"Unfounded"? Orion/Ares is heavy and inefficient, and the solid rocket motors generate so much vibration that the thing risks shaking itself apart in mid-air. All of this is data that is known to all and sundry, so how the hell can anyone call this "unfounded criticism"?
I don't know what other people are saying about the Constellation program, but I know that the things I have been criticizing saying have come from NASA's own press releases. I've made no secret of the fact that I think it's stupid to develop a brand-new booster when all they have to do is dust off the Saturn V plans, and I've said that it's because NASA always wants new hardware.
Anyway, it's not the guys in the trenches who are the problem; it's the morons in charge.
It's "not invented here" syndrome: the Saturn V is forty years old and wasn't developed with the modern systems and technologies, so of course it's useless.
Never mind the fact that we're having to buy launches from the Russians, who are still using Vostok rockets, the same way they have been since, well, forever.
Yes, Saturn V could not be built according to the plans NASA has; not only do the fixtures and tools not exist, most of the parts are obsolete as well. But it's the difference between building an updated version of an old system from the ground up, or starting over completely from scratch and designing, developing, testing, and building an entirely new system.
The advantage of building "Saturn V 2.0"--as I have said several times before--is that modern technology will allow a higher payload than the original booster; and the original Saturn V was no slouch: 100 tons to low Earth orbit. We sent men to the Moon with Saturn Vs, using 1960s technology; and when it was time to put up Skylab, we used a Saturn V to do it. Skylab was, in fact, built on a modified Saturn V third stage "chassis".
NASA's response to the need for a "shuttle replacement" is to design a booster that can't even match the Saturn V's payload, and one which weighs more to boot. One that will need freaking shock absorbers because the solid rocket motors cause a lot of vibration!
And so we get this whining about "they're hurting our feelings!" Well, for crying out loud, if you idiots would do something right for once, maybe people would stop being so critical.