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Test Flight of Rockets For Project Orion

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posted on Sep, 6 2006 @ 08:55 PM
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With NASA’s announcement that aerospace firm Lockheed Martin will build its shuttle successor Orion, the agency is forging ahead with a test flight plan for the rockets to launch those future vehicles spaceward.

NASA is targeting April 2009 to test the first stage of its Ares 1 rocket, a five-segment booster evolved from its four-segment solid rocket boosters (SRBs) used to launch space shuttles into orbit. The rocket will launch astronaut crews into orbit to either dock at the International Space Station (ISS) or press onward to the Moon – though the latter would require rendezvous with a lunar lander and Earth Departure Stage launched by the planned heavy-lift Ares 5 rocket.

Known as Ares 1-1, the first stage test will launch an inert – but instrumented – second stage and mock-Orion vehicle to suborbital heights to evaluate the SRB’s thrust and roll control.


SOURCE:Space.com


I like timelines like this, it gives me a sense of things being done.


Comments, Opinions?




posted on Sep, 6 2006 @ 11:06 PM
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Actually, the "first stage of the Ares I" has already been tested - sort of. A 5-segment SRB was proposed as a way to increase the shuttle's payload to the ISS; ATK Thiokol, the company which produces the SRB, got as far as test-firing a full-scale static (that is, not launched) version of the 5-segment booster back in October of 2003:

Source at SpaceRef

Source at Spaceflight Now (includes test photos)

Of course, this version is actually quite different than the one that will fly in 2009. The 2003 test lacked the thrust control, control systems/surfaces, instrumentation, recovery systems, etc. that would be required for the first stage of a single-stack manned launch system. Still, regardless of any personal problems I might have with the idea of using an SRB as the first stage of a manned launch system, the test certainly looks pretty cool.



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