Lobbying, NASA

Mind the space gap

While some people are lobbying to extend the life of the space shuttle, others are using NASA’s current uncertainty to press for radial changes to Constellation, up to and including cancellation. The latest effort along those lines is the Space Frontier Foundation’s “Mind the Space Gap” campaign, discussed by Foundation co-founder Jim Muncy during the Space Access ’09 conference in Phoenix on Saturday.

Muncy noted that a gap in US government human spaceflight capability between the shuttle’s retirement and its successor’s introduction was inherent in the Vision for Space Exploration, lasting up to four years. However, when Mike Griffin became administrator, he sought to reduce that gap to two years. “That four-year gap was unseemly,” Muncy said, using the word Griffin himself ascribed to the gap. “That became the idée fixe, the central goal, the organizing principle of his exploration architecture,” which took form in the Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS).

If ESAS was intended to narrow the shuttle-Constellation gap, it failed. Muncy referred to an Orlando Sentinel article last week that put the total price of Constellation to initial operational capacity (IOC) at $44 billion, with IOC slipping to late 2016 or even 2017. In other words, in the 3.5 years since ESAS was announced, IOC had slipped by up to five years, with consequences for the goal of returning humans to the Moon by 2020. “You’re not going to get to the Moon by 2019 or 2020; you’re not going to get back there in the first half of the following decade,” he said.

“NASA has failed by its own standard, the gap,” Muncy concluded. “In the words of the former NASA administrator, this architecture is ‘unseemly’.” He argued that ESAS be cancelled and that NASA should try to reduce the gap through efforts like COTS Capability D or other “non-traditional crew options”. Orion, in turn, should be redesigned to fly on an EELV. (That, he added, is more feasible than some have argued because the launch abort system for Orion on Ares 1 is 8,000 pounds heavier than the system for on EELV, in order to get the capsule safely away from the powerful, accelerating Ares 1.)

Muncy said the Foundation would be stepping up its efforts to kill ESAS and Ares 1 and put through the alternative he outlined in the Space Access talk. “Today is the beginning of that effort.” More information about it will be forthcoming from the Foundation in the near future (as of Sunday afternoon there was nothing posted on their web site).

33 comments to Mind the space gap

  • red

    Jim talk makes a lot of sense to me. Here are a couple more takes on his Space Access talk from Rand Simberg and Clark Lindsey:

    http://www.transterrestrial.com/?p=17865

    http://www.hobbyspace.com/nucleus/index.php?itemid=11666

    Clark is also building a page with links to other posts on the conference:

    http://www.hobbyspace.com/AAdmin/archive/SpecialTopics/Events/2009/SpaceAccess-2009.html

  • Spiff

    Not sure whether this works in the long term.

    If you use EELVs, you still need to develop more powerful solid-fuel boosters for an Ares V-Saturn V class launcher. You’re spending money on EELVs plus solid booster development.

    By developing Ares I they are working on the Ares V boosters at the same time. Saves some time and money.

  • If you use EELVs, you still need to develop more powerful solid-fuel boosters for an Ares V-Saturn V class launcher.

    Only if you need such a class of booster. Simply put, it is unneeded.

  • Major Tom

    “By developing Ares I they are working on the Ares V boosters at the same time. Saves some time and money.”

    Not when the solid rocket motors for Ares V have a different number of segments than Ares I.

    FWIW…

  • Expensive Failure

    Kind of late to the party aren’t they?

    Three and a half years late by my accounting.

  • anonanon

    Two things: There’s a backflip in the assertion that NASA has “slipped up to five years.” The gap was four years when Griffin started, and the 2017 date is not official, but even if it is that makes the slip three years. Also, that original estimate was based upon expected funding that NASA did not get to perform the work (i.e. the continuing resolution) and several other cost assumptions that were false.

    There seems to be this effort to portray Griffin as the worst administrator ever and to ignore the fact that he was dealt some bad budget hands. How many of these critics have ever run a multi-billion dollar technical program?

  • MarkWhittington

    Anonanon, SFF’s campaign against the Ares will likely turn out as quixotic as all of the other SFF campaigns (remember Save Mir?) But is does give the opportunity for people to beat their chests and wax wroth.

    VSE is not alone, by the way, in having schedule slippages. Many of the private space projects, such as Falcon and Virgin Galactic, have slipped as well. They don’t call it rocket science because it’s easy.

