Monday, July 12, 2010

Ares I-X Engineers Discuss Flight Test Results

The Ares I-X flight test in 2009 met all its primary goals and provided a solid foundation for future rockets, the engineers who designed the rocket and oversaw the launch said during a recent presentation at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

"The rocket just performed beautifully," Deputy Mission Manager
Jon Cowart told a group that included engineers who will be counted on to develop future launch vehicles. "Certainly one of the coolest things I have done," he said.

Although the
Ares I-X comprised a four-segment solid rocket booster as a first stage and was topped with a dummy fifth segment and upper stage, the results showed the design is solid, Ares I-X officials said.

"It wasn't just good for designing an Ares rocket,"
Cowart said, "it was good for designing rockets in general." The launch on Oct. 28, 2009, from Kennedy's Launch Pad 39B answered a great deal of fundamental questions about the rocket's performance and aerodynamic design. For example, Chris Calfee of Marshall Space Flight Center said the telemetry gave engineers a good look at the thrust oscillations the booster would experience during ascent. Calfee served as the first stage Integrated Product Team leader for the Ares I-X.