Ares Rocket Is Not Cleaner Than EELV

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  Space News Business

Ares Rocket Is Not Cleaner Than EELV

By DAN WOODARD

posted: 07 April 2008
02:47 pm ET





Jeff Wright suggests that the Ares
1 has an advantage over the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles (EELVs) because it is nonpolluting
�[Letters, March 17, page 18]
. This is hardly the case. The Ares uses a solid-fuel booster derived from the space shuttle solid-rocket booster. The solid-rocket booster
�uses a fuel composed primarily of ammonium perchlorate and aluminum
�and emits hundreds of tons of hydrochloric acid vapor and aluminum oxide smoke during launch – pollutants far more serious than carbon dioxide. Moreover, the solid-fuel booster arrives fully fueled, in a hazardous condition, requires assembly of multiple segments, and is much heavier than a comparable liquid-fueled stage –
�all contributing to launch costs considerably higher than those of the EELVs.

 

The only U.S. launch vehicle that emits no significant pollutants is the Delta 4
�Heavy, which is already operational, has essentially the same payload capability as the Ares 1
, and is unique among all the world’s launch vehicles in that it uses only liquid hydrogen for fuel.

 

Dan Woodard

Merritt Island, Fla.