Ares 1, the space advocacy community, and the media #NASA

Ares 1-X Test flight

While initial results from the Ares 1-X test flight appear promising, the vehicle is still subject to misunderstanding or misrepresention by the media and space advocates. Credit: NASA

A lot of incorrect and misleading information about Ares 1 has been floating around the space advocacy community. Jeff Foust recently commented about space advocacy dysfunction (see “Dysfunctional space advocacy”, The Space Review, November 23, 2009). My comments are primarily directed to both of these issues.
The commentary I have encountered, covers a spectrum of opinion and intensity from outright attacks all the way to raising reasonable questions that deserve answers and discussion.

That misinformation about Ares 1 has contributed to incredible vitriol and incivility directed toward people connected with the program. For example, Harrison (Jack) Schmitt has exchanged communications with various space advocates about the Ares program that is characterized by insults, questioning of motivations, and agendas of its proponents by some advocates, and basic courtesy and civility on Jack’s side. I will comment further about this divisiveness near the end of this article.

I discussed a few of my observations about the Ares 1 first stage static test in a previous article (see “Taming the fire: the Ares 1 first stage development test”, The Space Review, September 14, 2009). I will follow up by mentioning some of the inaccuracies and misleading information being discussed about the recent Ares 1-X flight test.

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@NASA Perplexed Over Ares Rocket’s Parachute Failure

NASA is still perplexed over the parachute failure that damaged its new Ares I-X test rocket during its October test launch, but otherwise the debut flight went well, mission managers said.

The $445 million suborbital Ares I-X rocket, NASA’s first prototype of the vehicle it plans to carry humans to orbit after the space shuttles retire, blasted off Oct. 28 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It soared eastward into the sky, peaked at about 28 miles altitude, then the solid-rocket first stage separated from its dummy second stage and dropped into the ocean as planned.

Read the rest here…