Thursday, November 05, 2009

NASA Aims For 2012 Ares Test Flight From KSC

NASA is scrapping plans for an Ares I-Y test flight because it is slipping out too far to be of use and aiming instead to launch an earlier test flight on 2012 that would feature a five-segment solid rocket booster and perhaps test the rocket's launch abort system.

The earlier launch would take place at launch pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center, giving a boost a center that is expected to see about 7,000 layoffs in late 2010 or early 2011 when the shuttle fleet is retired.

The new test flight would be dubbed Ares I-X Prime, NASA officials said. The Ares I-Y mission was scheduled to fly in 2013 but would have slipped to 2014 -- just a year before NASA is slated to fly the first piloted flight of an Ares rocket and an Orion spacecraft.

Check out the details HERE



21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good plan - keep things moving!

Anonymous said...

They need another I-X flight; got to get that 2nd stage tumbling under control; but why wait until then?

Anonymous said...

Why so long untill the next flight? How long does it take to build a rocket? or are they waiting for pad39b to be complete?

Gaetano Marano said...

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just a further doubt about the 1-X test...
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one of the questions asked in my two-years-old "The Ares-1 can't fly" article was...
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"There is another problem I've remarked over one year ago on a Space forum... the SRBs are NOT born to have any "upperstages' mass" since they fly side-mounted on the Shuttle... then, my question was, and still is: CAN the SRB structure (especially the RINGS junctions) support up to 200 mT [227 real] of upperstages' mass without any risks to crack due to the strong flight's stress? If real tests (like the Ares 1-X launch in 2009) will show that a standard structure can't support so much upperstages' mass, the new SRB must be reinforced adding much more weight to the (already too heavy) 1st stage of the Ares-1."
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well... are we SURE that the damages in the 1-X test came from a parachute's malfunction and (as a consequence) a too strong impact in the ocean... or... it came from TOO MUCH upperstages weight on an SRB booster NOT BORN to have any mass atop it????
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Anonymous said...

Yes, do it tomorrow.

Graham said...

No they don't i've said elsewhere on here it wouldn't be tumbling on a manned mission, as it would be under power after separation from the first stage. Nasa hasn't even mensioned it after the flight. It's not an issue.

This is great news,they're being bold in cutting out the Y test flight and moving straight to an X prime. The data must be very good from the X flight . Go on people keep being BOLD.!.

Anonymous said...

With enough money anything can be made to fly. But what conceivable practical benefit will Ares produce? We already have three medium-lift launch vehicles, Atlas, Delta, Shuttle, and soon we will have Falcon and Taurus II, both of which will be in service long before Ares. Ares has no prospect of ever carrying a "user" payload, either commercial or military.

Shuttle carries seven crew and 20 tons of cargo six times a year. Ares will carry four crew and a few hundred pounds twice a year, after a five year gap. We'll never again see a spaceship land on the Space Coast, instead a tiny capsule with no download capability will be hauled out of the Pacific.

Where will the money come from? During Apollo we had a budget surplus, largely because rich people paid a 90% marginal tax rate. Today taxes are "evil". Will even one Ares "booster" offer to pay a penny more? If not, the chances are nil that the rest of the country will raise their taxes to send the money here. The politicians who want an extra $3 billion won't vote for new taxes themselves and can't name a single practical benefit.

Constellation will cost more than Shuttle and produce less. Let's pull the plug now while we can still save Shuttle, and use the money saved for science and technology of practical value to America.

Anonymous said...

@Gaetano Marano:
I'm sure the engineers thought of that already. In reality, the segments actually are "born" to carry that compressive load, since the SRB is anchored to the shuttle stack at the bottom and the top. So at least some of that load is transferred through each segment. Where do you think all that SRB thrust is transmitted to?

@Anonymous, above:
Ares I is the people carrier; Ares V is the cargo carrier. Ares V will have more load capacity than the shuttle, since it is intended to send payloads to the moon instead of LEO.
Spaceship landings on the Space Coast are a shuttle phenomenon; get over it. Nobody got to see Mercury, Gemini, or Apollo landings.
Your comment about budget surpluses due to taxing "rich" people betrays your political perspective. The extra $3 billion should be easy to find by eliminating wasteful spending elsewhere, compared to the extra $100 billion the Democratic Congress wants to spend on socialized health care.

