I thought another possibility for the "designed and operated by a commercial company" LOX/kero rocket mentioned could be the Falcon 9.exoscientist":36ug09ub said:Here's another source suggesting the Augustine panel is recommending against Ares I:
Augustine Panel takes final options to White House staff.
posted by Robert Block on Aug 14, 2009 11:44:48 AM
"The Constellation program in all of its guises is presumed to have scored very low, a sign that NASA’s work for the last four years on the Ares I and Ares V rockets and the Orion crew capsule may be stillborn.
"According to panel insiders, until yesterday committee members were working hard to make option 5b -- the flexible deep space option to explore the solar system using an EELV -- fit more closely to the budget. This option would likely relay on a rocket with a liquid oxygen and kerosene engine that would be designed and operated by a commercial company and bought by NASA."
http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_s ... staff.html
Interesting they seem to be saying the preferred option is an EELV using LOX/kero. That could mean the Atlas V, but that uses the RD-180, a Russian engine. The "designed and operated by a commercial company" part doesn't necessarily mean an American company but it certainly implies it.
Again this could mean restarting the RS-84. But if you use a RS-84 on an EELV that would be extremely wasteful because it was designed to be reusable.
However, I just looked up some info on the Falcon 9:
It uses 9 Merlin engines of only 125,000 sea level thrust. I find it unlikely that NASA would want to use a cluster of 9 engines for its manned launches. Creating a version of nearly 10 times greater thrust is also not merely a matter of scaling. It nearly requires an entire new design. That would be quite expensive and time consuming. I find it unlikely NASA would assign that gargantuan task to SpaceX.
SpaceX also intends to makes these engines be reusable by sea recovery. I found it even more unlikely NASA would trust delicately balanced, high thrust engines used on manned launches to undergo sea recovery. High pressure turbopumps with their quite exacting tolerances used on such engines are something very different that just solid rocket motor casings.
That leaves us again with the RS-84 or the TR107 engines that have already udergone partial development. And again if these reusable engines are used it would be extremely wasteful not to use flyback boosters to reuse them.