The word this morning from several NASA Twitterers is that the stacking of the new Ares I-X rocket for its upcoming test flight is temporarily on hold. Everyone is waiting for word from a NASA executive session reconsidering the plan. And perhaps it might have something to do with an alternative plan to return to the Moon, submitted by shuttle program manager John Shannon to the Augustine Commission, the independent panel that is reviewing NASA’s current vision, including the Constellation program. Interestingly, Shannon says he was strongly encouraged by a top NASA administrator to present his idea to the panel. Shannon’s option would be faster – perhaps eliminating at least a year of the projected 5-year gap between the shuttle and Constellation. It would be cheaper: $6.6 billion vs. $35 billion for Constellation. But would it be better? Take a look at this video that Shannon presented to the Augustine Commission.
Continue reading “Faster, Cheaper (and Better?) Way to the Moon”