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Forum:Exploration: Asteroids, Moon and Mars
Topic:Ares I five-segment solid motor test (DM-1)
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Video credit: ATK

Robert PearlmanNASA release
NASA and ATK Set New Date for Full-Scale Ares I Motor Test

NASA and Alliant Techsystems Inc., or ATK, will conduct the first full-scale, full-duration test of the new first-stage solid rocket motor for the Ares I rocket at 1 p.m. MDT, on Thursday, Aug. 27. The test will take place at the ATK test facility in Promontory, Utah.

The test was previously scheduled for Aug. 25. The new date allows key NASA and ATK personnel to support this test and the upcoming STS-128 space shuttle Discovery mission. Discovery is targeted for launch on Aug. 24.

The static firing of the five-segment solid motor, designated Development Motor -1, will last two minutes. The goal is to obtain valuable thrust, roll-control, acoustics and vibration data as engineers continue to design Ares I.

The first-stage solid rocket motor is managed and tested by the Ares Projects Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. ATK Space Systems is the prime contractor for the Ares I first stage. The Ares I rocket is designed to launch the Orion spacecraft and the next generation of NASA astronauts.

Robert PearlmanThe full-scale, full duration firing at the ATK test facility in Promontory, Utah is scheduled for 3 p.m. EDT today. The test will provide valuable thrust, roll-control, acoustics and vibration data as engineers continue to design Ares I.

The test will be streamed live beginning at 2:30 p.m. on NASA TV's Media Channel.

Robert PearlmanToday's Ares I five-segment solid rocket booster test fire has been scrubbed due to an auxiliary power unit (APU) failure for its nozzle control system.

A new date for the test is yet to be determined.

Robert PearlmanDM-1 case summary:


Graphic credit: ATK
Robert PearlmanATK update:
The stationary firing of the Ares five-segment solid motor, known as Development Motor 1, or DM-1, was scrubbed on Thursday, August 27 with twenty seconds left in the countdown.

Our investigation is still ongoing so we will not be able to test tomorrow. We will continue to update [reporters] as we know more. Right now we are targeting no earlier than Tuesday [Sept. 1]. By choosing to scrub today we have not compromised any of the components and preserved the ability to execute a successful test and capture all of the data. Tuesday gives us enough time to determine root cause and prepare the motor for test.

Robert PearlmanATK update:
The ATK and NASA investigation team continues to analyze the anomaly that occurred during the countdown for Thursday's ground test of the Ares I first stage developmental motor.

The anomaly occurred in one of the Auxiliary Power Units (APU), a system in the Thrust Vector Control that moves the nozzle. Although the APU's are redundant and the system is designed and tested to work with just one APU, we wanted both APUs operating to ensure we could gather all of the critical data required of this test. By choosing to scrub, we have not compromised any of the motor’s components, thereby preserving our ability to meet all of our 46 test objectives.

We have learned that one of the fuel valves in the APU fuel supply system did not open as commanded at start-up, preventing fuel from entering the APU gas generator. Since this APU is the same as is used on the Space Shuttle, our first priority was to determine that the APU hardware was not at issue and clear the STS-128 mission for launch. Our team was able to successfully demonstrate that the APU valve on our DM-1 motor was functional during troubleshooting late Thursday night.

The investigation is now focused on the Ground Test Controller, which is part of the heritage space shuttle solid rocket motor test equipment and unique to the ground test configuration. The team is now performing engineering tests and equipment checks to determine whether it was a software or hardware issue within the Ground Test Controller or associated equipment. These activities will continue through the weekend. Therefore, the test will not occur on Tuesday, Sept. 1. A thorough review of the data collected this weekend will be conducted Monday, Aug. 31. After this review we will publish an update to our test schedule.

Robert PearlmanATK update
The ATK and NASA investigation team continues to analyze the anomaly that occurred during the countdown of the Aug. 27 Development Motor-1 (DM-1) static test. Over the weekend, the investigation team has eliminated both flight vehicle hardware and software as potential root causes, and our focus has shifted to the ground test hardware. Specific suspect circuitry and components have been identified and are being methodically investigated, utilizing a systematic, detailed fault tree approach. The team is assessing removal and replacement plans for potential suspect items.

