Talk:Shuttle-Derived Launch Vehicle

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Merge & Splitting[edit]

SDLV is not an actual vehicle but a concept, which has been around for a long time, sense the 80's. Shuttle-C should be merge because it was one of the original concepts. Ares on the other hand is a launch vehicle that uses shuttle derived hardware.

Suggested Structure for reorganisation of SDLV, Ares, Shuttle C, AND C.E.V.


  • Should only contain info on shuttle derived hardware & about using shuttle derived hardware.
  • With sparing references to ares and the C.E.V.(all references for CEV should be on the CEV page).
  • add shuttle-A & shuttle-B & shuttle-Z to page.
  • add Magnum concept( this may be the shuttle-Zconcept) & the original Ares concept from Robert Zubrin to page
  • There is a large element of this page that is about the Ares rocket this should be on the Ares rocket article not the SDLV articel.
  • Robert Zubrin work for heavy launcher MUST be in this article.


  • merge into SDLV


  • sense this is an actual rocket it should stay seperate, WITH ONLY relavent referenses to SDLV AND CEV.

MAJOR POINT: CEV DOES NOT BELONG ON THIS PAGE! --aceslead 16:25, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Oppose both mergers, as documented on each article's talk page (ie Talk:Shuttle-C and Talk:Ares (rocket) --GW_SimulationsUser Page | Talk 19:42, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Environmental Opposition to SRBs[edit]

I removed this as 20 mins of googling revealed no supporting evidence to the claims made, and there was no supporting link. I will admit that the SRB exhaust is rather unpleasant and a liquid fuel system would be preferable (although using LH2 would not, as the structural penalties are to high)

The original fuels used in SRBs were damaging to the ozone layer (there is some commentary on this at, i.e. Encyclopedia Astronautica), but was changed in the 80's after the Challenger accident. This did result in some loss of payload capacity for the shuttle, some of which was made up for by not painting the fuel tank and thinning the foam layer, however another environmental issue, specifically the CFC ban on production and use of freon, directly impacted the foam insulation application process, and it has been commented on by a number of industry insiders that the problem of falling foam started after the fuel tank maker stopped using Freon to clean the tank surface prior to foam application. User:Mlorrey
  • The 'Environmental Opposition to SRBs' would be better served if it were on the SRB article.--aceslead 16:25, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

SSME vs. RS-68[edit]

Why do they want to use 5 ssme's instead of fewer more powerful Delta IV engines? Wouldn't they be better, since they are in series production and were designed for simplicity and robustness (low cost as a consequence)? Plus, fewer engines increase reliability and if they used four, the booster would be more powerful. Do they have a huge stockpile of ssme's? - Unsigned by

There's still discussion about this, and speculation that they may change their minds. Also, switching to something like the RS-68 means you can use a higher energy density fuel like Kerosene. I guess we'll just have to watch and see. - CHAIRBOY () 14:55, 21 September 2005 (UTC)
RS-68 uses LOX/LH2 as well as SSME. RD-180 of Atlas V rocket burns kerosene, but it is a russian engine, that's why very unlikely to be used on SDLV. And LOX/LH2 is the highest energy density chemical fuel at all, only such exotic (and very toxic) fuels/oxidizers like beryllium or fluorine are even better. --Bricktop 22:43, 21 September 2005 (UTC)
My $0.02: *THE* highest specific impulse for chemical engine is delivered by lithium, fluorine, and hydrogen - ~550 sec. Not useful due to toxicity and other issues.
LH2 is the highest energy density when you compare fuels kg for kg. The problem with LH2 is that it is the least dense fuel of all (0.07kg/l), so, when you compare fuels by liter (volumetrically), it turns out to be a terrible fuel for any rocket that deals with large aerodynamic losses at low altitudes. This is why the Saturn V first stage burned kerosene rather than LH2. An LH2 first stage would have been twice the size of the one they used, and twice the diameter. This is why the third stage of the Saturn V is called "S-IVb", instead of S-III. They originally planned four LH2/LOX stages, but the first proved to cost prohibitive for the performance. NASA and many folks are hung up on the Greenness of LH2 and ignore the penalties that the fuel imposes on increased vehicle structure size, mass, drag coefficient, and reductions in payload capacity.User:Mlorrey
Yes, LH2 for 1st stage looks stupid.
  • the original concept for a SDLV was for the rocket to use SSME, not the RS-68, how ever i agree SSME wouldn't be economical or ideal, the RS-68 would be optimal.--aceslead 16:25, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Official Announcement[edit]

It says at the top of the article that "no official announcement has been made" but on NASA's webpage it looks like there's no question that they're going to persue the Shuttle Derived Launch Vehicles.

Yep, done. After 2 months. Guess this isn't a high traffic page.