  • RayGun

    Its time to reevaluate the options. Griffin did leave NASA in a world of hurt. Ares 1 should of been killed when SSME couldn’t be used. Lets give the 44 billion to Lockheed, Boeing, SpaceX, and whoever else that has a credible plan for affordable space access.

  • Jim Muncy

    I absolutely NEVER said that Mike was a bad NASA Administrator, or anywhere near the worst. He made numerous positive reforms in many areas… and COTS itself exists thanks to Mike.

    I did say that his ESAS plan is failing, and must be changed.

    And AnonAnon… I agree that 2017 is only 3 years past the US Space Exploration Policy date, but it is 5 years past the date promised if we adopted on the Ares 1 semi-shuttle-derived architecture.

    And Whittington… it is not a campaign against Ares 1. It is a campaign to minimize the Space Gap.

    And the Foundation has successfully advocated/attacked many good/bad programs. Oh, and Mir stayed alive an extra year, much to Dan Goldin’s dismay.

  • This article has been added to the Astronomy Link List.

  • John Malkin

    Ray – Doesn’t ATK, Lockheed and Boeing already have the bulk of the money?

    Also if the EELV is so good why hasn’t SpaceX, PlanetSpace or Orbital used it in their architectures? Virgin Galactic is suborbital they are many years away from an orbital vehicle. Isn’t PlanetSpace closer to Ares I than any EELV?

  • Jim Muncy

    John,

    Planetspace bid EELV for their crew option in COTS round 2, and bid EELV for their initial launch option in ISS Cargo Services.

    SpaceDev and t/Space both bid EELV for COTS round 2. As of course did Boeing, which came in second to Orbital.

    Bigelow has worked on using Atlas V for human transport.

    For the record, I have no problems with folks using Falcon 9 (or Falcon 13?, aka BFR), since that is approaching flight status. Ares 1 is not.

    I make no technical criticism whatsoever of Ares 1. It is simply not affordable within likely budgets, unless we don’t care about actually going beyond Earth orbit (i.e. give Ares 1 the Ares 5 and Altair budgets).

    – Jim

  • richardb

    The 4 year Gap has existed since before Griffin became administrator and it was he who warned of the consequences of the Gap 4 years ago

    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1018
    and here
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2006/02/17/1572935.htm

    Where Mr. Griffin is guilty is in overselling Ares I availability. He of all people should have known it would need alot more funding than the administration was proposing in order to shrink that Gap.

    The big joke is how paltry the needed amount would have been. If starting in 2004, an extra 2 billion/yr was added to Ares I, J2X and Orion we probably would have a 4-5 year gap. In today’s Federal funding world 2 billion is less than significant but that wasn’t the case in the much more fiscally constrained Bush years.

    Now I worry if Shuttle is extended indefinitely, its funding requirements will crowd out Ares I or its replacement to well past 2020.

  • What The

    I make no technical criticism whatsoever of Ares 1.

    So you crash the party three and a half years late, and you freely admit to invited guests that you have no idea what the party is all about. That a stunning admission of ignorance and incompetence coming from you.

    That one statement dam_s you and your organization. You really need to find another line of work, because someone with your level of ignorance and incompetence of the real issues involved shouldn’t be running an organization that claims to represent an endevour that ABOVE ALL ESLE requires competence in engineering design and technical expertise.

  • anonanon

    “I absolutely NEVER said that Mike was a bad NASA Administrator, or anywhere near the worst. He made numerous positive reforms in many areas… and COTS itself exists thanks to Mike.”

    I did not mean to imply that you did, so I apologize. And the above article implied, but never stated, that in your talk you referred to a five-year slip.

    My comments were more general and aimed at the widespread criticism of both ESAS and Griffin, with no acknowledgment that Griffin was dealt a bad budget hand soon after he entered office. Money that was supposed to be there was not there. By his own admission, he sought again and again to get the required funds and was denied. Quite often this criticism comes from people who not only have no program management experience, but in fact have no experience working in the space field. Everything looks easy, and other people look stupid, to someone who has not actually worked in the field itself.

  • Wasted Effort

    Griffin was dealt a bad budget hand soon after he entered office.

