Ares I not dead: Evidence EELV report’s “facts” are ULA claims

by | Jun 21, 2009 | Seradata News | 8 comments

Thumbnail image for delta iv.jpg

credit United Launch Alliance / caption: In 2007 the Delta IV launches the USAF DSP-23 satellite

Watching the NASAtv webcast repeats of United Launch Alliance (ULA) president and chief executive Michael Gass’ presentation and the Aerospace Corporation’s Gary Pulliam explanation of the Delta IV study, it became clearer that the original (NSF) report was based on ULA’s argument (was it me or was Gass very nervous?). The ULA, NSF similarities are:

  • the selling point for the Boeing Delta IV Heavy is its alleged 20% performance margin
  • the need for the still-in-development RS-68A to achieve the 20% performance margin
  • the claim that the black zones are not an issue with the RS-68A enabled 20% margin
  • ULA/NSF claim a 2014 Initial Operating Capability (IOC) date for Delta IV Heavy
  • ULA claims 4.5-years to IOC for Delta IV Heavy 
  • ULA says $800 million for a new pad, NSF said $750 million

Watching Pulliam’s presentation the significant points indicating that the report does not support the safety and other claims made by ULA/NSF are:

  • Pulliam said the report only looked at cost and schedule
  • Aero Corp says up to 7-years needed to realise human rated Delta IV Heavy 
  • And an extra year is needed for new Orion/Delta interfaces with a different upper stage

The Flame Trench blog post that Hyperbola has previously discussed was entitled Report: EELVs Could Safely Launch Orion but we now know that the Aerospace Corp study did not tackle safety, only “cost and schedule,” Pulliam’s own words

Augustine panel member and former astronaut Leroy Chiao asked Pulliam if a “PRA” had been carried out. Hyperbola has confirmed with Chiao that he was referring to loss of crew or loss of mission probabilistic risk assessment. Puliam’s answer was a no, confirming that the Aerospace Corporation study did not examine safety 

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