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  Ares I-X: flight viewing, questions, comments (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Ares I-X: flight viewing, questions, comments
Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-14-2009 12:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ares I-X: mission viewing, questions, comments

This thread is intended for reader comments and questions regarding the Ares I-X test flight.

Ares I-X, which is targeted for launch on October 31 27, 2009, is the test vehicle for the Ares I, which is part of the Constellation Program to return humans to the moon and beyond.

Rob Joyner
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posted 08-14-2009 01:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I spoke with the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and learned that launch transportation tickets will definitely be sold for Ares I-X "four to six weeks before launch."

I also verified that the general public will not be permitted to watch from the Apollo Saturn V Center.

E2M Lem Man
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posted 08-14-2009 06:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have to ask: are we going to pull the stack back and forth like they did with Saturn V 500F? When they did that the escape tower came off!

I don't know if this baby would stand the strain!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-14-2009 06:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The NASA release announcing assembly complete, also included this line:
The evaluations include a process called "modal testing," which will shake the stack slightly to test stiffness of the rocket, including the pinned and bolted joints.
That does sound like a "tennis shoe"-like test; there will be an opportunity for the media (myself included) to question the Ares I-X team before the next space shuttle launch. You can be sure I'll be asking...

DChudwin
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posted 08-14-2009 09:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A pertinent question: Will this launch ever take place if the Augustine Commission recommends canceling the Ares-1 project?

The Ares-1 "stick rocket" is controversial as to its design due to vibration from the solid rocket booster.

Since the vehicle is stacked and almost ready to go, it would make sense to proceed with this engineering test to get more data.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-14-2009 09:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When the Augustine commission was announced, NASA was directed to continue working on Constellation until instructed otherwise.

The committee's charter requires they deliver their report within four months of their first meeting, or by mid-October (though they have since said that they expect the report to be available in September). Even after it is delivered, it will take some time for the Administration and Congress to decide what to do with the commission's findings.

Even if those deliberations are completed before Ares I-X is ready to launch, the flight has has already been budgeted. And given that from every test knowledge is gained, I personally believe that Ares I-X will launch regardless if Ares I is going forward or not.

On edit, to quote my colleagues at Space.com:

NASA officials told SPACE.com that the options put forth by the committee will not immediately affect plans for the Ares I-X test flight. Only with direct instruction from the Obama Administration can the agency shift its current exploration plan and test regime, they said.

Mike Z
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posted 08-15-2009 09:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Z   Click Here to Email Mike Z     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For the first time in more than a quarter-century a new space vehicle stands ready in NASA's Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly Building.
Wow! That is so exciting! The last time we saw this was the stacking of STS-1 in December 1980! Some of the people on collectSPACE were not even born yet! I could run 10 miles. Ouch, my knees! I hope the Augustine Panel agrees to let NASA continue their planned schedule!

MiliputMan
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posted 08-15-2009 09:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MiliputMan   Click Here to Email MiliputMan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is it possible to build two stacks in the VAB?

It's clear from the pictures that they're using the same working platforms designed for the shuttle stack. So, if it's the only space available, where or when did they assemble STS-129?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-15-2009 09:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Vehicle Assembly Building has four high bays.

High Bay 3 was slightly modified to support Ares I-X.

High Bay 1 is presently used for space shuttle operations and is where STS-129 is currently being stacked. The current plan is to convert High Bay 1 to support Ares V after the shuttle program ends.

(High Bay 2 is used for external tank checkout and storage and as a contingency storage area for orbiters. High Bay 4 is also used for ET checkout and storage, as well as for payload canister operations and solid rockets contingency handling.)

alanh_7
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posted 08-15-2009 02:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I take then that if all goes well, NASA will have Ares and Atlantis on the pads at the same time in late October as Atlantis is scheduled for launch 12 November (subject to change of course). That will make an interesting photo op, if both spacecraft are in fact on the pad.

Gordon Reade
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posted 08-15-2009 05:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gordon Reade   Click Here to Email Gordon Reade     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's magnificent! When are they going to roll that big beauty out to the pad?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-15-2009 05:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rollout is planned for four days before launch.

Dietrich
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posted 08-15-2009 05:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dietrich   Click Here to Email Dietrich     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
That does sound like a "tennis shoe"-like test
Regarding the modal test of the Ares 1-X stack:

First, you probably do not need a tennis-shoe like excitation, a definite excitation at a precisely given frequency and detailed measurements with a large number of accelerometers will be much more useful to obtain data to verify/calibrate the mechanical analyses.

Second, as one of the criticism against Ares is the vibration problem, I assume the test flight will happen in any case, at least to check whether the predictions are correct and not too pessimistic. The modal test can demonstrate the eigenfrequencies and modal transfer behavior of the stack for small excitations, but a verification of the behavior at high excitations coming from the solid propellant stage is necessary to confirm or deny th vibration problem, and the adequacy of the current solution.

Simply, you do not spend a huge money for such a vehicle and then you do not perform the test flight, at least as the last step before cancellation to learn and to progress in vehicle design.

