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.