    You still don’t get it. It has nothing to do with budget, they were supposed to get by with what they had. Ares I and Orion should have never left the napkin, they were bad engineering designs SINCE DAY ONE. The time and money wasted on this was entirely predictable, and predictable as the folly of invading Afghanistan and Iraq. Any more time and money thrown at it will be WASTED, contrary to the prognostications and legislative manueverings of the scientifically illiterate public, and the so called ‘representatives and senators they elect to ‘lead’ them..

  • MarkWhittington

    <>
    Muncy – I wonder if cancelling Ares and then throw open the choice of a replacement architecture to the political process is the best way to narrow the space flight gap. I’m all in favor of funding COTS D, but considering that there is argumemt about (a) whether Ares really is a turkey or not and (b) what would replace it if it were I wonder if once again SFF is embarking on a useless effort.

  • Jim Muncy

    Anon,

    I agree that Mike did not get the budgets originally predicted. But an architecture that depends on every possible dollar, rather than having significant budgetary margins, is (or should be) by definition a flawed architecture.

    Mark,

    I did not throw open the choice of a replacement architecture to the political process.

    I said: fund COTS D, fly Orion on EELV Heavy, and pursue the lowest cost, lowest risk medium-heavy (not super-heavy) lift for exploration.
    This is probably some flavor of Shuttle C, but the requirement is cost-to-develop and cost-to-operate. I pointed out that this latter could be done much sooner than Ares 5.

    – Jim

  • pHILLIP

    Ares was a bad implementation of ESAS. Ares I should be killed off ASAP. Fund COTS-D and an EELV for a short process of getting to LEO. Going to the moon, then why not Direct?

    If you think about it, what is killing the program is the underperforming Ares I. Ares I was meant to be “Safe, Simple, soon”. If soon, is 13 years since it was proposed, I hate to see what normal or late is. SpaceX has had there share of battles, but nothing like Ares. We are going to spend how many billions, to get what? People to LEO. Not worth the money–let the commerical market have it. Give them $1B and it will still be over $15B cheaper than Ares I.

    Ares V??? That is a differant story–slim it down to use SSME and use RL-10 for an upper stage and guess what, we may be at the moon in 2016. Ares V is trying to outbad even Van Buarn!!! It needs so nuch new infrastructure that it is not even funny. Ares V is so overweight that it needs a new crawler. Ares V needs to go on a diet!!!

  • red

    anonanon: “Griffin was dealt a bad budget hand soon after he entered office.”

    Some people here have been saying for years that Ares is looking for more money that it’s likely to get. That’s turned out to be true in recent years, and I imagine it will continue to be true if Ares is kept, resulting in continued slips in the schedule and continued overall rising costs, even if no additional technical problems are encountered.

    In fact the budget that Ares actually got was too much. In combination with Shuttle cost increases, it wound up taking budget from many other NASA programs.

    As an example, there’s no reason in the VSE why Ares had to carry 4 astronauts to the Moon per trip. That Griffin-driven “requirements creep” has nothing to do with the VSE goals, and it made the whole effort harder to implement.

  • red

    I wonder if we’ll see something similar to this in the NASA budget? How would Ares fare?

    “U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced a 2010 Pentagon budget Monday that reflects major changes in the “scope and significance” of Defense Department priorities.

    The proposed budget cuts several traditional big-ticket items while investing in programs designed to bolster the military’s ability to wage an ongoing conflict against terrorists and other extremist elements in multiple regions at the same time.

    Gates acknowledged that parts of the budget are likely to run into significant opposition on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are concerned in part about preserving valuable defense contracts for their districts and states.

    He called on Congress to “rise above parochial interests and consider what is in the best interests of the nation as a whole.”

    House Armed Service Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Missouri, acknowledged that congressmen have concerns about job losses in their home districts but said that ultimately, “the national interest overrides anything.”

    Former Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, however, said Gates’ budget “is a major step in the right direction.”

    “It has long been necessary to shift spending away from weapon systems plagued by scheduling and cost overruns to ones that strike the correct balance between the needs of our deployed forces and the requirements for meeting the emerging threats of tomorrow,” he said.

    “I believe Secretary Gates’ decision is key to ensuring that the defense establishment closes the gap between the way it supports current operations and the way it prepares for future conventional threats.””

