Friday, July 13, 2007

Ares Rising

Scott Horowitz, head of NASA's Exploration Systems Directorate, just announced his resignation for family reasons. He was responsible for developing the Constellation architecture for the Moon, Mars and Beyond. He is a former F-15 pilot and 4-time astronaut. Previously Dr. Horowitz worked at ATK Thiokol, where he championed the use of solid rocket boosters for manned spacecraft. Lunar crews will ascend in a vehicle launched by an ATK booster, then mate with a lunar lander launched by two ATK boosters.

Wednesday night in Chicago this blogger had opportunity to talk with (Doc) Horowitz at length. (More about that meeting soon.) His talk made one more confident that we will reach the Moon. Some of his points:

Ares I is on schedule for test flights in 2009. It will ascend from Launch Complex 39 in between shuttle flights. He expects an initial operating capability for Ares/Orion in first quarter 2015. Ares I will be a big rocket, 263 feet high.

Ares V will be huge. It will carry 270,000 pounds into low Earth orbit, even more than Saturn V. Launching payloads on one big rocket has a smaller chance of failure than assembling many little rockets. The payload may have a diameter up to 10 meters. This capacity opens up many possibilities for Mars and Beyond. (Astronomers, think of the telescopes you could put into Space.)

Astronauts who have done the best at long-duration flights tend to be couch potatoes who rarely exercise. We athletic types have the hardest time adjusting to microgravity. Having worn G-suits as a pilot, he loves the idea of a counter-pressure spacesuit.

This blogger is deeply thankful and appreciative to Dr. Horowitz. Best wishes for his future career. There are many openings for NASA astronauts in the private Space industry.

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2 Comments:

Blogger R2K said...

: )

5:26 PM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

Louise, One consequence of having a variable speed of light is that it raises the question of whether or not the speeds of gravity and light are identical. Just recently, Kea reported that the gravity wave folk are disagreeing with the astronomers over the source of a gamma ray burst.

This could be explained by a difference between the speeds of gravity and light (which happens to be required in my version of particle gravity). Also, WordPress allows LaTex in both blogs and comments, so that is my first attempt at using this very useful feature. (They also allow you to transfer blogs over to WordPress.com fairly easily.)

10:03 AM  

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