Letter: Disputing Claim that Ares 1X Was ‘Full-scale’ Test of Ares 1

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Thank you for your article about the recent Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) report regarding the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program versus Ares 1 safety issues [“NASA’s Safety Advisers Urge U.S. To Stick with Ares 1,” Jan. 25, page 6].

However, one glaring error does deserve correction.

The fourth paragraph states that “NASA has invested several billion dollars in Ares 1 since 2005 and last October successfully launched a full-scale prototype of the rocket.”

While the success of Ares 1X could be debated, I will not do that here. Rather, the assertion that 1X was a “full-scale” test of Ares 1 is false on its face.

Ares 1X was a four-segment booster with a dummy upper stage and capsule. It was in no way a “full-scale” test of the five-segment Ares 1, no matter what the proponents of said system might wish it to have been, or claim it was. Even your cover article makes this clear [“No $1B Budget Increase for NASA; Fate of Ares 1 Rocket Still Unclear,” Jan. 25].

To see this falsehood in print in a publication as prestigious and important as Space News is not acceptable, no matter what the release from ASAP stated. Stick with the facts, please.

Let Time be embarrassed by falling for NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate spin that let it conflate Ares 1X with Ares 1. Don’t abuse Space News’ reputation by doing the same.

 

Joseph W. Boardman, Chief Scientist,

Analytical Imaging and Geophysics LLC

Boulder
,
Colo.