Thursday, October 22, 2009

Live at KSC: Ares I-X run through pre-launch tests

Kennedy Space Center personnel are putting NASA's towering Ares I-X test flight rocket through a battery of critical tests before a planned 8 a.m. Tuesday launch.

An official launch date and time is expected to be confirmed after a flight test readiness review concludes Friday evening.

The two-day Integrated Systems Test begun this morning is broken up into two parts, focusing on vehicle systems today and launch pad and ground systems on Friday.

At 1:30 p.m. today, workers will roll the rotating service tower at launch pad 39B into its open launch position. By 7 p.m., they'll perform a "hot fire" of two Auxiliary Power Units controlling the first stage's steering system.

The rocket's avionics and more than 700 sensors that will be used at different stages of the 2.5-minute suborbital flight will all be activated.

Communications between launch teams and the Air Force's Eastern Range will be checked. The Range has the authority to blow up the 327-foot rocket if it veers off course and endangers populated areas.

Even the xenon lights that will illuminate the rocket on Launch Pad 39B will be turned on to make sure they are working and aligned properly.

The systems tests will run until about 10 p.m. both nights.

A simulation planned Saturday will run launch teams through the final 50-minutes of a seven-hour countdown expected to begin at 1 a.m. Tuesday.

The test flight has a four-hour window that extends from 8 a.m. to noon on three consecutive days.

The 1.8-million pound Ares I-X rocket is powered by a four-segment shuttle solid rocket booster with a dummy fifth segment. On top of that are mock-ups of an upper stage, Orion spacecraft and launch abort system.

The flight will collect data on the first-stage flight control system, first and second stage separation and parachute recovery systems.

Check out this NASA fact sheet for more background.


Anonymous said...

I have to admit...although I have been anti-Ares from the start, I was looking forward to seeing the rocket on the pad. Now that it's there, I am completely unimpressed. It's just a white stick standing there. Compare that to the awesome appearance of the space shuttle on the pad, and this is one big snoozer if you ask me.

OhTheHumanity said...

And what an idiot comment. Ares is not as impressive as the Shuttle?! Which system gets us out of Earth orbit, genius? Amazing. What a brilliant analysis.

Anonymous said...

I was talking about the way it looks, Einstein. Any moron would know that. My comment had nothing what either vehicle was capable of doing. Read the words before you comment on them.

"Which system gets us out of Earth orbit" Ummm...correct me if I'm wrong, but Ares hasn't got us out of Earth orbit yet. It hasn't done anything yet. It's all on paper and it's about to get cancelled.

As I said, Ares is unimpressive. It's a was your brillian reponse.