NASA completes assembly of Ares I-X
For the first time in more than a quarter-century a new space vehicle stands ready in NASA's Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly Building.<br />
The Ares I-X rocket, its simulated crew module and launch abort system are assembled on a mobile launch platform at Kennedy in preparation for launch, which is targeted for 31 October.
The final segments of the Ares I-X were stacked on Aug. 13, completing the 327-foot launch vehicle and providing the first look at the finished rocket's distinctive shape. Ares I-X rivals the height of the Apollo Program's 364-foot-tall Saturn V. Five super stacks make up the rocket's upper stage that is integrated with the four-segment solid rocket booster first stage. Ares I-X is the test vehicle for the Ares I, which is part of the Constellation Program to return humans to the moon and beyond.
"More than three years of hard work with the NASA and contractor team has brought us to this historic moment," said Bob Ess, Ares I-X mission manager. "This flight test is a critical step in continuing our design process for the Ares vehicle and the first flight for the Constellation Program."
The Ares I-X is wired with more than 700 sensors to gather data during the two-and-a-half minute flight test. The launch will provide NASA an early opportunity to test and prove hardware, facilities and ground operations associated with the Ares I crew launch vehicle. The data collected during the launch will allow NASA to gather critical data during ascent of the integrated Orion spacecraft and the Ares I rocket.