The shuttle is a killing machine, whose complexity far outpaces its utility. It forever limits our ability to go farther in space. It is not supposed to be a jobs program; if you want that, go sign up for one of the President's "shovel-ready" projects.

R2K said...

"This is great news,they're being bold in cutting out the Y test flight and moving straight to an X prime. The data must be very good from the X flight . Go on people keep being BOLD.!."

Friend, the Y test would be more advanced than the X prime. The X prime is half of a Y test. They are not being bold, they are being realistic and letting the schedule move with delays - in this case the upper stage doesnt appear to be ready on time. Not a horrible thing, not a great thing. Just being realistic.

The really bad thing would be the projected cost - up to $50 billion for the program. That is insane, even with inflation. This is a rather small rocket, using rather common rocket technology. They have no excuse for that, other than hundreds of well paid PhDs and Administrators. Hey, at least those are American jobs right?

Anonymous said...

At least you Florida Today guys can write a story without having the DIRECT fanboys looking over your shoulder making sure to put an anti-Ares slant into everything. Over at the Sentinel, Robert Block chooses to get all of his information from Ross Tierney and the DIRECT fanboys who just love to dump on Ares, with no legitimiate reason to do so.

T.O. problems with Ares? Now pretty much laid to rest.

Acoustic problems with Ares? Haven't heard squat.

Sounds like we have a rocket that is going to be ready to fly, and sooner than the fantasy that the DIRECT fanboys have thought up.

Conor said...

This reminds me of Apollo 8. The LM wasn't ready, so Apollo 8 went to the Moon without it.
If not all the hardware is ready, and you can usefully test what is ready to fly, do it. With any luck, it will bring forward the first manned flight.

Anonymous said...

Neither pro or against Ares 1... just want to see the Shuttle retire gracefully and Orion begin flying before the ISS is deorbited. Is that too much to hope for in this century of untold technological possibilites? I don't know if the 1-Y test would make any difference to perfecting Ares. But may be we should look at what NASA accomplished on 12 April 1981, which truly was a voyage into the unknown

Anonymous said...

>>The shuttle is a killing machine, whose complexity far outpaces its utility. It forever limits our ability to go farther in space.

In that case I advise you to raise your hand and say the next launch is unsafe and should be canceled. In fact, since Challenger NASA has asked anyone with safety concerns to come forward. If you are not willing to do so, then it is difficult to take your argument that the Shuttle is unsafe seriously.

Anonymous said...

If health care is cut, the money will go back to the taxpayers. If we want to increase the NASA budget, the money must come from the taxpayers. How can we ask them to provide more tax dollars unless we provide practical benefits?

Anonymous said...

Get the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ from the idiotic wars which no one in their right minds want!!

Graham said...

Yes Conor thats what i was meaning by saying they were being BOLD.They're cutting out one mission and bringing things forward.

Anonymous said...

Didn't they choose the Ares over the Delta and Atlas because it was made entirely of hardware that was already "man-rated"? LSAS said the Delta, which was already flying, was unacceptable because it might require some minor mods. How much money is now being spent to finally design and test this "already man-rated" hardware, such as the five-segment booster, the roll thrusters, the upper stage, the upper stage engine, the capsule, the LAS, the pad, etc.?

Marcel F. Williams said...

The Ares 1 program needs to be canceled in favor of NASA's SD-HLV. I feel ripped-off that NASA didn't even launch a 5 segment or 5.5 segment SRB during the Ares 1-X launch.

Graham said...

I can't see why,they didn't need the full power five segment first stage on the first X test flight, as it wasn't climbing all the way up the hill into orbit.

And the five seg booster is still undergoing testing it's self. It'll be putting in an appearance on a later test flight. Then you'll really see that thing shift at a rapid rate .!!.

Graham said...

Chicken and egg.If you don't provide the dollars there won't be any benefits. It's very simple.

Anonymous said...

"Where will the money come from? During Apollo we had a budget surplus, largely because rich people paid a 90% marginal tax rate. Today taxes are 'evil'."

The rich didn't actually pay the high marginal rates of the 50s-60s. That's what tax shelters were for (and still are, of course). If they'd actually been paying those rates on their income, the effects on the nation would have been incredibly damaging.