Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ares I-X Launch Preparations

Technicians at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39B continue preparing the Ares I-X test launch vehicle for its targeted liftoff on Oct. 27.

Today, the rocket will undergo full testing, including a "hot fire" of the auxiliary power units as part of the integrated systems test. The rotating service structure will be opened midday today and moved back into place after an evening test of the Xenon lights is completed tomorrow night.

Also tomorrow, the Ares I-X Flight Test Readiness Review will be held at Kennedy, which is expected to include the selection of an official launch date. At the launch pad, technicians will test the launch pad and ground systems, and ground support equipment.

A launch countdown simulation is set for Saturday, with vehicle closeouts scheduled for Sunday.

NASA's first flight test for the agency's next-generation spacecraft and launch vehicle system, called Ares I-X, will bring NASA one step closer to its exploration goals. The flight test will provide NASA with an early opportunity to test and prove flight characteristics, hardware, facilities and ground operations associated with the Ares I.