this discussion and how Direct 3.0 does something different to avoid R68 engine problems and still come away with performance and other noteworthy efficiencies with configuration alternatives. A listener asked about the per launch or flight cost comparison with the Jupiter 130 versus the Ares 1. Ross said that the per flight cost for Jupiter might be about $40 million higher than for Ares but the development cost for Jupiter was about $5 billion less than Ares so its more than a desirable trade. You will hear the full details of this discussion on this show. Lots of time was spent talking about work force issues as the Ares program requires the loss of around 4,500 jobs. Direct does not. Listen to what was said about the impact of the loss of these 4,500 jobs and why the Direct program does not facilitate job loss. Also, download and read the Workforce Transition Strategy document referenced above. This is important for our future civil space development. Another listener sent in a series of questions about specific dry weight growth margin for Direct 3.0 as well as performance loss reserves in comparison to Ares and based on the GAO study about the growth of dry weight, etc. The concern was that Direct 3.0 will experience growth rates as well and that in the end, their performance and costs will be adversely impacted. Ross responded to each of these questions so listen to the discussion and see what you think. The discussion centered around heritage and new items. Several listeners asked why we simpldy don't use the EELVs instead of developing a new booster. See what you think of the way Ross responded to these issues. For the most part, if the intent is to stay in LEO, EELVs may be adequate. If the intent is to move beyond LEO, EELVs are not the best way to do that and the new booster would be required. Another topic that was discussed in detail was the cost of Ares 1 and V and what these increasing costs are doing to the overall NASA budget and programs, including labor force. Ross showed us that this is where Direct has many advantages as its costs are far less than Ares and do not impact the full NASA budget in the way Ares 1 and Ares V do. Again, listen and see what you think about this issue. We talked about Direct 3.0 getting a chance to make its case before the Augustine Panel. When we know how to provide feedback and suggestions to the panel, I will announce the information on The Space Show. Ross was not at all sure that Direct would get the opportunity to present its case to the Augustine Panel but remains optimistic despite having heard rumors to the contrary. When possible, I urge all listeners to provide feedback. If you visit the forum at nasaspaceflight.com and you want to exchange chat or comments with Ross Tierney, note that he uses the ScreenName of KRAISEE. So if you see that name online, its Ross Tierney. As always, you can also send your comments for Ross to me at drspace@thespaceshow.com and I will forward them to him.

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