Monday, July 6, 2009

Side-Mounted Shuttle-design for Moon found capable by Panel

Once again, as we mentioned in recent days, officials are now confirmed up on Side-Mounted Shuttle booster design for Constellation...

Robert Block
The Wright Stuff Orlando Sentinel Space Editor

July 6 -A study done by NASA engineers at various agency centers on behalf of the U.S. Human Space Flight Review Committee has found that shuttle program manager John Shannon's alternative to the Constellation rockets is capable and affordable.

The alternative rocket is similar to the current space shuttle, except that the orbiter mounted on the side of the fuel tank is replaced by a podlike container resembling a giant car-top carrier. The design is called the Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle, or HLV, and was presented to the committee at its first public hearing June 17.

The study concluded that while the HLV design "is less capable than the current Constellation" rocket plans, it is "capable as demonstrated here."

It found that the rocket "is technically viable and delivers 79.9 [metric tons] to [Low Earth Orbit] and 53.1 [metric tons to the moon.]”

It added: "HLV low development costs allow work to begin now and take advantage of essential contractor and civil service skills before they are lost."

The study was done by Rick Manella for Ralph Roe, the head of NASA's Engineering and Safety Center. Roe is working to help the presidentially appointed panel that is re-examining NASA's man space exploration plans and taking a hard look at the Constellation Program's Ares rockets and Orion capsule.

He was assigned to support the committee members looking at exploration beyond Low Earth Orbit, one of four working subgroups of the committee. The sub-group includes former astronaut Sally Ride, former Boeing engineer Bohdan Bejmuk, commercial space entrepreneur Jeff Greason, Princeton astrophysics professor Christopher Chyba, and the head of the Aerospace Corporation, Wanda Austin.

The Aerospace Corporation, an independent aerospace research group, separately has been asked by the committee to evaluate another alternative, the Jupiter rocket project developed by freelancing NASA engineers and rocket hobbyists called Direct Team.

You can read the Orlando Sentinel's story about the consideration of HLV and Jupiter alternatives here.
Read the Article HERE.

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