Se pare ca totusi nu o sa foloseasca conceptul : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8311023.stm
NASA Unveils New Rocket For Historic Test Flight
20 October 2009
Video - NASA's Ares I-X Test Flight
For the first time in nearly 30 years, a brand new NASA rocket has rolled out to a seaside launching pad in Florida to prepare for a launch test debut.
The rocket is Ares I-X — a suborbital prototype for the Ares I rocket NASA plans to use to launch its shuttle successor, the Orion spacecraft. Currently the world's tallest booster in service, the Ares I-X rolled out to the launch pad early Tuesday and is slated to blast off Oct. 27 at 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT) on a short demonstration flight.
"The Ares I-X is going to fly straight up and straight out," said NASA commentator George Diller as the 327-**** (100-meter) tall rocket began moving toward Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. "During that time we'll be testing the stage separation to determine how well the first stage separation motors perform, as well as the performance of the booster itself, namely the parachutes and other apparatus that will deploy."
The $445 million rocket's rollout comes on the eve of a final report from an independent committee appointed by the White House to review NASA's plans for ...ure human spaceflight.
During a series of summer meetings, the committee found that NASA does not have the budget to fund its vision of replacing the shuttle fleet by 2015 and returning astronauts to the moon by 2020. Led by former Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine, the committee is due to release a report Thursday that details several options for President Barack Obama's consideration, some of which do not include the Ares I rocket at all.
Historic, spectacular rollout
The committee's upcoming report aside, the rollout of Ares I-X provided a spectacular sight, one which NASA broadcast live on NASA TV in its entirety. Reporters and photographers, along with NASA personnel, could be seen watching the giant rocket slowly make the 4.2-mile (6.7-km) launch pad trek.
Not since the April 1981 test flight of NASA's space shuttle Columbia has NASA test launched a new rocket designed to carry astronauts into space. Like Columbia and its external tank, the towering Ares I-X rocket is painted in all white and gleamed in the glare of blazing xenon spotlights as it emerged from the 52-story Vehicle Assembly Building. But unlike that first shuttle flight, Ares I-X will be unmanned.
"Ares I-X is rolling!" Diller said as NASA's massive Apollo-era crawler-transporter vehicle began hauling the new rocket to Pad 39B at 1:39 a.m. EDT (0539 GMT).
The trip took about seven hours and started over an hour late due to slight delays in preparation work, but the process appeared to go smoothly in the end.
"This has been a little bit slow-going, but primarily because this is the first time we've ever done this," Diller said.
The skyscraping Ares I-X rocket stands 143 feet (44 meters) taller than NASA's space shuttles. It is the tallest rocket to emerge from the Vehicle Assembly Building since the massive 363-**** (110-meter) Saturn V rocket used to launch Apollo astronauts to the moon in the 1960s and 1970s.
The Saturn V holds the record for the tallest, most powerful rocket in history, but Ares I-X is the tallest to fly today. For comparison, NASA's space shuttles stand about 184 feet (56 meters) tall in launch position.
The space shuttle Atlantis is currently perched atop its own launch pad, Pad 39A for a planned Nov. 16 liftoff. Not since 1975, when a Saturn IB rocket launched an Apollo capsule to meet a Soyuz spacecraft from the Soviet Union, has a non-shuttle rocket sat atop a NASA launch pad.
"It's neat to see where we're going next [and] what the next step will be," said Atlantis commander Charlie Hobaugh, who arrived at the Kennedy Space Center Monday for prelaunch training. "And that when we stop flying the shuttle at some ...ure point, it's not the end. It's actually the beginning."
The Ares I-X rocket weighs 1.8 million pounds (816,466 kg), and NASA engineers expected its tip to sway up to 1 **** (0.3 meters) during the rollout. Altogether, the Ares I-X rocket, its Mobile Launch Platform and the crawler-transporter itself weigh about 16 million pounds (7.2 million kg).
Major launch test ahead
The Ares I-X test rocket has three chances to launch next week, one a day each between Oct. 27 and Oct. 29. NASA initially planned to only have two days to try and fly Ares I-X, but on Monday the agency pushed the launch target for the space shuttle Atlantis to Nov. 16 — a four-day delay — in order to allow the third opportunity.
NASA's Ares I rocket is a two-stage launcher made up of a giant five-segment solid rocket booster first stage (similar to the four-segment versions used on the space shuttle) and a liquid-fueled second stage. Completing the rocket is the Orion crew capsule and a launch abort system tower at the top. The rocket is tall and slender, and is thicker at the top than on the bottom.