Robert Zubrin credited with inspiration?[edit]

Is this sentence necessary in the article? The rocket looks like a lengthened space shuttle boost system, without the space shuttle attached (perhaps this is why it is called "shuttle derived"), is Robert Zubrin credited with that design?

It is also worth noting that the Heavy launcher is visually extremely similar to the Ares heavy lift booster conceptualised by Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society, who has met with NASA on many occasions in trying to advocate his Mars Direct mission profile.

--Fxer 23:31, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

I'd suggest that it be reinserted, and here's why (I wrote the comment in question):

Apart from looking very similar, here are the specific links between Ares and SDLV. Bear in mind that the Ares concept is several yearss older than this SDLV version, and that NASA most definitely were at least aware of Zubrin's concept before SDLV was drafted:

1. They both use sidemounted shuttle-type SRB's for propulsion in both instances. 2. The main engines are SSME or SSME derivatives in both instances. 3. Ares and SDLV both use a specifically wider fairing at the top of the rocket for enhcnaced cargo capacity (though not shown in the wikipedia article illustration). 4. They both are in the same lifting-class. Why is this significant? A few years ago, we were talking about spending billions more developing a rocket called Magnum to do the job that the SDLV will now do. It had an inferior capacity (approx 80t) and was ultimately canned. The concept of Ares (and SDLV) is to do as much as you can with existing technology, which NASA and contractors seem to have taken onboard, but to take it to a useful level like 100t+ (i.e. Saturn, Energia, etc...). 5. Mars Direct underwent a thorough review by NASA in the late Clinton period, but was never adopted. They knew detailed conceptual ideas for Ares, but the government was never going to fund them...until now.

As an aside, one of the single biggest aspects of Mars Direct that has been adopted by NASA is methane fuelled engines for use on Mars. This was stressed over and over and over in Zubrin's 'The Case for Mars' where he lays out Mars Direct. A Sabatier reactor produces Methane from Carbon Dioxide. If such a crucial, crucial point is being effected by NASA, when it has previously done virtually nothing with metahne engines over the last 50 years is not a coincidence, then I think other elements of the design may well have been adopted too.

--Themanwithnoname 17:56, 6th November 2005 (GMT)

  • It looks like someone just reapplied this change. 2005-11-20 13:11:55 adds, "It is also worth noting that the Heavy launcher is visually similar to the Ares heavy lift booster conceptualised by Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society, who has met with NASA on many occasions in trying to advocate his Mars Direct mission profile. It is a tantalizing possibility, given the other 'Mars Direct' technologies that have openly been adopted for Project Constellation, that Zubrin and the Mars Society has had an indirect but significant influence on the design of the vehicle." Note that is different from aka Themanwithnoname, who takes credit for the earlier Zubrin citation. I have no opinion in this issue, I just want to record the information. -- Jdlh | Talk 22:23, 21 November 2005 (UTC)

Just to add my tenpenneth again - if the SDLV designation really is the Ares V when it is officially announced, this would be yet enother tip of the hat to Mars Direct and Robert Zubrin. Not sure I can chalk all this up to coincidence....--Themanwithnoname 14:57, 1st April 2006 (GMT)

I would particularly like to add here that since the rocket family that is being developed for Project Constellation is now to be known as 'Ares' (same as Zubrin's Mars Direct', the similarities are getting silly........--Themanwithnoname 20:51, 7th July 2006 (BST)

Criticism of 5-segment booster and nozzle depth[edit]

The criticism about the 5-segment booster ending up with its nozzles too deep underwater for OSHA regulations references a blog entry by "MJ" at However, there is an update at that blog entry which reads, "It has come to my attention that a Wikipedia article is treating this post as an authoritative source regarding the five-segment SRB. I should warn the readership that my info comes from just one second-hand source. I can't vouch for the authenticity of this info because I haven't done the analysis, at least not yet...."

So I think the smart think for me to do on Wikipedia's behalf is to water down the claim in the Criticisms section a little bit. I will do this, and also move this entry lower down in the section, as a way of addressing "MJ"'s comments. I'm being bold, but if you wish to tweak my wording, go ahead.

You're exactly right, that entire paragraph doesn't belong, so I removed it. This is an encyclopedia, not Usenet. We don't cite blogs as references. Even having a criticism section is questionable, unless backed up by authoritative references. This is an encyclopedia, not a forum for pro/con discussion. The prime directive is DESCRIBE the topic. There were multiple other problems with the criticism section. I left the criticism section in but reworded it to be more encyclopedic in nature. Joema 01:14, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Ares Rocket[edit]

I say we change the name of this article to Ares Rocket. LOL!

Supercool Dude 02:48, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

OPPOSE: SDLV is a concept, Ares rocket is a actual rocket. they shoud stay be seperated, the removal of the vast majoity of Ares reference, which should be on the Ares rocket article.--aceslead 16:30, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Shuttle Derived Launch Vehicle (SDLV) for Orion Capsule[edit]

Is it just me or does the logic of a THIRD NEW launch vehicle (the previous two being the Atlas 5 and the Delta 4) just seem stupid. Why built a THIRD NEW launch vehicle, NASA said it would save money. Really???? It which imaginary universe would this actually happaned.

