NASA has just introduced an proposal to create a new lauch vehicle:
"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 "Universal Launcher", capable of performing both roles.
This 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 would use existing Space Shuttle's facilities / hardware to lift over 70mT (basic configuration) up to over 98mT (with an Upper Stage).
This approach would introduce many key benefits (optimum use of existing NASA and contractor workers know-how, equipment, development costs, upgrade paths, early return to the Moon) over the current Ares Launch Vehicles. To know more about this concept please browse the menu for DIRECT's Proposal (pdf), images, video and related link"
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