NASA Ares 1-X Status Report 27 July 2009


image Launch Vehicle: Ares I-X
Launch Date: October 31
Launch Pad: 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Ares I-X Flight Hardware

Last week's milestones include:

- New launch date

The Constellation Program has recommended setting Oct. 31, 2009, as the new target launch date for the Ares I-X test flight. This change is the result of a detailed schedule assessment performed as follow-on to the Ares I-X Mate Review, which was conducted June 30 - July 1. The purpose of the mate review was to evaluate readiness to begin stacking major vehicle components on the mobile launch platform. The complexity of all known work and challenges ahead to achieve a successful test flight were identified, as well as logistics and personnel constraints. This data was then used to determine an aggressive yet achievable new launch date. The date change is currently being reviewed by NASA Headquarters, with formal determination expected by the end of July.

- Electrical instrumentation testing

Recent milestones completed include: - Forward center motor segment stacking

- Final of four motor segments stacking

- Stack 1 modal test

A series of sensors strategically located throughout the stack measured the amount and direction of movement, as the electro-mechanical shakers imposed random loads to determine the rocket segment's first several bending modes.

Next processing milestones:

- 7/29: Super Stack 1 lift and mate to the RSRM on MLP 1 in Vehicle Assembly Building High Bay 3

- Flight instrumentation testing ongoing

Ares I-X Ground Support Equipment

- At Launch Pad 39B, modifications are ongoing.

The Ares I-X flight test will provide NASA an early opportunity to check and prove hardware, analysis and modeling methods, and facilities and ground operations needed to develop the Ares I, which is NASA's next crew launch vehicle. The test also will allow NASA to gather critical data during the ascent of the integrated stack, which will help inform the design of the Ares I rocket and the Orion crew exploration vehicle. The data will ensure the entire vehicle system is safe and fully operational before astronauts begin traveling in it to the International Space Station and moon.

For more information about the Ares I-X flight test, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ares

Previous status reports are available at: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/moonandmars/status/index.html

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.