I propose a critism article questioning the wisdom of using SDLV technology for a NEW manned launch vehicle. Sense the EELV (delta 4 and Atlas 5) would have been man rated.

Further more it seem that NASA is "keeping" the the SRB for a man rated launch vehicle to please ATK Thiokol. Real smart NASA.--aceslead 04:35, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Well, it's just kind of hard for NASA to admit now in public that large solids in human-piloted rockets were a big mistake. I guess only a new Challenger will awake NASA. Apparently relatively recent Delta and Titan explosions were not loud enough.


SDLV should not contain info on the CEV. That info belong on the CEV page.--aceslead 00:41, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

duplicate info[edit]

Why is duplicate information from the Ares (rocket) on the SDLV? --aceslead 01:06, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Proposed Removal of Irrelevant Content[edit]

  • There is a lot of information from the Ares rocket article and from the Orion space capsule article on the SDLV. I propose that this irrelevant information be removed so that only information on the SDLV concept is present.--aceslead 01:24, 8 November 2006 (UTC)


Add "* Support" or "* Oppose" followed by an optional one-sentence explanation, then sign your opinion with ~~~~

  • Support--aceslead 01:24, 8 November 2006 (UTC)


Add any additional comments

The information in question is irrelevant for the SHUTTLE DERIVED LAUNCH VEHICLE concept. Information that belongs on the Ares rocket article is infested the SDLV article which ISN'T about the Ares rocket nor is the SDLV about the C.E.V. or Orion space capsule. For this article CEV & Orion & Ares shouldn't be on THIS article.--aceslead 01:24, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Major edit of December 7, 2006[edit]

As mentioned in my edit summary where the {{inuse}} tag was removed, this is the rationale for the major edit. My goals were to:

  • Fix numerous little things throughout the article
  • Redo the headings
  • Rearrange the article's sections to place the current proposal together and above past proposals
  • Sort the standard appendices to bring that area in line with the Manual of Style

So there you go. Is there more room for improvement? Certainly, as no person or article is perfect. If you can improve it further, then by all means, be bold and do so. SchuminWeb (Talk) 19:31, 7 December 2006 (UTC)


So. "Proponents of NASA's planned Ares and Orion vehicles claim that a primary benefit of the proposed Ares system would be a risk reduction of an estimated ten to one hundred times for Orion crews compared to the present Shuttle system."

Depending on who the 'proponents' are, either NASA is admitting that the Shuttle is unsafe, or groups within NASA are. That's how I read this section, anyway. Agreed? WikiReaderer 21:55, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

I can certainly see how you can read that into the text. I would like to think, though, that "admitted unsafe" is not the writer's intention. You know what they say, though, you can never be too careful when it comes to safety, so while the Shuttle may be relatively safe, the Orion would be safer.
As for "depending on who the 'proponents' are", I have added a {{who}} tag indicating that it needs attribution. SchuminWeb (Talk) 03:16, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
OK, I may have been reading it in a certain way. Thanks for confirming my point that we need some citation on who has been saying this new system would be much safer. Re: safety of the shuttle, I can't help but notice there have been two fatal accidents in - what - 100-odd launches? So that would be roughly a 98% safety factor. Therefore, an increase in safety by ten to a hundred times is certainly something to be desired. WikiReaderer 15:07, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

DIRECT vs. Ares IV[edit]

The article states that DIRECT bears a strong resemblance to Ares IV. I don't see why this is stated. Ares-IV uses 5-segment SRBs and a 10m core stage; DIRECT uses 4-segment SRBs and an 8.4m core stage. Thus, Ares-IV resembles Ares-V far more closely than it does DIRECT. In fact, it is just an Ares-V with the upper stage from Ares-1 put on top in place of the usual EDS. I will remove the comparison unless somebody can explain why it is there. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Agreed, and therefore removed. SchuminWeb (Talk) 10:25, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

Rationale for the name "Ares"?[edit]

Has there been any public discussion of this unusual choice of names? It seems somewhat surprising that NASA would choose to name the centerpiece of its space program after the Greek God of violence and war. It would be interesting to learn more about the thinking that, in this era of global cooperation, convinced NASA that it was appropriate to rebuild its space program around the mythos of this ancient God of War. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:09, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Because Ares is also going to be used as an ICBM. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:14, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Shuttle-Derived Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle Page Needs Work![edit]

I have created the Wikipedia entry for the Shuttle-Derived Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle, but it needs someone to read the two articles and watch the NASA video and then write a decent Wikipedia article. Can someone please step forward and do this? --Radical Mallard July 11, 2009, 7:52 PM EST

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