Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ares I first-stage test firing declared a success

NASA and ATK have declared today's "cold" firing of the Ares I first-stage motor a success.

"We did get a chance here in the last hour to look at the preliminary data, and it looks absolutely excellent," said Alex Priskos, first stage manager for Ares Projects at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., during a press conference after the test.

"The chamber pressures and the thrust pressures we were expecting, you couldn't tell there were two lines there for the most part," Priskos said.

The test was conducted under the "program of record," or the Constellation program, parts of which are slated for cancellation, including the Ares I vehicle.

However, NASA officials said the data collected would help engineers make decisions about the design of a heavy-lift rocket.

"Everbody is interested in future of exploration of space with people going beyond low Earth orbit to multiple destinations," said Doug Cooke, associate administrator for NASA's Exploration Mission Systems Directorate. "It will take the kind of work we saw coming out of this test today to lead us into that future. So we're looking forward to getting on a path and moving forward."

The test at ATK's Promontory, Utah, facility was the second of the Ares I first stage and first conducted at cold temperatures (40 degrees Fahrenheit). The test cost about $75 million, and NASA has spent about $1 billion to date developing the Ares I first stage.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope we get to see the fruits of this labor. Watching the Ares I-X flight was inspiring and gave us hope that we would again show the world that the U.S. is the premier leader in all things space. My fear is that we will outsource the job.