Permanent Human Settlement of the Earth, Space and Ocean Frontiers

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

21st Century Spaceships

We are going to be making radical changes in our manned transportation systems to space. New spaceships are now being designed and this year, the contracts will be established to build them. The first of the new space vehicles – the Ares I - will be launched in 2009. Here is NASA’s press release:

NASA is already at work developing hardware and systems for the Ares I rocket that will send future astronauts into orbit. Built on cutting-edge launch technologies, evolved powerful Apollo and space shuttle propulsion elements, and decades of NASA spaceflight experience, Ares I is the essential core of a safe, reliable, cost-effective space transportation system -- one that will carry crewed missions back to the moon, on to Mars and out into the solar system.

Ares I is an in-line, two-stage rocket configuration topped by the Orion crew vehicle and its launch abort system. In addition to the vehicle's primary mission -- carrying crews of four to six astronauts to Earth orbit -- Ares I may also use its 25-ton payload capacity to deliver resources and supplies to the International Space Station, or to "park" payloads in orbit for retrieval by other spacecraft bound for the moon or other destinations.

NASA has also published a detailed PDF fact sheet that you can download by clicking here.