    It even tries to close a “gap” …

  • Dave Huntsman

    Red, I think your last argument is closest to the mark. What Bob Gates did is a wholesale reappraisal: are we even building the right things, to fight the right conflicts? And my look at his list of decisions says he did a pretty good job.

    That is what we need now, for NASA. And this Administration has the type of mindset that might allow that; ie, is NASA even doing the right thing, have the right few strategic goals? While I understand where Jim Muncy and SFF are coming from – I’ve said one or two things similar, in fact, these last two years – that’s still trying to redesign the system within the current paradigm and priorities. But it is the paradigm and priorities that need reassessing even more than the specific design solutions.

    NASA – including under Mike Griffin – has been running in a mode that in many ways is closer to the traditional DOD mode; ie, like DOD not just in procurement, but also in fighting the last big manned space war, instead of reassessing the future. (With the exception of the COTS development. But, even COTS was implemented in a way that would not survive detailed scrutiny completely, if but our IG and GAO offices had been on the ball and done so).

    We need a Bob Gates-equivalent for space, frankly. Unfortunately, of all the names for NASA Administrator or Deputy Administrator that have been floated, not one is such a person; and some are just the opposite.

  • Al Fansome

    WHAT THE: “So you crash the party three and a half years late, and you freely admit to invited guests that you have no idea what the party is all about. That a stunning admission of ignorance and incompetence coming from you.”

    Factually Incorrect. The Foundation may have been the first to this party.

    FACT: Almost 3 years ago, on July 24, 2006, the Foundation published a 18-page policy paper “Unaffordable and Unsustainable?: Signs of Failure in NASA’s Earth-to-orbit Space Transportation Strategy”

    http://space-frontier.org/Presentations/unaffordable.html

    FWIW,

    – Al

    PS — BTW, the “Appendix” is interesting. The Foundation makes some predictions of the future, which is quite risky. See below. Many of those predictions are proving to be correct (emphasis below is mine).

    Assuming nothing significant changes, we predict:

    • NASA will attempt to delay and avoid reporting to the public and Congress on the increasing costs in the Constellation program (CEV, CLV and CaLV). NASA public statements on the Constellation program will be characterized by a distinct lack of cost information.

    In spite of NASA’s best efforts to keep it quiet, there will be a constant trickle of news about mounting costs by the increasing number of blogs with access to NASA information. The Internet empowers and frees, and is the enemy of bureaucracy.

    • As NASA’s credibility deteriorates, serious space reporters will increasingly ask NASA executives questions about cost (affordability) and schedule (sustainability)

    The Constellation Program will (continue) to eat the budgets for science, COTS, aeronautics, and other NASA activities

    The CEV will be overweight, and over budget

    • To fix the CEV weight problems, the capabilities of the CEV will be reduced, or the size and cost of the LVs (CLV and CaLV) will be significantly increased

    The near-term CEV schedule will slip to the right

    The gap in U.S. human spaceflight will increase. There will be no U.S. government human presence in space in 2014 (unless COTS succeeds, which is possible but unlikely with only two-to-three under-funded winners.)

  • Dennis Wingo

    I agree that Mike did not get the budgets originally predicted. But an architecture that depends on every possible dollar, rather than having significant budgetary margins, is (or should be) by definition a flawed architecture.

    Mike did not get the budgets originally predicted because he ignored the administration in the ESAS implementation. Marburger made that perfectly clear when ESAS went off the rails from the VSE intent.

  • Major Tom

    “There’s a backflip in the assertion that NASA has ‘slipped up to five years.'”

    No there’s not. With the qualifier “up to”, Mr. Foust’s statement is factually correct. We don’t yet know how much Ares I/Orion has slipped, but it’s up to five years.

    “The gap was four years when Griffin started,”

    Not true. Griffin set a goal of flying the CEV (now Orion) by 2012 when ESAS and Apollo-on-steroids was rolled out. That would have made the gap two years. See:

    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=18155

    Constellation has failed to meet Griffin’s 2012 goal and the Bush II Administration’s VSE 2014 goal.

    [quote]
    and the 2017 date is not official
    [/quote]

    It’s only a matter of time at this point. There’s an article at Florida Today that tallies up the schedule slippage that’s already occurred in some of the milestones preceding the 2015 IOC:

    “Ares 1-X test flight was scheduled for 2nd quarter of 2009 and has since been delayed to the 3rd quarter.

