Kennedy News

Amber Philman
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Grey Hautaluoma/Ashley Edwards
Headquarters, Washington

Oct. 23, 2009
NASA Sets Ares I-X Prelaunch Events and Countdown Details
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - News conferences, events and operating hours for the news center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida are set for the upcoming Ares I-X flight test. The rocket is targeted to lift off at 8 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, Oct. 27. The launch will be carried live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency's Web site.

A launch day blog will update the countdown beginning at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27. Originating from Kennedy, the blog is the definitive Internet source for information leading up to launch. To follow the blog, visit:

(All times EDT. All briefings will be held inside the Kennedy press site auditorium and carried live on NASA Television and the agency's Web site, unless otherwise noted.)

L-4 Days - Friday, Oct. 23
5 p.m. (time approximate): Flight Test Readiness Review news conference

L-2 Days - Sunday, Oct. 25
10 a.m. - Launch Status Briefing
      - Jeff Spaulding, NASA test director, Kennedy
      - Kathy Winters, weather officer
12 p.m. - Media Briefing (not televised)
      - Bob Ess, Ares I-X mission manager
      - Ed Mango, Ares I-X launch director
1 p.m. - Ares I-X 101 Briefing (not televised)
      - Steve Davis, Ares I-X deputy mission manager

L-1 Day - Monday, Oct. 26
10 a.m. (approximately) - Ares I-X Launch Readiness news conference
     - Jeff Hanley, Constellation Program manager
     - Bob Ess, Ares I-X mission manager
     - Ed Mango, Ares I-X launch director
     - Kathy Winters, weather officer
9 p.m. - Ares I-X rocket photo opportunity (not televised)

Launch Day - Tuesday, Oct. 27
1 a.m. - Launch countdown officially begins (not televised)
5 a.m. - Live launch commentary begins on NASA TV
8 a.m. - Launch

Launch + 2 hours - Post-launch news conference
     - Doug Cooke, associate administrator, Exploration Systems Mission Directorate
     - Jeff Hanley, Constellation Program manager
     - Bob Ess, Ares I-X mission manager
     - Ed Mango, Ares I-X launch director

Countdown Highlights
T-7 hours
- First weather balloon is launched to collect atmospheric thermal properties
T-4 hours, 30 minutes
- Technicians remove the external environmental control systems that provide cool airflow to the vehicle
- Onboard navigation unit begins system alignment
- Additional subsystems complete testing and remain powered on
- First stage avionics module access platform is retracted
T-3 hours, 30 minutes
- Six additional weather balloons begin to launch to evaluate if the conditions are suitable for flight
T-3 hours
- Fault tolerant inertial navigation unit completes alignment and begins navigation testing
T-2 hours, 30 minutes
- C-band beacon transponder is powered up and tested with the range
- Range safety system verification walk down is completed
- Auxiliary power unit is verified for system health
T-2 hours
- Vehicle stabilization system is retracted and secured
- Ground control station system begins monitoring for commands from the Launch Control Center
- Sound suppression water control is transferred to the ground control station
- Video, operational flight instrumentation and developmental flight instrumentation are checked
T-1 hour, 45 minutes
- Safety personnel begin the process of securing launch pad
T-1 hour, 15 minutes
- Ground command, control and communication initiates launch commit criteria monitoring
- Developmental flight instrumentation covers are removed
- Fault tolerant inertial navigation unit executes final alignment after the vehicle stabilization system is retracted
T-1 hour
- All personnel depart Launch Pad 39B for the safe haven
- Range verifies all "go/no-go" interfaces
T-43 minutes
- Flight termination system is activated and set to safe
T-30 minutes
- Developmental flight instrumentation, with the exception of cameras, are powered on and recording
T-4 minutes, built-in hold
- Enter 20-minute built-in hold (Vehicle can remain in this hold status for up to four hours.)
- Six video cameras and low-power transmitters are powered up
- Telemetry is verified, and readiness for launch is established
- Range safety issues cleared for launch
- Countdown clock initiates automated count
T-3 minutes, 55 seconds
- Sound suppression system is verified for pressure, water tank level and power
- Flight termination system and solid rocket motor ignition are set to arm
- Power to avionics cooling fans is terminated
- Onboard data recorder begins taking data
T-1 minute, 40 seconds
- Flight control system is enabled and prepared for flight
- Inertial measurement subsystem executes final alignment
T-1 minute, 20 seconds
- Flight control system receives the start count
- Signal is sent to the operational flight instrumentation and developmental flight instrumentation data streams to synchronize
T-35 seconds
- Flight control system transfers from alignment to navigation mode
- Inertial and navigation data are verified for accuracy
- Auxiliary power unit start sequence is initiated
T-21 seconds
- Reusable solid rocket motor thrust vector control gimbal test performed by rocking and tilting each axis approximately 1.5 degrees
T-16 seconds
- Ground control station issues commands for sound suppression, opening the valves to flood the mobile launch platform with water (At its peak, water will flow at a rate of 900,000 gallons per minute.)
T-0, liftoff
- Reusable solid rocket motors ignite, and hold-down bolts fire

Kennedy News Center office hours for Ares I-X
Times may be adjusted depending on events
Friday, Oct. 23 --- (Launch minus 4 days) --- 8 a.m. until one hour after Flight Test Readiness Review news conference
Saturday, Oct. 24 --- (Launch minus 3 days) --- closed
Sunday, Oct. 25 --- (Launch minus 2 days) --- 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 26 --- (Launch minus 1 day) --- 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 27 --- (Launch) --- 4 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Media Badging Schedule
News media representatives may obtain Ares I-X flight test credentials from the Kennedy Space Center Pass and Identification Office on State Road 3. Office hours of operation are:
Friday, Oct. 23 --- 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 24 --- closed
Sunday, Oct. 25 --- 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 26 --- 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 27 --- 3:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.

Journalists are required to be under NASA Public Affairs escort at all times while at Kennedy Space Center, except when at the news center or the Complex 39 cafeteria. No photography is allowed anywhere other than the press site unless prior permission is granted by NASA Public Affairs.

Journalists are allowed at the press site only when Public Affairs personnel are on duty and the NASA news center is open.

The NASA Ares I-X Twitter feed will be updated throughout the launch countdown. To follow, visit:

For NASA TV streaming video, scheduling and downlink information, visit:

NASA will provide continuous Ares I-X online updates at:


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