ParabolicArc provided the following synopsis of the announcement. Clark Lindsey has now posted the press release.
Kent Rominger, VP, Strategy and Business — Space Launch Systems, ATK
ATK has a complete system now….
Rapid execution — 2015 is when I’m going to fly crew
- Composite Crew module that Langely was working on — alternative to aluminum capsule — essentially a scaled down Orion MPCV — heat shield not as strong (not coming back from the moon)
- Service module — a modified version of what has been developed for Orion MPCV
- Abrt system — Max Launch abort system — been tested once.
- Lockheed now a major subcontractor on the team
Our system is the safest system ever designed to fly humans into space
We have a robust business case
We are extremely competitive — been working very hard on it….
Unprecedented solution that will be here a long time
Starting out with a system that is designed for crew — can take out redundant systems for satellite launches
Don’t need all the capability of the rocket for crew system — can carry extra fuel for station reboost, unpressurized cargo….
Baseline is a water landing — need to be able to land in the water in the event of an abort
Contingency for landing on ground — not as good for reusing spacecraft
Progress to date:
Crew training starts at T minus 3 to 6 months — will make the system as user friendly as possible
- Composite crew fabricated and tested, including burst test
- water drop tests validated recovery concepts
- successfully completed acoustic testing
- crew member flight suit evaluation completed
- service module design and optimized for ISS crew and cargo delivery
- Pusher abort system called Max Launch Abort System developed by NASA and industry
- NASA Wallops completed successful pad abort test
- solid propulsion main engines and jettison motor
Solid Rocket booster flew 110 times after Challenger without a problem — learned from mistake, makes the rocket the most reliable rocket in world
- Liberty is being designed from start for human crew launches…trajectory will allow crew to survive a failure
- Other rockets have black zones in their trajectories where the crew will not survive even with an abort system
Astrium’s John Schumacher
- Ariane 5 has flown 47 times successfully
- Liberty uses Ariane 5 first stage
- Stage needs to be strengthened and modified for air launch — work is underway
- Stage now made in Europe — eventual plans are to bring production to the United States
- Proven experience of ATK, Lockheed and Astrium greatly helps with process, launching and operations
- Astrium brings expertise in launching and docking ATV at ISS — helpful in docking crew vehicle
- 10 flights for reuse with water landing