    AA-1 Transonic test flight was scheduled for 3rd quarter of 2009 and has since been delayed one year to the 3rd quarter of 2010.

    Pad Abort 2 test was scheduled for 2nd quarter of 2010 and has since been rescheduled for 4th quarter of 2012, more than two years later.

    Ares 1-Y test flight was scheduled for mid-2012 and is now scheduled for mid to late 2013.

    AA-2 max-q test flight was scheduled for 3rd quarter of 2010 and is now set for 4th quarter of 2011.”

    A program can’t continue to slip critical tests like these and still hold to an IOC date. The bow wave of deferred work building up behind the 2015 IOC is unsustainable.

    Even more worrisome from the Florida Today article:

    “Some tests and test flights have been eliminated from the schedule altogether…”

    Here’s the link to the Florida Today article:

    http://www.floridatoday.com/content/blogs/space/2009/04/see-for-yourself-if-ares-orion-are-on.shtml

    None of this should be a surprise to anyone if they’ve been keeping up with CBO and GAO reports on Constellation. Just a little over five months ago, CBO warned that IOC would slip 18 months to 2017:

    “… the costs that the agency currently foresees for the Ares 1 and Orion programs could rise by 50 percent. Accommodating that cost growth would require as much as $7 billion more than NASA has budgeted, CBO estimates. Moreover, if NASA’s total budget grew by no more than 2 percent annually, such cost increases, in CBO’s estimation, would imply a delay of as much as 18 months beyond March 2015 for the vehicles to achieve the IOC milestone.”

    See:

    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=29684

    GAO has also long warned that the long tentpole work on J-2X alone will likely take until 2017.

    “Also, that original estimate was based upon expected funding that NASA did not get to perform the work (i.e. the continuing resolution) and several other cost assumptions that were false.”

    VSE funding shortfalls are smaller than the amount that ESAS busted the VSE budget from day one, requiring the cancellation of most ISS research, nuclear power and propulsion (Project Prometheus) work, and other exploration technology development.

    “There seems to be this effort to portray Griffin as the worst administrator ever”

    If our yardstick for NASA Administrator is getting actual human space exploration beyond LEO restarted, then Griffin’s heavy investment in a duplicative, incredibly expensive, and hard to build LEO space transportation system runs opposite to that goal. By this measure, Griffin is as bad as Truly in the SEI days.

    “How many of these critics have ever run a multi-billion dollar technical program?”

    Some of us have been involved with the formulation and management of space projects large and small. But it shouldn’t matter what our experience is. Even the village idiot can compare a new schedule to an old one or read a CBO report.

    FWIW…

  • […] Mind the space gap Space Politics The space gap in this context is the time period between the Shuttle retirement and the commencement of full operation of the Constellation project. Some corners of the US space industry want the Constellation project to be radically re-deigned or scrapped all together. Read more on these political wrangling on this post. […]

  • Major Tom

    “SFF’s campaign against the Ares will likely turn out as quixotic as all of the other SFF campaigns”

    What’s “quixotic” about the Space Frontier Foundation’s Ad Luna campaign “To establish a large scale, economically viable, permanent human settlement on the Moon within the next 25 years”? Or the Space Frontier Foundation’s “Teachers in Space” campaign? Are you claiming that these goals are unrealistic? If so, then the civil human space flight program is just as guilty of pursuing the same impractical goals.

    “But is does give the opportunity for people to beat their chests and wax wroth.”

    Apparently it also gives individuals the opportunity to employ an archaic, 19th-century vocabulary. [rolls eyes]

    “Many of the private space projects, such as Falcon… have slipped as well.”

    Falcon 9 and Dragon have actually been meeting their COTS miletones, a marked difference from Ares I and Orion (and for a fraction of the cost).

    “They don’t call it rocket science because it’s easy.”

    Space launch is a 50-year old enterprise. There’s no reason for it to be as difficult today as ESAS and Constellation have made it. Lame excuses do not justify poor program formulation decisions.

    “I wonder if cancelling Ares and then throw open the choice of a replacement architecture to the political process is the best way to narrow the space flight gap.”

    No one suggested throwing it open political process. As done in the past, a blue-ribbon, independent, external committee of experts needs to review the options and recommend the best path forward to the White House, Congress, and NASA.

