(Hat Tip: Hobby Space, Video below post)
It looks like a new rocket is in town, which may not only be able to lift cargo into orbit sooner than Ares I and Ares V rockets (which have yet to be built), but may be much more affordable as well.
(Direct Launcher) DIRECT is an alternative approach to launching missions planned under NASA's new mandate: The Vision for Space Exploration (VSE). DIRECT would replace the separate Ares-I Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV) and Ares-V Cargo Launch Vehicle (CaLV) with one single "Jupiter" launcher, capable of performing both roles.
This change to NASA's architecture completely removes the costs & risks associated with developing and operating a second launcher system, saving NASA $19 Billion in development costs, and a further $16 Billion in operational costs over the next 20 years.
DIRECT's single launcher system would use existing Space Transportation System (AKA the Space Shuttle) facilities and hardware to lift over 45 tons (in basic configuration) up to more than 100 tons (with an Upper Stage).
Direct's Jupiter rocket may be a Godsend to NASA, as it would enable the agency to reduce its "gap" (the period of time after the shuttle is grounded and when NASA builds a new rocket) by about two years.
Hopefully NASA takes a serious look at this as the Jupiter rockets could enable them to build their lunar beachheads much sooner.
Video: A demonstration of the launch of a Jupiter-120 headed for the ISS. Credit: Direct Launcher)
Want more space geek news? Then subscribe below via email, RSS or twitter for free updates! Prefer another service? How about via RSS or follow Colony Worlds on Twitter!