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Ares I Rocket Rumored To Be Too Heavy 165

eldavojohn writes "In an article entitled "Constellation Battles the Blogosphere," problems with the Ares I lift vehicle are dispelled by NASA. An e-mail containing the rumor that the payload was a metric ton too heavy spurred this post which caused a lot of sidelines speculation that NASA might be setting themselves up for failure and simply need to start over. From the article, '[M]any who carp from the sidelines do not seem to understand the systems engineering process. They instead want to sensationalize any issue to whatever end or preferred outcome they wish," wrote Jeff Hanley the NASA official leading the development of the rockets and spacecraft the United States is building to replace the space shuttle and to return to the Moon.' The article also mentions that NASA looked at 10,000 to 20,000 different iterations of designs in their "Exploration Systems Architecture Study." As armchair speculators of space exploration, do our posts & blogs create negative fallout for NASA or is public criticism like this healthy for keeping government agencies in line?"
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Ares I Rocket Rumored To Be Too Heavy

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  • False (Score:5, Informative)

    by falcon5768 ( 629591 ) <Falcon5768@comca ... t minus language> on Monday November 20, 2006 @12:34PM (#16916168) Journal
    The "rumor" was started by a guy who is well known to post junk. This was the same guy who after Challenger said that the Shuttle fleet was going to be canned and that no more would ever be produced saying he heard "directly from Griffin."

    NASA has responded to this rumor over a week ago BTW. []

    Its basically a bunch of bullshit, shame on Slashdot for posting about a story that was a non-issue weeks ago.

  • Re:Carp (Score:2, Informative)

    by doctor_nation ( 924358 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @12:39PM (#16916250)
    The first definition in the Merriam-Webster dictionary: Main Entry: carp Pronunciation: 'kärp Function: intransitive verb Etymology: Middle English, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Icelandic karpa to dispute : to find fault or complain querulously - carper noun
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Monday November 20, 2006 @12:41PM (#16916280) Journal
    Its basically a bunch of bullshit, shame on Slashdot for posting about a story that was a non-issue weeks ago.
    And if you read the article that I linked to from, the topic was the fact that this is BS causing NASA problems. I posted this story to raise the discussion and awareness of misinformation causing problems for NASA despite their rigorous methodologies (which I also linked to).

    I apologize if you and anyone who feels like I propagated FUD, I only meant to draw attention to the fact that it was mere rumors causing a severe amount of fall out that should never have happened. Hence my final sentence in the submission.
  • by amightywind ( 691887 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @12:57PM (#16916578) Journal

    These are normal development issues. Here [] is a good summary. Also it is not the Ares I launch vehicle that is overweight, but the Orion CEV.

  • It will never work! (Score:5, Informative)

    by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @01:08PM (#16916740) Homepage Journal
    Everybody knows that a Rocket must have something to push against to fly. A rocket will never work in space. I know because I read this in the New York Times!

    In other words nothing new. People that can write seem to think they always have something worth saying.
    BTW the New York Times did print a retraction of that statement on July 20th 1969.
  • Re:The Russians (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chairboy ( 88841 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @01:13PM (#16916808) Homepage
    Of possible interest, there might be a couple of people that don't know that the phrase referenced above is an urban legend. Fisher developed the pen on their own without any tax payer money, NASA thought it was a neat idea and bought some. The russians.... also bought them. Nobody wants conductive graphite shavings floating behind circuit panels. Well, nobody except Jello Biafra and anyone else who delights in the death of astronauts/cosmonauts.

    It's terribly off-topic, I know, but hopefully it's interesting enough to avoid burnination.
  • by oni ( 41625 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @01:22PM (#16916944) Homepage
    "An e-mail containing the rumor that the payload was a metric ton too heavy"

    So, people honestly think that actual engineers, with actual engineering degrees, and actual engineering experience - people who can calculate exactly how much compression force a load-bearnig wall is under, and exactly how much tension the cables on a bridge need to be able to withstand, and exactly where to point and how much thrust is needed to send Cassini inward to Mercury, then back out past Venus, then inward again, then past Earth, then past Jupiter, and go into orbit at SAturn - going right past Titan so that it can release a probe...

    *takes a breath* ... and yet these same engineers just randomly throw an engine onto a rocket while screaming "ye haw!!" and hope that it works??

    And then some random guy on the Internets looks over their work and says, "whoa guys, I may not have any education or experience and not even be able to balance my checkbook, but it looks to me that you're 1 metric ton too heavy."

    Is that how the world works?
  • by flying_monkies ( 749570 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @02:01PM (#16917580)
    These are also the same people who forgot to standardize between metric and U.S. measurements for a Mars probe,1282,31631, 00.html [] and installed an accelerometer backwards in the Genesis probe []. Smart people make simple mistakes all of the time. Is that the case here? Probably not, but it is always worth taking a second look.
  • Easy proof (Score:4, Informative)

    by heroine ( 1220 ) on Monday November 20, 2006 @03:15PM (#16918874) Homepage
    Download Orbiter. Track down and download the Aries 1 simulation. It can't reach orbit using the SRB and the J2 stages. It needs to burn the service module engine for a long time. The service module is part of the 50,000 - 60,000 lb payload that supposedly can be put into orbit by the first 2 stages but really requires the first 2 stages + part of the payload. Their payload target of course has a 20% margin of error.

  • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <> on Monday November 20, 2006 @03:52PM (#16919510) Homepage
    Why not ask questions of the people at NASA? They have been designing, building, and testing rockets for decades.

    Actually - they haven't. The last booster designed by NASA was the Shuttle, back in the 70's. What few efforts they've undertaken since then have been more to keep the teams busy and employed than actually producing useful hardware.
    Most arm-chair rocket scientists have no practical experience in doing things on the scale NASA does.

    As I state above - they real problem is that NASA doesn't have any practical experience at any scale. The guys who last handled these kinds of problems/systems were the guys who did Apollo - and they are all retired. The Shuttle guys have been all about operations, not R&D on a new[ish] booster system.
    The hard reality is that nobody has recent experience in designing new[ish] large boosters. Even the Russians have limited themselves to modest stretches of existing designs, or doing minor retooling on designs from the late 80's or early 90's. The Chinese are using a stretch of either the Long March II ICBM (vintage late 80's or early 90's in design, even earlier in technology) or modifications of the same Soyuz booster the Soviets rely so much on. Niether the Japanese, nor the Indians or the Brazilians have anything this size. Nor is anything better on the ESA side of the house - the Ariane V design also stretches back over fifteen years.
  • by Archeopteryx ( 4648 ) * <benburch&pobox,com> on Monday November 20, 2006 @05:36PM (#16921172) Homepage
    I think you fail to get it. A low performance engine cannot lift ANYTHING into space. No matter how cheap a reliable.

    I suggest you peruse "Thrust Into Space" by Maxwell W. Hunter III if you want to see why laid out in terms for the non-aerospace engineer.

    You need amazing thrust at a very high specific impulse.

    You need to keep the engine and airframe as light as possible consistent with safely containing the fuel, resisting gravity and aerodynamic loads and transmitting the thrust to the payload.

    These are not trivial problems at all.

    Which is why you get designs like the Atlas I which was a huge inflated aluminum balloon.

A bug in the code is worth two in the documentation.