Monday, October 26, 2009

A Vision briefly becomes reality

It's been the subject of artist's impressions so often the actual sight of an Ares I-X towering over Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center might seem an anticlimax.

Nevertheless, as Robert Block of the Orlando Sentinel's The Wright Stuff rightly points this morning to a treatment of the real thing by "storied and award-winning photojournalist Red Huber," who "has taken a fantastic series of pictures of Aries I-X" at KSC.

"The rocket is due to lift off on its 28-mile, two minute suborbital journey on Tuesday at 8 a.m. though the weather may not cooperate. NASA managers can wait until Noon Tuesday before having to stand down to try again on Wednesday."

Although the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee, chaired by Norm Augustine, is not being celebrated for its few very specific recommendations, among their actual recommendation released last week is to scrap the Ares I as America's next humans-only rocket.

The Augustine committee also sees no way to avoid at least a seven-year gap in NASA's manned spaceflight capability after the Space Shuttle is grounded a year from now.

Anyway you look at it, it may be while before any notion of America's future manned spaceflight capability actually presents itself as a sight "to steal your breath away."

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