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The Ares I crew launch vehicle can lift more than 55,000 pounds to low Earth orbit. The Ares V cargo launch vehicle can carry about 290,000 pounds to low Earth orbit and 144,000 pounds to lunar orbit.

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Artist concept of Ares I and Ares V vehiclesArtist concept of Ares I and Ares V vehicles
+ NASA Home > Mission Sections > Constellation Program > Ares Launch Vehicles

 NASA Conducts Second Test of Ares Rockets' Main Parachute

Ares parachute test Image above: Second test of the parachute system that will allow Ares I and Ares V first stage boosters to be recovered and reused.
Image Credit: NASA/MSFC

Validating an earlier test conducted in September, NASA and industry engineers on Thursday successfully tested the main parachute for Constellation Program rockets. Outfitted with a 42,000-pound weight, the parachute was dropped from a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft flying at an altitude of 16,500 feet. The one-ton parachute and all supporting hardware functioned properly, landing safely approximately three minutes later at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground near Yuma, Ariz. The parachute system will allow Ares I and Ares V first stage boosters to be recovered and reused.

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 Artist concept of Ares rockets NASA's Ares rockets, named for the Greek god associated with Mars, will return humans to the moon and later take them to Mars and other destinations.

Image left: Artist concept of the Ares I, left, and Ares V. Image Credit: NASA

Future astronauts will ride to orbit on Ares I, which uses a single five-segment solid rocket booster, a derivative of the space shuttle's solid rocket booster, for the first stage. A liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen J-2X engine derived from the J-2 engine used on Apollo's second stage will power the crew exploration vehicle's second stage. The Ares I can lift more than 55,000 pounds to low Earth orbit.

Ares V, a heavy lift launch vehicle, will use five RS-68 liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen engines mounted below a larger version of the space shuttle's external tank, and two five-segment solid propellant rocket boosters for the first stage. The upper stage will use the same J-2X engine as the Ares I. The Ares V can lift more than 286,000 pounds to low Earth orbit and stands approximately 360 feet tall. This versatile system will be used to carry cargo and the components into orbit needed to go to the moon and later to Mars.

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 07.02.08 - NASA Debuts Web Site for First Ares Test Flight
NASA is developing new spacecraft, the Ares rockets and Orion crew capsule, to deliver astronauts to the International Space Station and send them on their way to the moon.
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 06.12.08 - NASA Awards Contract for Constellation Spacesuit for the Moon
NASA has awarded a contract to Oceaneering International Inc. of Houston, for the design, development and production of a new spacesuit system.
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 NASA Completes Review Milestone for Ares I First Stage
NASA has completed the preliminary design review for the first stage of the Ares I rocket -- giving overall approval for the agency's technical design approach.
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 Spacesuit design
Well Suited for Space
At the bottom of NASA’s 40-foot-deep swimming pool – known as the Neutral Buoyancy Lab – astronauts strap on weights and plastic piping to simulate the backpack that attaches to a spacesuit.
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 Kevin McGrath, terrestrial environments engineer in the Marshall Engineering Directorate, and Barry Roberts at an Army weather station on Redstone Arsenal.
Neither Rain Nor Sleet Will Stop NASA's Ares Rockets
NASA engineer Barry Roberts wants to help build a better rocket that can fly despite record low temperatures, hail, or rain.
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 NASA engineers prepare to lift the Orion test article for a drop test
NASA's Airbag Drop Tests in Full Swing
Second generation airbag drop testing is underway at the Landing and Impact Research Facility at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.
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 A concept image shows NASA's next-generation launch vehicle systems standing side-by-side.
Ares Quarterly Video Update:
October 2007

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 NASA engineers prepare to lift the Orion test article for a drop test
Airbag Drop Tests in Full Swing
Second generation Orion crew module airbag drop testing is underway at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.
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 Orion launch abort system igniter test
Orion Launch Abort System Igniter Test Video
Streaming QuickTime video (3.3MB).
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 Constellation spacesuits
Constellation Mission, New Spacesuits
See the launch of a Constellation lunar mission featuring new spacesuits in this computer-generated video.
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 Spacesuit prototype
Rover and Spacesuit Testing
NASA tests demonstration spacesuits and concept rovers.
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 Evolution of the spacesuit
Evolution of the NASA Spacesuit
See how astronauts' "personal spacecraft" have changed from Mercury to Shuttle and into the future.
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 Freshly painted Orion Crew module at Dryden
Orion Crew Module at Dryden
Mockup to undergo preparations for first short-range flight test.
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 Orion Launch Abort System jettison motor demonstration
Orion Launch Abort System Jettison Motor Demonstration
Demonstration Motor #1, March 27, 2008.
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 The simulated Orion crew module heads to its temporary home in a hangar at NASA's Langley Research Center
Orion Crew Module Simulator
Engineers build a simulated Orion crew module for testing later this year.
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 Orion crew module flight test article build-up
Crew Module Simulator Construction
A time-lapse movie of the crew module simulator build-up.
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 Trailer: Return to the Moon
Return to the Moon: The Journey Begins
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 Lunar exploration
Exploring the Lunar Surface
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 Exploration flash features
Flash Feature
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 Ares vehicles collage
Ares: NASA's New Rockets
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 Animation showing trip to the moon
To the Moon and Beyond
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 Ares V cargo launch vehicle staging in Earth orbit
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Last Updated: July 11, 2008
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