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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The ARES I-X rocket soars through the sky on October 28, 2009.
Canon / Scott Andrews

FINALLY! After a day’s worth of delays due to weather concerns and some Joe Schmoe errantly steering his cargo ship into restricted waters off the coast of Kennedy Space Center (KSC) yesterday, the Ares I-X rocket finally launched on its much-anticipated test flight this morning. And its flight sure was triboelectrifying! If you don’t know what that word means, look it up. Just don’t ask anyone who oversaw the test at KSC’s Launch Control today what it means... They’ll probably smack you upside the head in a sec.

The ARES I-X rocket successfully lifts off from Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on October 28, 2009.
NASA / Jack Pfaller

The ARES I-X rocket successfully lifts off from Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on October 28, 2009.
NASA / Jim Grossmann

With space shuttle ATLANTIS in the foreground, the ARES I-X rocket successfully lifts off from Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on October 28, 2009.
Canon / Scott Andrews

Here’s the video of the launch:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Moon shines above the ARES I-X rocket at Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on October 23, 2009.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

TODAY’S THE DAY... Bad weather might thwart this morning’s launch attempt (at 5 AM, Pacific Daylight Time) of NASA's Ares I-X rocket, but oh well. Just thought I’d share more awesome photos of the test vehicle at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39B in Florida...

The ARES I-X rocket at Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on October 23, 2009.
NASA / Jack Pfaller

The ARES I-X rocket at Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on October 23, 2009.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

The ARES I-X rocket at Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on October 23, 2009.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

The ARES I-X rocket at Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on October 23, 2009.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

The ARES I-X rocket at Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on October 23, 2009.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

The ARES I-X rocket at Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on October 23, 2009.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

The ARES I-X rocket at Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on October 23, 2009.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

Friday, October 23, 2009

Space shuttle ATLANTIS (foreground) and ARES I-X (background) at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39, on October 23, 2009.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

Ready For Launch...

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NASA GIVES 'GO' FOR THE ARES I-X TEST ROCKET LAUNCH ON OCT. 27 (Press Release)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA has completed a review of the Ares I-X development rocket's readiness for its flight test and selected Tuesday, Oct. 27, as the official launch date. Liftoff is scheduled for 8 a.m. EDT from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Ares I-X launch date was announced after a flight test readiness review at Kennedy. During the meeting, senior NASA and contractor managers assessed the risks associated with the test and determined the rocket, support systems and procedures are ready for launch.

"I am proud of the work this team has done to ready this test rocket for launch," said Doug Cooke, associate administrator for NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. "This is the first time in more than 30 years that NASA has built a vehicle in a new configuration so this has been a valuable learning experience.

"This test will yield important data to support the nation's next steps in exploration. There is no substitute for hard data - flight testing clarifies the distinction between imagined outcomes and real flight experience."

The 28-mile high, two-minute flight of the Ares I-X, an uncrewed development rocket, will provide NASA with an opportunity to test and prove hardware, facilities and ground operations, while gathering critical data for the Ares I rocket and future launch vehicles.

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The present and the future (hopefully)...both poised for launch at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The ARES I-X rocket rolls out of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on October 20, 2009.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

ARES I-X Update...

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NASA'S ARES I-X ROCKET ARRIVES AT LAUNCH PAD IN FLORIDA (Press Release)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - For the first time in more than a quarter century, a new vehicle is sitting at Launch Pad 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Ares I-X flight test vehicle arrived at the pad atop of a giant crawler-transporter at approximately 7:45 a.m. EDT Tuesday.

The crawler-transporter left Kennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building at 1:39 a.m., traveling less than 1 mph during the 4.2-mile journey. The rocket was secured on the launch pad at 9:17 a.m.

The vehicle is scheduled to launch at 8 a.m. on Oct. 27. This test flight of the Ares I-X rocket will provide NASA an early opportunity to test and prove hardware, models, facilities and ground operations associated with the Ares I launch vehicle.

The Ares I rocket is being designed to carry astronauts to space in the Orion crew exploration vehicle. The Ares I-X test flight also will allow NASA to gather critical data during ascent of the vehicle's integrated stack, which includes the Ares I with a simulated upper stage, Orion and launch abort system. Data collected from more than 700 sensors throughout the rocket will begin to confirm the vehicle as a whole is safe and stable in flight before astronauts begin traveling into orbit.

"With the arrival of Ares I-X at the pad, this milestone demonstrates NASA's world-class ability to conceptually design, build and process a new launch vehicle in just under four years," said Bob Ess, mission manager for Ares I-X at Kennedy. "Nearly 2,000 NASA and contractor employees located throughout the United States worked together in an unprecedented fashion, resulting in the new vehicle ready for flight."

During the week before launch, technicians at the pad will perform a variety of electrical and mechanical checks to ready the vehicle for flight, including hydraulic power unit hot fire, steering tests and internal power verifications using flight batteries.

United Space Alliance of Houston is NASA's prime contractor for the ground processing of the Ares I-X rocket.

"Processing for the Ares I-X test flight in parallel with space shuttle operations has been a true challenge involving people and hardware from across the country, and we're very proud of what the team has accomplished," said Mark Nappi, vice president of Launch and Recovery Systems for United Space Alliance.

ATK Space Systems of Magna, Utah, is NASA's prime contractor for the first stage of the rocket.

"The NASA and contractor teamwork displayed over the last four years has been the catalyst that brought us to this important milestone today," said Bob Herman, ATK's vice president of Exploration Systems for Kennedy Space Center Operations. "As the Ares I first stage provider, we are looking forward to receiving invaluable data during the flight test."

At the Flight Test Readiness Review on Oct. 23, mission managers will finalize the launch date and provide the team with a final "go" or "no go" for launch.

Ares I-X is an uncrewed, suborbital development test in a modified Ares I configuration. Ares I-X is the first developmental flight test of the Constellation Program, which includes the Ares I and V rockets, Orion and the Altair lunar lander.

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The ARES I-X rocket rolls toward Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, as the Sun rises on October 20, 2009.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

The ARES I-X rocket approaches Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on October 20, 2009.
NASA / Jack Pfaller

The ARES I-X rocket approaches Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on October 20, 2009.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

The ARES I-X rocket arrives at Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on October 20, 2009.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

The ARES I-X rocket at Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on October 20, 2009.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

The ARES I-X rocket at Launch Complex 39B...as seen from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on October 20, 2009.
NASA / Jim Grossmann

The ARES I-X rocket at Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on October 22, 2009.
NASA / Jack Pfaller