Monday, April 05, 2010

Is A Human Space Flight Compromise Emerging? | SpaceRef - Your Space Reference

SpaceRef has an article on a supposed compromise to Obama's proposed neutering of NASA. I'm not sure where the writer got his information, but if the details are correct, I could support this plan.

Is A Human Space Flight Compromise Emerging? | SpaceRef - Your Space Reference: "This is the consensus that seems to forming in and among NASA, OSTP, and NSC: Ares 1 and 5 remain cancelled. Orion is continued - but in a 'Lite' variant designed to ferry people to and from ISS. This 'Orion Lite' would fly on human-rated EELVs and would be, in essence, a government competitor to what NASA is also encouraging the so-called 'Merchant 7' (SpaceX, Orbital et al) to develop. The commercial activities would remain unchanged from what was announced in February. Meanwhile, NASA will continue to fly the Space Shuttle albeit at a stretched out rate (2 or so flights/year) while ET production is restarted.

In addition to closing the 'gap' for American human spaceflight, stretched out Space Shuttle operations will allow a rapid implementation of a Shuttle-C ('Sidemount') HLV to be developed. This Shuttle-C HLV will carry cargo, but no crew. The Shuttle-C will be a direct upgrade to the existing Space Shuttle Orbiter system with only the Orbiter replaced with engines and a cargo carrier. Everything else remains the way it is now."

"While keeping Orion alive, NASA will also seek to develop a human-rated exploration spacecraft that only operates in space. The initial version will likely use unused ISS modules (enhanced MPLMs, Node X, Hab Module, ISS ECLSS) and Constellation systems. Its component parts would be launched by the Shuttle/Shuttle-C. The exploration vehicle will be assembled on-orbit at the ISS. This exploration spacecraft will be a pathfinder for more complex systems that will be able to traverse cis-lunar space on a regular basis."

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