In a story this week by Jay Reeves of the Associated Press, I learned of a merry band of dissident NASA engineers and managers who are quietly and mostly anonymously designing an alternative space-launch system to the well-underway Constellation program.
It’s called the Jupiter project. Reeves says the dissident rocketeers — a few dozen in number — think their design is simpler (and therefore potentially safer) and $35 billion cheaper than the Constellation program’s Ares I crew lifter and Ares V cargo launcher.
“Bah!” says Steve Cook, director of NASA’s Exploration Launch Projects office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, who the Associated Press interviewed about the “underground” Jupiter project. Cook knows all about the design, and says it won’t work. The dissidents say they just want an unbiased outside review.
In the past, NASA has gotten into trouble because of a Titanic-like reluctance to change course in response to new data. Perhaps the relatively small amount of cash it would take to have a qualified expert take a look at the Jupiter project would be well worth it to head off the inevitable conspiracy theories.
Well.. of course there's always two sides to every story, but from the articles I read, it really seems NASA is making the same mistake they did back when they scrapped the Saturn and went all-out for the Shuttle.
i've read the presentations on the directlaunch website and they certainly look very plausible to me.. but I'm not a rocket scientist by profession.
It bothers me there's a straight "no way" from NASA, without even really trying to look into it.. at least, that's what the article implies..