Tom Young’s opening statement
Doug Cooke’s opening statement (very long)
Constellation Program FY 2010 Planned Events
CHAIRWOMAN GABRIELLE GIFFORDS
I want to welcome our witnesses today. Both Mr. Doug Cooke and Mr. A. Thomas Young have long and distinguished careers in aerospace, and we look forward to gleaning from their decades of knowledge on the subject. Mr. COOKEe has agreed to give us answers to the many questions that have been raised concerning the President’s budget proposal, but it is understood that he is not the architect of this plan.
I have called this hearing today because we have a serious issue to address—the future of America’s human space flight program—and we need to get it right.
The clock is ticking. It is now almost two months since the Administration’s FY 2011 budget request for NASA was submitted to Congress, and there are still too many unanswered questions surrounding it.
We are here today because the President’s budget has been found deficient by this Congress and by the American people. It proposes drastic changes in the future of NASA with tremendous impact on high skill jobs and high tech manufacturing capabilities. It could leave our country with no human exploration program, no human rated spacecraft, and little ability to inspire the youth of America. The budget proposal does all this with few details to support its new direction.
This hearing is but the latest in a series that have been held by the committee on science and technology and this subcommittee. It is our job and responsibility to ensure that American taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. We must be certain that existing programs are worthwhile and well managed, and we must be fully informed of the impacts of the cancelation of programs.
Over the past few months we have held many hearings to address safety concerns for human spaceflight, the competition of international space programs, and the impact of NASA’s programs on the skilled aerospace workforce and industrial base. We have also heard from the Government Accountability Office and NASA’s Inspector General. And just last month NASA Administrator, General Charlie Bolden testified on the FY2011 budget request.
Unfortunately, the NASA Administrator was unable to satisfy many of the members of this committee. Today we are going to continue to take a closer look at the elements of the proposed plan and try to get additional information—to the extent that such information exists.
We are also going to examine the impacts and consequences that would flow from its adoption—some of those impacts are quite profound and troubling.
Today we’re also going to review the status of the current Constellation program, which just passed a significant design milestone, and we will determine whether the intent of Congress expressed in the FY 2010 appropriations act is being met.
This oversight is the purpose of this subcommittee hearing, and we intend to be thorough.
The fact of the matter is that Congress is being asked to support a budget request that proposes cancelation of the Constellation program. Cancelation of a successful program that has been underway for the past five years. Cancelation of a program that has met significant milestones and would keep the United States as the world leader in aerospace. We have been asked to support a budget request that will leave this country without a government system to access low Earth orbit and beyond.
In canceling this program, we would write off $14 billion in taxpayer dollars spent, with no apparent plan to make any significant use of the results of that investment. We would make this country dependent on yet-to-be developed “commercial crew” services of unknown cost and safety, with no government-backup system available; we would very likely be forced to rely on other nations to access low Earth orbit and the International Space Station for the foreseeable future. We would be left without a concrete plan, destination, or timetable for exploration missions beyond LEO. Additionally, this cancellation would negatively impact the nation’s defense industrial base and would eliminate the program that would ease the transition for the Space Shuttle workforce and help retain key human space flight skills and industrial capabilities needed for the future.
In place of good explanations and solid rationales for such sweeping and frankly puzzling changes, we have been given a combination of unpersuasive arguments and "we’re working on the details" responses.
For instance, the commercial crew proposal is lacking all of the basic information that a would-be investor would demand before committing funds to a project. For example:
What’s the proposed cost to the government to develop these systems?
How much, if any, of the development cost will be shared by the companies?
How much will it cost NASA to buy these services?
What else will NASA have to provide to make—and keep—the companies’ operations viable?
When can we credibly expect these services to be operationally available and will they meet our expectation of what is safe enough?
What recourse will NASA have if the companies fail to meet safety standards, cost, schedule and performance.
Finally, is there any significant non-NASA market for these services; is it a viable one; and is it one we should use scarce tax dollars to promote?
Congress is being asked to invest taxpayer dollars in a commercial crew venture without providing us with a reasonable expectation of success.
As part of my efforts to find out whether there was a solid factual or analytical basis in last year’s Augustine committee report for the Administration’s plan, I directed a series of basic questions to Aerospace Corporation, the organization that was asked to support the Augustine committee in its review.
Aerospace’s responses, which I am entering into the record of today’s hearing, make it clear that such a basis is lacking in many important areas. That is not a criticism of Aerospace—a distinguished organization—but it does call into question the depth of analysis that the Administration’s proposals received before they were sent to Capitol Hill.