    “considering that there is argumemt [sic] about (a) whether Ares really is a turkey or not”

    How does $8 to 16 billion cost growth on a $28 billion program not qualify a program as a “turkey”? That’s a 30-60 percent increase, in an era of F-22 fighter cancellations, nontheless.

    FWIW…

  • Bill White

    It is my understanding that the Direct 2.0 architecture calls for

    # Human rating Delta IV for Orion

    # Immediate funding for propellant depot R&D (in the beginning, the amounts needed are relatively modest by NASA standards since the current need is to climb the TRL ladder) however Direct 2.0 is committed to incorporating deployed cryogenic propellant depots into its architecture within a decade of program initiation.

    # Encourage deployment of a human rated Atlas V capsule (perhaps smaller and less capable than Orion to serve as a crew taxi and to offer more affordable rides to Bigelow-style private facilities)

    # Support and expand COTS and COTS-D

    # Deploy the simplest most logical shuttle derived vehicle possible, an inline vehicle that uses SSMEs & the existing 4 segment RSRMs (with the RS-68 being the viable variant) — consideration is being given to foregoing J2X development in favor of a 2nd stage using 6 RL-10B or perhaps the RL-60.

    Jim Muncy has expressed his willingness to consider Shuttle B, Shuttle C and Shuttle Z and therefore the Jupiter series can be easily added to that mix and therefore the Direct 2.0 proposal – taken as a whole – fits the Space Frontier approach rather well.

    But rather than argue about all of this within the blog-o-sphere why not commission an genuinely neutral and transparent study to compare all of these various options? IMHO, the Obama administration should NOT choose a road forward without releasing the data that demonstrates why the chosen road forward is the right road.

  • Bill White

    Jim Muncy posted this

    I said: fund COTS D, fly Orion on EELV Heavy, and pursue the lowest cost, lowest risk medium-heavy (not super-heavy) lift for exploration.
    This is probably some flavor of Shuttle C, but the requirement is cost-to-develop and cost-to-operate. I pointed out that this latter could be done much sooner than Ares 5.

    I assert there is very little daylight between this and Direct 2.0.

    And for the shuttle B or C advocates out there, we can and should do an impartial and transparent study of these options, showing all work and data that supports the final result.

  • Joe

    With no known method to stop bone loss on the ISS, and the Gap causing the Shuttle launch rate to be extended, there needs to be a way to safely extend astronaut stays on the ISS longer than the current 6 month limit. If this occurs and is recognized by ISS Operations as a valid program risk, they may finally reach for the obvious solution that they have been avoiding in the past, because they did not have a real need for it until now.

    To actually do artificial gravity (AG) on a ISS for a valid reason other than scientific curiosity, an ISS program requirement has to first exist. Then installing a device on the ISS that safely exposes astronauts to AG while meeting ISS operational and safety constraints becomes a reality. The key is to find a way for ISS Operations to write a requirement for such a thing. This can be accomplished by 1) demonstrating and acknowledging, before it actually happens, the ISS Program risks to crew health during extended duration stays which directly impacts ISS Operations or 2) simply waiting for something bad, related to crew health, to happen.

    Having to rely on access means other than existing operational access means leads to more risk which is mitigated by means other than extending crew durations beyond the current 6 month limit.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Joe,

    My understanding (and I think I am correct) is that the primary reason for the 6 month rotation has nothing to do with the astronauts bone loss, and much more to do with how long Soyuz modules last.

  • E.P. Grondine

    I’ve seen a lot of bad comments about Dan Goldin.

    While Administrator Goldin avoided dealing with the impact hazard,
    he had planned for RLV, and initially had a small Boeing group
    kept on working on a shuttle aeroform RLV as a backup to X-33. This group was shut down by someone.

    Goldin intended to cut the shuttle over to NLS, and wanted to use it to
    fly manned Mars missions by 2020.

    Goldin’s original plan was to have a manned vehicle for use with the EELVs as yet another backup

    Goldin kept the ISS going in spite of very intensely challenging hurdles.

    Just my opinion, but we need to get an administrator in there who can shut down Ares 1/Ares 5 and get on with the Jupiter launchers as fast as possible.

    While the Direct team is advocating a LEO fuel depot, I think it should be in Lunar Orbit instead.

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