Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Live At KSC: NASA Ares I-X Heads To Launch Pad

LIVE IMAGES: The images above are from live video feeds of NASA TV (left) and the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing Weather Channel. They will automatically refresh to the most up-to-the-minute image every 30 seconds.

BLOGGER UPDATE: 9:20 a.m.: Ares I-X Secured At Pad. NASA is gearing up for a six-day series of tests and check outs of the Ares I-X rocket as the agency marches toward a planned launch next Tuesday. NASA engineers secured the vehicle to launch pad 39B around 9:18 a.m., capping a 4.2-mile move from the Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly Building. NASA mission managers say the slender "single stick," which was secured to its mobile launcher platform by just four large bolts, remained steady throughout the eight-hour, 40-minute move. Engineers monitoring strain gauges said the forces encountered by the rocket were only 10 percent of certification limits despite sometimes breezy conditions. The rollout keeps NASA on tract for a launch during a window that will extend from 8 a.m. to noon next Tuesday. Target liftoff time for the test flight is 8 a.m.

BLOGGER UPDATE, 7 a.m.: Ares I-X Approaching Pad. NASA's Ares I-X rocket is approaching launch pad 39B as the sun rises over Florida's Space Coast and the 4.2-mile journey from the Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly Building reaches the five-and-a-half-hour mark. The crawler transporter is moving along at a clip of about 0.8 mph. The rocket rounded the turn north to pad 39B at about 6 a.m. It is expected to be secured to the launch pad around 9:30 a.m. You can watch the rollout live here in The Flame Trench. Click the NASA TV box on the right side of the page to launch our NASA TV viewer and be sure to refresh this page for periodic updates.

NASA's imposing Ares I-X rocket is headed toward its oceanside launch pad today after an impressive crawl out of its Kennedy Space Center assembly building.

With its mobile launcher platform mounted atop a giant tracked transporter, the 327-foot rocket emerged from High Bay No. 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building at 1:39 a.m., a little more than an hour and a half later than planned.

Standing 15 stories taller than NASA's space shuttle, the gleaming white rocket -- which was bathed in high-power xenon floodlights -- made for an impressive sight as the crawler crept along at less than one mile per hour.

"It's fantastic," said Angela Posada-Swafford, the senior U.S. correspondent for Muy Interesante, the largest science magazine for general audiences in Spain and Latin America. "It's gorgeous."

The transporter slowly picked up speed from 0.2 to 0.6 and then 0.8 mph as the world's tallest rocket was hauled down a river-rock crawlerway toward launch pad 39B, where it will be readied for launch on a test-flight next Tuesday.

The Ares I-X slipped into darkness about 3 a.m., and NASA -- as planned -- suspended live television coverage. Live NASA TV coverage will pick up again at 7 a.m. as the rocket approaches the pad, which is 4.2 miles from the assembly building.

You can watch the arrival live here in The Flame Trench. Simply click the NASA TV box on the right side of the page to launch our NASA TV viewer and be sure to refresh this page for periodic updates.

The Ares I-X is expected to be secured on the pad around 9:30 a.m.

NASA's Ares I-X rocket comprises a four-segment shuttle solid rocket booster, a fifth segment spacer and mock-ups of Ares I's second stage, Orion crew capsule and Launch Abort System tower.

A five-segment solid rocket motor will form the first stage of the Ares I rocket and its second stage will be powered by a liquid-fueled J2X engine -- an upgraded version of the second stage that power Saturn V moon rockets.

The $445 million Ares I-X program will culminate in a test flight aimed at checking out how well the first stage of the rocket can be controlled. The system that separates the rocket's first and second stages also will be tested along with the first stage parachute recovery system.

For information on the upcoming launch:

Click HERE for an Ares I-X Fact Sheet.

Click HERE for an Ares I-X engineering drawing.

Click HERE for an Ares I-X flyer.

Click HERE for an Ares I-X Test Flight Report delivered to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 2008.

ABOUT THE IMAGES: Click to enlarge and save the Florida Today image (top) of the Ares I-X rocket as it emerged from the Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly Building at 1:39 a.m. and then headed toward launch pad 39B for a planned launch next Tuesday. Photo credit: Michael R. Brown/Florida Today. You can also click to enlarge the NASA TV screen grab of the rocket as it slipped into darkness on the crawlerway that connects the Vehicle Assembly Building and launch pads 39A and 39B.


Anonymous said...

Jesus, can't you just put the time/date for the launch without having to read 47 friggin pages??????????????????

John Kelly said...

The launch is next Tuesday, 8 a.m.

This page is for live updates of what's happening out at Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral.

In the future, if you want to skip the details and just see the launch schedule, I urge you to check out this launch schedule page:


Anonymous said...

Looks like a huge gust of wind could just blow this thing over.

Anonymous said...

Huge gust or temperatures around freezing.

This entire thing (first 200 feet) is scary as heck.

If you liked corkscrews in the air in 1986 you will love this F'n POS. WTF was NASA thinking?

Gaetano Marano said...


...finally, the biggest ESTES rocket ever, should fly... :)


Graham said...

Wait and see what happens,cork screws don't make me laugh.This flight will i think shut quite a few up.Or make their jaw drop on the deck. Tuesdays going to be a good thing for Nasa.

Graham said...

I told you so not a corkscrew in sight!!,the flight of Ares 1X was a complete success Well done NASA!!!. Now please let them get on with developing these new systems.