NASA Warns of High Cost in Canceling Ares I

constellationCanceling Ares I Could Prove Costly
Aviation Week

Embattled exploration-program managers at NASA say a decision to cancel the Ares I crew launch vehicle development now in favor of a potentially lower-cost effort to human rate the Delta IV heavy would add $14.1 billion – $16.6 billion to the cost of developing the Ares V moon rocket.

In public testimony before the White House panel reviewing NASA’s human spaceflight plans, Gary Pulliam, Aerospace Corp. vice president for civil and commercial operations, said his organization finds it will be possible to human rate a Delta IV heavy launch vehicle to carry the Orion crew exploration vehicle for about $3 billion less than it will cost to finish Ares I (Aerospace DAILY, June 12).

That did not include the cost of continuing development of the Ares V heavy lifter without the first- and second-stage precursor work under way as part of the Ares I program, which NASA estimates could cost from $14.1 billion to $16.6 billion more, according to Pulliam.

Michael Gass, president and CEO of United Launch Alliance, testified to the panel headed by retired Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine that his company believes it can human rate its big Delta IV faster and cheaper than the “conservative” Aerospace estimates.

“Delta IV heavy provides a safe, low-cost capability to launch Orion, we believe by 2014, with greater than 20 percent performance margin,” Gass said June 17.

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