The First Flight of a New Era

Less than a year from now, in 2009, NASA is going to launch a whole new generation of spacecraft and launch vehicle system. The test flight is called Ares I-X and it will bring scientists even closer to the exploration goals they have set for themselves.

The main test objectives are focused on dynamics of the first stage flight, how easy it can be controlled , separation of the first and upper stages, ground operations, and first stage recovery. They are also going to verify the performance and dynamics of the solid rocket boosters.

After this test flight, Ares I, the crew vehicle will launch Orion, the spacecraft designed for the human spaceflight missions. Orion is designed as a capsule similar in many ways to the Apollo project, its goal being to transport people to the moon, the international space station, and Mars.

Ares I-X will provide NASA with both the opportunity to test the efficiency and performance of the hardware and ground operations which are associated with this project, and also to gather critical data during the ascent, which will ensure scientists that the project is fully operational.

6 thoughts on “The First Flight of a New Era

  1. sebsainclair

    This “artist rendition” is excruciatingly bad. First, the rolling platform on the picture is obviously still customized for a space shuttle. One can still notice the two protuberances that are used to hold the shuttle wings together.

    Second, and the foremost hilarious, is the tower itself which is too short as to accommodate a bridge to the tip of the rocket, a bridge which the astronauts must use in order to enter their capsule only when the rocket has been checked and re-checked on the site of the launch pad itself and ready to go.

  2. Fred

    The artist rendition is perfect asshat. 1x is an experimental flight that’s going from the current Shuttle launch pad 39B. Neither the pad nor the Mobile Launch Platform (MLP) will be completely modified for this first flight. So it will still have the rotating structure in place. And the two “protuberances” on the MLP don’t have anything to do with the wings. They house umbilicals that attach to the aft portion of the orbiter just before a Shuttle launch. These will still be in place for the 1x launch.

  3. Thomas says

    I don’t understand why are we going back to technology that resembles the apollo capsules [little tin cans with a rocket strapped to the back]. Shouldn’t we try to pursue the spacecraft that do not need to be retrieved from the middle of the ocean?

  4. Pingback: Hubble Finds Unidentified Object in Space, Puzzles scientists | ZME Science

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