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The White House proposes a budget. Congress then decides whether to approve it or not. If they don't approve it, the White House can work with Congress to reach a budget that will pass.
It's not rocket science.
That's cool! I appreciate your concerns about Constellation. There's a lot of bad press and unfortunate misinformation floating around, yet despite that it's extremely important to listen to the criticism.
Ares may be a polished turd, but it's the best turd ever built to date. It has the most thorough fault detection, caution and warning and abort systems of any human rated launch vehicle. First stage is reusable, just like Shuttle solid rocket motors. Hypergol and cryogenic handling is safer and more efficient than legacy systems. Block II first stages may even eliminate hydrazine completely in favor of electromechanial thrust vector control actuators. If first stage leaks, at a case or nozzle joint, the resulting side thrust can be easily countered until the end of first stage burn. Since it's not a side-mount, the escaping gas won't harm anything. We've got fault detection in both the forward and aft skirt in case of leaks on either end of the case.
1. "Black zones": In the event of an uncontained failure, the launch abort system can escape cleanly even near max Q. Ares has no "black zones", despite what the tinfoil crew may claim. Escaping from an uncontained failure is not just a requirement for solid boosters; liquid engines can blow up, too.
2. Thermal Protection Systems (TPS): Orion has sufficient thermal protection to make a worst case straight in ballistic re-entry at any point during ascent, and the capsule floats well enough and has enough life support on board to safely come down anywhere on the planet. The competing lightweight commercial capsules, launched on EELV's, do not have TPS scaled for re-entry from a lunar mission, and it's unknown if they'd even survive the heat of a ballstic North Atlantic re-entry.
3. Failsafe insertion: Ares inserts Orion in an elliptical orbit with a negative perigee altitude. If something goes horribly wrong on Orion, they come down safely in half a rev. Contrast this with the CCTS approach, naively copied from commercial satellite launching - they put their capsule (and upper stage) into a long lifetime circular orbit. If the capsule has a failure, they're stuck up there. Depending on which version you look at, the commercial crew aren't even wearing launch and entry suits.
Ares I is the safest rocket ever built. I'm proud to be a part of it. Regardless what goes on at the executive level, Constellation remains the Program of Record and it will literally take an act of Congress to kill it. Until then, Obama's proposed budget is just that: proposed.
no possibility of practical stage re-use.
The solid rocket motors are reusable. I'm sorry, but you're wrong.
Once the rocket segments have been poured and cured they're effectively "loaded" and have to be handled with great care to make sure there's no possibility of accidental ignition -- something totally avoided with liquid fuel rockets where the oxidiser and fuel are kept completely separately
Red herring argument. Cryogenic liquid oxygen is way more dangerous and expensive to handle than loaded solid propellant.
I'm just glad that the Ares-I got cancelled before it killed yet more astronauts.
It isn't canceled. Constellation won't be canceled unless congress approves the Obama budget. Unless that happens, NASA is required by law to continue working the program of record.
Just curious: which space industry do you work in? Your British spelling makes me curious