In today’s hearing, we will address the outstanding questions in the proposed budget regarding human exploration. We ask for clear, fact-based, answers. The American public deserves no less.
As a final note, I would like to share something I received in the mail recently. I hold in my hands a drawing sent to me by a seven year old boy scout named Noah. It depicts a spaceship landing on a heavenly body with the accompanying caption, written in the bold script of a child, "We Love Space." When Noah is grown and considering a career or an area of study, will NASA still be that shining light that inspires the nation? Noah is not alone. This committee has made the science and math education of young people one of its highest priorities. Under the leadership of Chairman Gordon, we will be reauthorizing the America COMPETES legislation that aims to boost our STEM education and workforce in order to keep America economically competitive.
In hearing after hearing we are informed that one of the biggest components necessary to get young people interested in science and engineering is a source of inspiration. I believe that NASA has been the greatest source of inspiration that this nation, this world, has ever seen, and I aim to keep it that way.
The most troubling aspect of the President’s proposal in my view, and I believe in the view of many of my colleagues, is the lack of any real plan for human space exploration – the pinnacle of inspiration.
I expect more from the Administration and frankly more from NASA, an organization filled with some of the most brilliant and analytic minds on the planet, than a vague list of hypothetical destinations. We deserve and demand a comprehensive human exploration plan that details where we will go, when we will go, and how we will get there. Only by first determining the mission can we determine the necessary technologies and development timeline.
It is my firm belief that America should not sit idly by for another 20 years before embarking on an expedition to Mars. I want to see a plan that includes human exploration beyond low Earth orbit by the end of this decade. Nothing in this budget gives any indication that this would occur, and I find that unacceptable. We have the technology. Let’s make it happen.
Thank you, and I now yield to Ranking Member Olson.
Commending Doug Cooke for leading at a difficult time at NASA. Thanking Rep. Giffords for putting the hearing together. From Olsen’s perspective, the proposed changes are a fait acompli, which they are not.
In the absence of hard data, perceptions matter. Many feel that Ares and Orion are already canceled. Now talking about the non-contract that was canceled. This is demoralizing to the workforce. What we need is to tell the NASA workforce that until Congress changes Constellation, it is the program they should be working on.
NASA needs to be a place where informed dissent is welcomed. There is a repressive culture at NASA currently. NASA employees must be confident that they can voice concerns without reprisal.
With each day, questions arise. Until more evidence comes forward, the abandonment of Constellation is not in this nation’s interest.
REP. GORDON just came in the room to listen.
Introducing the witnesses.
Doug COOKE – Assoc. Administrator of Exploration
Tom Young – Former Vice President of Lockheed Martin and Pres. Martin Marietta, Dep. Dir. Ames
We’ll start with Mr. COOKE
NASA is grateful for the support and guidance from this Committee over the years.
Dealing with 3 issues:
The President’s program and budget request
Now talking about the President’s proposed NASA budget. Same as Bolden.
Condescending comment about change being difficult, inferring that those opposed the the “new” NASA plan are simply resistant to change.
Reading his statement.
Chairwoman Giffords and committee members, I am pleased to have the opportunity to present my views on the U.S. human spaceflight program.
The proposed NASA FY 2011 budget represents a significant departure from the current program and raises some important issues worthy of debate prior to setting a course that will define human spaceflight for many decades.
Continuation of the International Space Station and Mars as the ultimate human exploration destination appear to be areas of consensus. While Mars is not explicitly identified, subsequent Administration statements suggest this conclusion.
Areas with significant differences in implementation approach are
1) the method of transporting humans to Earth orbit and specifically to the International Space Station,
2) the need for a detailed plan for human exploration beyond Earth orbit,
3) the development of a heavy lift capability to support missions beyond Earth orbit,
4) the development of a capsule to support astronauts traveling to and beyond Earth orbit and
5) the definition of a technology program focused on specific mission needs.
U.S. needs an indigenous system to support our nation’s exploration. Private and sometimes gov’t investments have funded and should be applauded for their accomplishments. US NASA budget will make NASA dependent
We are a long way from commercial crew capabilities.
Commercial crew option should not be approved. I want to repeat, a commercial crew option should not be approach.
The Ares I system should be continued with an HLV vehicle following.
Approaches being discussed to provide transportation to Earth orbit are Soyuz, Space Shuttle, Ares I or a derivative based on Ares I/V concepts and commercial.
