(Update: I accidentally posted this with comments turned off, slip o'the'blogger, not intentional. I've republished with comments turned on. Blame it on the leftover 'nog!)
The latest -- and final -- chunk of that epic New York Times space series by John Schwartz is out today. It's the last big feature the paper's longtime space/science reporter will write about NASA before he becomes the Times' national legal correspondent. Congrats, John, but I suspect the rocket booster set is weeping tears of Tang at the news of your departure. Anyway, snip:
NASA has named the rocket Ares I, as in the god of war – and its life has been a battle from the start.The Fight Over NASA’s Future (NYT), and here's a related Times slideshow from which the image above was ganked. Description:
Ares I is part of a new system of spacecraft being designed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to replace the nation’s aging space shuttles. The Ares I and its Orion capsule, along with a companion heavy-lift rocket known as the Ares V, are meant for travel to the Moon and beyond.
Technical troubles have dogged the design process for the Ares I, the first of the rockets scheduled to be built, with attendant delays and growing costs. And in an age of always-on communication, instant messages and blogs, internal debate that once might have been part of a cloistered process has spilled into public view.
Some critics say there are profound problems with the design that render the Ares I dead on arrival, while other observers argue that technical complications crop up in any spacecraft development program of this scope. The issues have become a focus of the members of the presidential transition team dealing with NASA, and the space program could undergo a transformation after Barack Obama takes office.
In this artist's concept illustration, the first and second stages of the Ares V heavy-lift vehicle separate after launching. The image evokes earlier photographs and film from the days of the Apollo program. Photo: John Frassanito and Associates/NASAAnother must-read piece from Schwartz, which explores the case of SpaceX founder and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk: With U.S. Help, Private Space Companies Press Their Case: Why Not Us?
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Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.