On Monday 12 October Flightglobal reported that NASA administrator Charles Bolden said that a heavy lift vehicle was necessary for exploration and that a vehicle was being costed
Talking to sources within the Ares V project and close to the Space Shuttle programme office’s Shuttle-derived Heavy Lift Vehicle team it has become clear that while Bolden’ choice of words suggested a single vehicle concept was under study, the reality is that HLV is still in the running
Bolden’s comments on what he thinks is needed, a heavy lift rocket for exploration and commercial vehicles for LEO access within a constrained budget (Bolden mentioned that he would need to organise “overguides”, additional funding requests for the FY2011 budget, for the likes of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, a replacement for which – after its launch failure – has not been budgeted for), pointed to a decision by the administrator that the Augustine panel’s second option and its designated “Ares V lite” heavy lift vehicle had been selected
On Friday 16 October at the International Astronautical Congress in Daejeon, Korea NASA’s Charles Cockrell, associate director at the agency’s Langley Research Center’s systems engineering directorate, said that the Ares V project office was working on “trade studies of Ares V variants to feed that [human spaceflight policy] decision making process”
However sources close to the HLV team tell Hyperbola that “Yes the shuttle derived side mount, HLV, is one of the heavy lift launch vehicles being considered”
As Bolden is an ex-Shuttle astronaut it is perhaps not surprising that he might be open to the Shuttle programme office’s ideas and so this blog asks the question, will anything of Constellation survive this review?