Soyuz has been and will continue to be a valuable space transportation system. I do not believe Soyuz is a long term solution. The U.S. needs an indigenous system.
Space Shuttle has been the U.S. workhorse for three decades. It has remarkable crew and cargo capabilities. I do not believe Shuttle is the long term solution.
Private and in some cases government investments have created commercial enterprises focused on space tourism and cargo transportation to the Space Station. These companies should be encouraged, supported and applauded for their accomplishments. NASA’s proposed budget, if implemented, will result in the U.S. being totally dependent upon commercial crew space transportation for an indigenous capability to Earth orbit. I believe we are a long way from
having a commercial industry capable of satisfying human space transportation needs. In my view, this is a risk too high and not a responsible course. The commercial crew option should not be approved.
The U.S. needs a transportation capability to Earth orbit that can be used for several decades. A system that can be the basis for a heavy lift capability would be advantageous. Considerable resources have been expended and significant progress has been made in the development of Ares I. I believe the most logical path forward is to commit to a transportation system based upon the Ares I investment. Consideration should be given to the ability to evolve the system to a heavy lift capability. NASA should be asked to undertake a study to define the required system.
My interpretation of the FY 2011 budget is that the proposed human exploration program is a technology endeavor without an exploration plan. A technology program without focus and identified mission uses can result in wasteful, nonproductive, "hobby-shop" activities. A detailed exploration plan with destinations, dates and implementation plans is needed. Options were effectively identified in the Augustine Committee report. A factor requiring consideration is that a lunar lander and facilities for extended stay on the moon are
expensive making the lunar option a function of funding availability. I am troubled by this observation since I believe human exploration must have "boots-on-the-ground." An asteroid landing may be less challenging and expensive than a lunar landing. Again, NASA should be instructed to develop options and recommend a specific exploration plan.
Human exploration beyond Earth orbit will require a new heavy lift launch vehicle. I do not believe we need a technology program as a prerequisite. Available budget will determine the heavy lift implementation plan.
NASA should be directed to develop an integrated space transportation plan that will result in the timely development of a heavy lift launch vehicle.
Human spaceflight requires a capsule for crew support. Given my strong opinion that commercial crew should not be the selected option, the logical starting point in selecting a capsule concept is Orion. Significant investment has been made in Orion and it should be the basis of a capsule to support Space Station operations and initiate exploration beyond Earth orbit. A study, by NASA, to define the crew support capsule is required. Constellation should not be cancelled. The NASA study will most likely identify required
Constellation modifications. Deferral of the lunar option may be required depending upon available budget.
The technology program identified in the proposed budget lacks definition and focus. However, a technology program largely directed toward resolving critical issues associated with implementing plan A and specifically a human Mars mission is required. NASA, with appropriate outside support, should define the required technology program.
I have cited the need for NASA studies for most of the areas of discussion. A plan A is needed which is absent from the proposed FY 2011 budget. The availability of a plan A will facilitate informed decisions relative to funding and affordability of a human spaceflight program that will be in place for decades. I would start by applying the 6B$ commercial crew funding, the funding for precursor robotic missions, a portion of the technology funding and the 2.5B$ allocation for Constellation termination to plan A.
I was asked to comment on the most significant impacts of the changes contained in the proposed FY 2011 budget. Changes as significant as those proposed cannot be implemented without collateral impact. An example is the increased cost identified by the Air Force in their programs.
I believe the most significant impact will be the deterioration in the capabilities of the aerospace work force. We currently have a government, university and industry work force that is a national treasure. Many of the best and brightest are attracted by the excitement and challenge of space exploration. Decades of experience and investment have been instrumental in building this extraordinary work force. Without a challenging and meaningful space program, this national capability will atrophy. Assigning responsibility to the commercial sector for Earth orbit crew transportation will have a major adverse impact on the NASA work force.
The loss of capability that has been built over decades will happen very quickly. This is not a resource that can be turned on and off. I suspect the uncertainty created by the proposed NASA budget is causing people to evaluate their futures. Good people always have a choice. Rebuilding lost capabilities will take decades.
When the "dust settles" I believe the U.S. must have a human spaceflight program worthy of a great nation as suggested by the title of the Augustine Committee report. In my view, the human spaceflight program contained in the proposed FY 2011 budget fails this goal. I believe a program can be developed that will put us on a responsible course to Mars with exciting and challenging intermediate destinations. A program that will utilize the capabilities of the total aerospace work force, a program of which the current generation can be proud and by which future generations can be inspired. A program that I believe will require some budget augmentation. A program that is worthy of a great nation.