For planning purposes, the team is working to a date of not earlier than Thursday, Sept. 10 for the DM-1 static test. Further activities this week include additional dry runs and technical readiness reviews. We will issue a media advisory when the official test date is set.
Robert PearlmanNASA release
NASA and ATK Schedule Motor Test for Ares Rocket on Sept. 10

NASA and Alliant Techsystems Inc., or ATK, have rescheduled the test of the new first-stage solid rocket motor for the Ares I rocket. The static firing of the five-segment solid motor, designated development motor-1, is scheduled for 1 p.m. MDT on Thursday, Sept. 10, at the ATK test facility in Promontory, Utah. The first firing attempt on Aug. 27 was scrubbed because of an anomaly with the ground test controller.

The goal of this test is to obtain valuable thrust, roll-control, acoustics and vibration data as engineers continue to design the Ares vehicles.

The test will be carried live on the NASA media channel beginning 10 minutes prior to the firing.

Robert PearlmanNASA release
NASA and ATK Successfully Test Ares First Stage Motor

NASA and industry engineers lit up the Utah sky Thursday with the initial full-scale, full-duration test firing of the first stage motor for the Ares I rocket. The Ares I is a crew launch vehicle in development for NASA's Constellation Program.

ATK Space Systems conducted the successful stationary firing of the five-segment solid development motor 1, or DM-1. ATK Space Systems, a division of Alliant Techsystems of Brigham City, Utah, is the prime contractor for the Ares I first stage. Engineers will use the measurements gathered from the test to evaluate thrust, roll control, acoustics and motor vibrations. This data will provide valuable information as NASA develops the Ares I and Ares V vehicles. Another ground test is planned for summer 2010.


Credit: NASA TV/Max-Q Entertainment/

"With this test, we have taken lessons learned from many years of experience in solid rocket motor development and have built on that foundation," said Alex Priskos, first stage manager for Ares Projects at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "Our team collected data from 650 sensors today to evaluate the motor's performance. This test and those that follow are essential to understanding as many aspects of our motor as possible, including strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately delivering the safest and most reliable motor possible."

This was the second attempt to conduct the two-minute rocket test at ATK's test stand in Promontory, Utah. The first test on Aug. 27 was canceled with 20 seconds left in the countdown because of a problem with a component of the ground controller unit, which sends power to the system that moves the nozzle during the test. Through a detailed investigation, the engineering team pinpointed the problem and replaced the faulty part.

The first stage motor will generate up to 3.6 million pounds of thrust, or lifting power, at launch. Although similar to the solid rocket boosters that help power the space shuttle to orbit, the Ares development motor includes several upgrades and technology improvements implemented by NASA and ATK engineers.

Motor upgrades from a shuttle booster include the addition of a fifth segment, a larger nozzle throat, and upgraded insulation and liner. The forward motor segment also has been improved for performance by adding another fin, or slot in the propellant. This change in the geometry of the propellant provides additional surface area for burning the solid fuel, which results in greater thrust.

The DM-1 nozzle throat is three inches wider in diameter than the nozzle used for the shuttle. The bigger nozzle throat allows the motor to handle the additional thrust from the five-segment booster. It also meets NASA's structural requirements to stay within the pressure capacity of the existing steel cases -- the large, barrel-shaped cylinders that house the fuel -- ensuring safety and reliability. Upgrades also were made to the insulation and liner that protect the first stage's steel cases.


Video credit: NASA

The motor cases are flight proven hardware used on shuttle launches for more than three decades. The cases used in this ground test have collectively flown on 48 previous missions, including STS-1, the first shuttle flight.

Marshall manages the Ares Projects and is responsible for design and development of the Ares I rocket and Ares V heavy cargo launch vehicle. NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston manages the Constellation Program, which includes the Ares I, Ares V, Orion crew module and Altair lunar lander. The program also includes multiple project teams at NASA centers and contract organizations around the United States.


Credit: ATK

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