FINAL HARDWARE FOR TEST OF NASA'S NEW ROCKET ARRIVES IN FLORIDA
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- After a seven-day, 2,917-mile journey, a train
carrying the four motor segments for the Ares I-X rocket arrived
Thursday at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The motor is the
final hardware needed for the rocket's upcoming test flight this
The test flight 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.
The reusable segments departed March 13 from Promontory, Utah, where
Ares I first stage prime contractor Alliant Techsystems Inc., or ATK,
"We have achieved a tremendous milestone with the arrival of the
segments," said Bob Ess, mission manager for Ares I-X at NASA's
Johnson Space Center in Houston. "For NASA personnel and contractor
teams throughout the country, this is the culmination of years of
hard work and dedication."
The Ares I-X first stage uses a four-segment solid rocket motor
capable of generating 3.3 million pounds of thrust. The motor
provides the primary propulsion for the vehicle from liftoff to stage
separation 120 seconds into the flight.
The motor segments for the flight test were taken from the existing
space shuttle solid rocket booster inventory. The booster used for
the Ares I-X launch is being modified by adding new forward
structures and a fifth segment simulator. These modifications help
NASA better replicate the size and shape of the five-segment booster
that will be used for the Ares I crew launch vehicle.
"As we move toward a flight this summer, it is exciting to see the
final hardware arrive at the launch site," said Bob Herman, ATK's
Florida site director. "We are honored to play an important role in
helping NASA achieve its exploration goals."
Having arrived at Kennedy, the segments now will be transferred to the
center's Rotation Processing and Surge facility for final processing
and integration. The stacking operations are scheduled to begin in
the Vehicle Assembly Building in April.