Votes will be called in a few minutes and a few questions will be asked.
Talking about the Shelby language restricting the Administration from taking actions against Constellation.
Human Spaceflight: In October 2009, the Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee (The Augustine Commission) reported its findings on NASA’s human space flight program. The Augustine Commission raised several issues regarding the current program and budget profile that will require thoughtful consideration by the Administration. In the absence of a bona fide proposal from the Administration on the future of U.S. human spaceflight activities and investments, the bill provides the budget request of $3.1 billion for activities to support human spaceflight in fiscal year 2010; however, the bill requires that any program termination or elimination or the creation of any new program, project or activity not contemplated in the budget request must be approved in subsequent appropriations Acts.
NASA has canceled:
Phase I Ares V RFP
Altair Lander RFP
Ground services RFP
Ares upper-stage and instrument package contracts canceled.
We are continuing major work on Constellation. There are areas we have not started because some were outdated as well as 2010 budget changes. There was a $50 million reduction and rescission for modifying structures.
The continuing resolution this year did not allow us to work on long-lead items.
We are reassessing some of the budget reductions.
The Ares V and Altair Lander RFP’s have been held for a year. A little while back we felt that since we didn’t have funding to support lunar investments we discontinued it. For Ares V, we want to relook at what we are doing. We will put out a new RFP for HLV in the coming months.
Mr. COOKE, Administrator Bolden told us that there were not changes to Constellation. But there have been changes against the 2010 directive. We did this to preserve the program of record and give us time to think about these issues.
NASA needs to spend a little more time wiggling out of contracts and more on following the direction of Congress and the American people.
In its budget proposal, Administration paints Constellation as far behind schedule and over budget.
Was Constellation over budget?
I can speak to budget numbers that I am responsible for.
Until 2010 budget we felt that we were on course to March 2015 for Ares I. The 2010 reductions make the March 2015 not possible. Based on data,
So Ares I was on track for 2015 but budget got you off-course
First, I have not done a review of the ISS program. It is resonable to assume that investing $9 billion in Orion and Ares I, and having had a successful PDR and not too far from a CDR, not having seen great problems coming out of the PDR, there is great credibility to the Ares I Orion design. Even if you use numbers from Augustine, it’s not a stretch to believe that Ares I Orion could be made to work in current budget. There are no credible alternatives to Ares I Orion. Deviating from that course until all studies are done would be a significant mistake.
One last question for COOKE.
The letters to contractors about termination of Constellation are not in the spirit 2010 language. Can you assure us that NASA will not force ends to Constellation contracts.
We will follow our contracts.
Will NASA provide sufficient termination liability funding to contractors?
From law, we are not terminating contracts. But we are funded for levels we are for program.
We’re having a good discussion, but the language is that Constellation is it.
Chair recognizes Rep. Kosmas
While looking at going to Mars is important, we should not jeopardize our current progress.
Why should such workers at KSC feel secure who are working on Constellation? What work will be waiting for them when Shuttle is ending?
There is funding to support civil servants. The shift is one of direction.
Aren’t you allocating funds for skills of people apart from those I’m talking about.
There is significant research work possible at KSC.
There seems to be a good deal of confusion as to what it costs to launch an Ares I marginal cost.
When Ares I was operational in 2016, the marginal cost is expected of $176m per flight after 2016. Is that number still reasonable?
That is still reasonable for marginal cost.
Commercial industry has estimates of job gains. How many will loose their jobs?
I’d like to follow-up with detail. I don’t have an assessment on what jobs created by commercial launchers until there’s been a selection and agreements made.
In terms of contractors nation-wide, there are over 8,600 working on Constellation.
For the record, the proposed plan lacks not only inspiration and destination.
This debate is a bit perplexing. Roles have been switched. Now talking about Lincoln railroad program that gave land to companies, not setting up a rail road agency. Also talking about how the gov’t didn’t set up it’s own airline agency but let companies do that.
I went along to SpaceX to look at how far along they were. There was one employee managing the floor. At NASA, there are several employees. Maybe that’s why it cost $9 billion to develop no new technology where SpaceX has spent much less money. If we’re going to be in space, we need to be cost effective and gov’t can’t do that. It’s not efficient any other way. He’s getting excited The Shuttle has cost us $1 billion everytime its goes up.
Mr. Young, what’s your view?
Are you Atlas rockets less capable in getting us into orbit? Why not go commercial.
