Preparing for the Challenge
This image shows the Ares I-X Launch Abort System simulator as it was backed into the NASA Langley hangar. Two extra-length flatbed trucks will be rolled into a C-5 transport aircraft for the trip to NASA Kennedy Space Center.
Ares I-X is the first Ares I test rocket, and will lift off from Kennedy Space Center, Fla. in the summer of 2009. It will climb about 25 miles (40.2 km) in a two-minute powered test of Ares I first stage performance and its first stage separation and parachute recovery system.
A less obvious -- but no less critical -- test will be of overall vehicle aerodynamics. Is the design safe and stable in flight? This is a question that must be answered before astronauts begin traveling into orbit and beyond.
This critical question must be answered and is an important step toward verifying analysis tools and techniques needed to further develop Ares I, NASA's next launch vehicle.
Image Credit: NASA/Sean Smith