The Ares I-X is not a full Ares I rocket. Its first stage is a four-segment solid rocket booster — repurposed from the shuttle fleet's inventory — capped with a dummy fifth segment. The thicker second stage, Orion crew capsule and launch abort system are also all mock-ups built to simulate the size and mass of the real thing.
During next week's launch test, the flight is expected to last just over two minutes and reach an altitude of about 28 miles (45 km) as the Ares I-X rocket launches eastward over the Atlantic Ocean. First stage separation will come about two minutes, 33 seconds into the flight, with the first stage parachuting down to the ocean to be recovered. The dummy second stage and Orion mockups will crash into the ocean and not be recovered, mission managers have said.
The Ares I-X flight is the first of three planned test flights for the Ares I rocket. The next launch, dubbed Ares I-Y, is slated to launch in 2014 and include a real second stage.
The third mission, called Orion I, is planned to launch an actual Orion spacecraft into orbit, but on an unmanned test flight, Diller said.
(Source: SPACE.com )
NASA rocket launch advances Moon mission dream
Cape Canaveral, Florida (AFP) Oct 28, 2009
NASA successfully launched Wednesday the prototype for a new generation of space rocket, advancing its plans to return man to the Moon by 2020.
The Ares I-X, the tallest rocket ever built, blasted off at 11:30 am (1530 GMT) from Cape Canaveral in Florida, carrying with it the US space agency's lofty ambitions for human space flight.
The rocket is the prototype of the Ares I, designed to carry a new capsule-shaped crew module called the Orion into low Earth orbit for missions to the International Space Station, the Moon, and beyond.
"I can't say enough about this team," said Doug Cooke, associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington.
"They've been together probably a little over three years now, and they went from a concept to flying this vehicle in that period of time, which is the first time this has been done by a human spaceflight team in a long time."
After a frustrating Tuesday, when several attempts to launch were abandoned, the clouds finally parted long enough for the syringe-like rocket to shoot up into the blue sky above the Kennedy Space Center.
The booster section of the 327-**** (100-meter) rocket separated from a simulated upper stage after two and a half minutes before dropping to Earth and splashing down in the Atlantic awaiting retrieval.
"It's the most beautiful rocket launch I have ever seen," said program director Jeff Hanley when the applause had died down in the NASA control room. "I get tears in my eyes. It was very special."
More than 700 sensors should provide engineers with important data for fine-tuning the design of the rocket that with Orion is intended to replace NASA's aging fleet of space shuttles, which is due to be retired in 2010.
"The vehicle flew well and we are going to get a lot of data back and we are going to learn a lot that will stand us in good stead for the ...ure," Cooke told a press conference.
NASA said the data gathered from the 445-million-dollar launch -- the first time in 30 years that a space craft other than a shuttle has blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center -- would take several months to analyze.
Ares and Orion are part of Constellation, NASA's grand program to send astronauts back to the Moon by 2020, and then perhaps to Mars and other destinations in the solar system.
Although the shuttle is to be retired next year, the Ares I will not enter into service until 2015 at the earliest. In the interim, NASA will have to rely on Russia to put US astronauts into space, at a hefty price, too.
The Orion is initially being designed to take a crew of up to six astronauts on flights to the International Space Station, or four on lunar missions of up to 210 days.
Instead of landing like a plane as the shuttle does, it will float back to Earth using parachutes, more like the Apollo module that took Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin to the Moon more than 40 years ago.
The Orion perches atop the Ares rocket and NASA has incorporated a special launch abort system to enable the capsule to jettison out of harm's way should something go wrong.
The test flight comes at a crucial time as the White House is considering a report ordered by President Barack Obama's administration that raises concerns about the whole Constellation project.
A commission, chaired by Norman Augustine, a former executive at aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, concluded that the program "appears to be on an unsustainable trajectory" and was seeking goals not matched by its resources.
The Ares rocket has suffered major development problems and its price tag has fueled criticism of NASA, an agency notorious for its cost overruns.
The initial budget for the Constellation program was set at 28 billion dollars, but has swollen to at least 44 billion.
NASA's annual budget is about 18 billion dollars, 10 billion of which is being plowed into the human space flight program, chiefly in developing the Ares and the Orion.
The Augustine Commission said an additional three billion dollars a year was needed for NASA to meet Constellation program goals or take human space flight the next step beyond the existing International Space Station.
The commission proposed several alternatives, including sidestepping the rocket and going straight to the Ares V family of launch vehicles, which would take astronauts back to the Moon and eventually on to Mars.
(Source: SPACE TRAVEL )
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