Let me see if I can extract a question from that.
Atlas is not commercial.
I am strongly against commercial crew. I believe our aerospace industry is second to none and have no issues with that. My issue is that the aerospace industry alone can execute on human flight alone.
We work in human space flight with NASA. Companies do well because they work with NASA.
In the 90’s, the Air Force tried to use Acquisition Reform by giving Total Systems Responsibility, told system managers to sit-back and let industry lead. But they went further and terminated our government’s own system engineering managers. The results were devastating.
Good project managers left. The government’s systems engineering capabilities were eliminated. This wasn’t isolated but systemic. Several Air Force programs were negatively impacted. SBIR. If you want to know how not to manage a space program, SBIR was it. Many program were initiated and none launched.
Today, we get half the content with twice the money and 6 years late.
The Aerospace Corp. documented $11.2 billion in mission failures. The industry is not constituted to do this work by themselves. If you take institutional capabilities of NASA and the execution capabilities of industry you get a good combination.
This program is has a bad impact on our human space flight program.
Mr. COOKE, was DoD consulted on this decision? We are putting the US in grave danger with this decision.
I was not a part of those discussions. I don’t know what my Administrator has talked about.
And that’s because DoD wasn’t consulted. That’s what he is hearing from them.
Mr. Young, your thoughts?
Anything as sweeping as what we are talking about have sweeping impacts.
I don’t believe a transition is anywhere in the future. The NASA – Industry partnership is successful and I don’t see a transition down the line. NASA uses the strengths of industry.
Will there be a gap?
Yes. I do not think there is a sufficiently high probability that commercial crew will be successful.
How do I tell my grandson that the next time NASA flies in space, he could be 30 years old–he’s 7 now.
I think our ability to compete globally not just in defense but industry are in question.
Committee will recess for a vote.
AmericaSpace Note: Hearing’s back on…
Would NASA welcome oversight and insight by members of Congress? Is NASA Hq open to engagement in working with us?
In simple terms, yes.
I agree with you Mr. Cooke. I believe there are issues that drove the budget to be written the way it is. There will be a bipartisan budget proposal as things go along.
Having listened to your testimony, Mr. Young I have a few questions for you. Would you assess how to keep the institutional knowledge that could be lost through the coming and going of people in and out of industry?
Your first question is quite a good question, that the continuity of space resides with NASA. I could make a similar claim with DoD, NRO, and Aerospace Corporation. The nation has deliberately established these. Industry does not have the continuity that government has. The formula to keep things successful it to make it a national program, so that the strengths of NASA and industry complement each other. Industry alone cannot make the human space flight program a success. I’m not in favor of a gov’t arsenal, where everything is done in-house. I think the conversation between NASA and industry occurs brings strengths.
Mr. Cooke, are people on Constellation being terminated. Is the industrial base of knowledge something we should preserve.
We are not at this point terminating. We will continue with civil servant participation in our programs.
Bolden was asked if NASA was taking any actions that would hurt Constellation if it continued. Bolden said NASA was not. Now we’re hearing that NASA will send letters to contractors to hold back money for termination costs for 2010, even though Shelby language prohibits that. Won’t that hurt contractors and their ability to work on Constellation.
We’re not telling anyone to do anything not in the contract.
Doesn’t that go against the language?
I haven’t seen the letters.
Are there any contracts or programs that have required contractors to hold money back before the contract is over?
Contractors must keep money for termination.
Is the new requirement inconsistent with 2010 language?
We are not directing changes
If a contractor is asked to set aside money for contract termination…
We’re not asking contractors to do anything in their contracts.
Get back to us on that.
Mr. Young, have you seen this in a program, to set-aside money during a contract?
That isn’t anything I’ve thought about. It’s a good question.
Mr. Cooke, please provide any info you have on Tiger Teams that have been established. One statement you made that the teams are assembling data needed to go forward with new program. It’s stated that this work should be completed within 3rd quarter of this year? Is that enough time for Congress to make decisions?
We will share information at logical points in that debate during the budget process.
You stated that the March 2015 Ares missions were possible. On the Feb. 1 conference call on the NASA budget, DA Garver said that commercial launchers would be ready by 2016. Now that number has gone to March 2016. Why should we leave the program of record that is working now.
As for estimates, the Augustine estimates were different that what we had. The March 2015 date for Ares I / Orion, there has been schedule risk in the past.
So, in summary, you have a much better comfort level with Ares I than with the commercial launchers.
I can only speak to my knowledge of Constellation.
Based on the 2010 prohibition, if Congress were to direct NASA to stay with Constellation, what would be the impact.
Since we are continuing ISS til 2020, we are talking about a system to support transportation that will work for a decade or more. Partners have even stated to go to 2028. That changes the debate as we go forward.
As I read the Augustine Committee, their criticism was that Ares would not be ready until the ISS was about to be terminated. Since ISS will be up til 2020, 2028, that changes things.
I want to assure my colleague from California that I’m a space commercial supporter, but we need to start with cargo first and build confidence. There’s a difference between cargo and people. The commercial guys are not ready for human flight. We’ve had Admiral Dyer (Head of Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel) state that NASA has not yet published the requirements for human space flight so comments by some who you know (SpaceX?) that they are human space compliant is untrue. (So much for SpaceX’s claims that Falcon 9 and Dragon are human space flight ready)
Shuttle’s overhead was to be assumed by Constellation. How will that be costed under the Administration’s proposed program?
The transition of workforce, facilities and hardware is something we’ve worked on with Shuttle and Constellation and now we’ll do that with the commercial launchers. Our transition team will build-off on that experience.
Whatever happens to NASA’s existing infrastructure? Just shut them down?
That is forward work. Certainly, the Space Ops Mission Dir. budget will have money for that.
What is the purpose of the $325 million for commercial transfer work.
That is to help commercial launchers reduce risk through additional launches.
We have significant Orion facilities in the Denver area. The proposed change has turned things upside down in Jefferson County. Why is Orion a casualty in all of this? Orion was doing well.
The exact decisions I was not a part of. I worked with Augustine last Fall and had input into that process. I did not have input into the proposed changes. The $6 billion over 5 years could be used for Orion.
Orion is lots of great jobs with great people in my area. With aerospace, it can be boom or bust. I believe in manned space flight, that it is a component part of America, to do things beyond our reach. Then you get down to the particulars and it’s a lot of jobs. Is NASA going to backfill this?
I understand your problems, we are going to scout-out some of the destinations, technology demonstrations, and they can compete for those.
So these folks can move directly to the commercial side?
Does Lockheed want this? How can any company do this. The infrastructure is immense.
Certainly, this is a shift in the way we work. We’ll be providing those competitions and opportunities.
I would suggest to my colleagues that we have an actual debate between the sides of this debate by experts. To my colleague who said he couldn’t imagine us moving companies to build our space program. But in airlines and rail roads, companies did that. In spending $9 billion Ares created no now technology (This is BS! No new tech? GNC? Hello?). But with $300 million, SpaceX did create new technology.
We do need the gov’t to set standards and help develop technology?
Mr. Cooke, how long with human rating standards take?
We will be putting out a draft at the end of April for comments with final reg’s by the end of the year.
Mr. Cooke, do you think it will be less expensive to proceed with Delta and Atlas in those req’s. than what we’ve spent on Ares and Orion.
I can’t answer that.
Even today, airplanes land everyday with problems that would be catastrophic to a human space craft. I’ll remind all of us that the reason things fail today will not be in those requirements. Mentions metric – english units issue that cause a Mars failure. Or foam hitting the Shuttle. The requirements won’t get the job done. The strengths of NASA and industry working together will get that to work.
The EELV started as a commercial effort. Many in-flight failures there was a study done. Out of studies, a Presidential commission found that the EELV’s could not work, that given the market to support commercial launches had failed, the EELV launchers had adopted practices that would work. Today, EELV is no longer a commercial system.
We could human rate an EELV. It would take 5 1/2 – 7 years according to Aerospace Corp. There would be no cost advantage.
You’d be like to grow your space transportation system. You can grow an Ares I into an Ares V much more easily than you can an EELV.
What new technologies has Constellation developed?
Automated rendezvous and docking. On upper-stage, friction stir welding. Lighting protection on space vehicles. Battery technology. GNC advances. We’re in advanced development work on thermal protection systems for space craft. Closed-life support. Modeling of environments fo spacecraft during launch and flight.
By the end of the authorization and appropriations period, I hope we can craft a good program. We’re going to be looking at the investment we’ve already made and how that can help us. After Constellation’s PDR, are we on track?
The board did recommend that we go to CDR. There are issues, as there are with all programs, but they are being worked out.
Are the commercial launchers that far along?
We’re only working on ours now.
NASA does not have the authorization and appropriations authority to make changes on Constellation. Please go back to your leaders and let them know that we have not closed-out this conversation yet, both here and with other colleagues.