Gordon Reade
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posted 08-15-2009 05:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gordon Reade   Click Here to Email Gordon Reade     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Rollout is planned for four days before launch.
Only four days before launch? I'm surprised. I thought they rolled out the Saturns and the shuttle weeks ahead of time.

In any case I hope they are able to stick to the schedule. Having it fly on Halloween would be very cool.

P.S. My parents met for the first time on Halloween night so it's a lucky day (night?) for me.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-15-2009 05:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Saturn rockets and shuttle require(d) more time on the pad due to their servicing needs: payload installation, fueling, etc. As Ares I-X has a simulated second stage, the time needed to prepare it at the pad is less.

Walter II
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posted 08-17-2009 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Walter II   Click Here to Email Walter II     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is this launch date pretty much set in stone, assuming that there is no failure or weather delay?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-17-2009 01:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The current launch date still has a good amount of contingency days built into it, but there is still testing to go of the full up rocket as it powered on for the first time at the end of this month. As of now, October 31 remains a "no earlier than" date only.

BMckay
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posted 09-17-2009 12:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BMckay   Click Here to Email BMckay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If Ares is to launch on the 31st of October does anyone know what time they are expected to launch.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-17-2009 12:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They are presently targeting the Ares I-X launch for 8:00 a.m. EDT.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-22-2009 02:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA has targeted the launch for October 27. The launch window will extend from 8 a.m. to noon EDT.

The date will be finalized at a Flight Test Readiness Review on October 23.

ScottJ
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posted 09-22-2009 10:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ScottJ   Click Here to Email ScottJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has anyone heard anything else on launch viewing tickets? It was mentioned above that the tickets would go on sale between four and six weeks prior to the launch. We are now within that window.

Rob Joyner
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posted 09-23-2009 03:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just spoke with KSC info and now they say causeway tickets will NOT be sold for the Ares launch, nor will viewing be allowed from the Apollo/Saturn V Center.

The tone of the conversation was that Ares is just "another unmanned launch" and only manned launches would generate enough interest to sell causeway tickets. Very disappointing.

It seems the only place to watch the launch now will be along U.S. 1 as you cannot see the launch pad from the visitor complex.

tegwilym
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posted 09-23-2009 05:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rob Joyner:
The tone of the conversation was that Ares is just "another unmanned launch" and only manned launches would generate enough interest to sell causeway tickets. Very disappointing.
I guess we have to wait until 2015 for a good viewing. Grrr...

Well, that answers my question of if I should try to attend that launch or the shuttle a few weeks later. Shuttle!

I'll just see Ben Cooper's Ares photos when he shares those.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-23-2009 05:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to the Complex's public relations manager, they are still formulating their plan and working out specific viewing options. A news release will be forthcoming with additional details.

Mr Meek
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posted 10-01-2009 06:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr Meek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For those fortunate enough to be at KSC yesterday, one of the the "back doors" to the VAB stayed open for a few hours, allowing anyone driving by to get a glimpse of Ares I-X. I'm not sure if this has been the case lately, or if we happened to get lucky.

Unfortunately, the only picture I managed to take is blurry, but, as I told my wife, there will be lots of pictures of it. We, however, were lucky enough to see it ourselves. And man, is it tall.

ScottJ
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posted 10-06-2009 08:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ScottJ   Click Here to Email ScottJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any word on the forthcoming news release from KSC on viewing options?

Rob Joyner
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posted 10-07-2009 06:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I called KSC again October 6 and was told a decision has still yet to be made.

Blackarrow
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posted 10-07-2009 05:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
NASA has targeted the launch for October 27. The launch window will extend from 8 a.m. to noon EDT.
Just to be clear about this, on what date does Florida put the clock back from summer time to winter time? (This opens a temporary six hour time difference with the UK).

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-07-2009 05:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Daylight saving ends in the U.S. ends on Sunday, November 1 at 2 a.m.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-09-2009 12:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has announced viewing tickets for Ares I-X:
A limited number of admission tickets valid on launch day are available for viewing from the main Visitor Complex. A special vehicle pass is required to gain admission and will ship (U.S. addresses only) after placing the order. Orders must be placed by October 15. An arrival time will be included on your ticket.

Launch tickets can not be shipped internationally at this time.

Tours will be altered on launch day and will not begin until one hour after launch.

GACspaceguy
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posted 10-09-2009 03:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Robert, just picked up two tickets!

ScottJ
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posted 10-09-2009 05:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ScottJ   Click Here to Email ScottJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I called in and got an Ares I-X viewing ticket a little while ago. I also got an "Up-Close" ticket for the afternoon of 10/26.

Over the phone, they let me treat the Ares I-X as a general admission ticket, which provides a second day of admission. I was able to use this "second day" to get in on 10/26 for the "Up-Close" tour without having to by another general admission ticket.

I mention this because I'm not sure that the online ordering system is set up to do this. When I went to the online ticket site, it appeared as though it was going to make me order the Ares I-X ticket separately, and then it was going to make me by a general admisson ticket prior to allowing me to purchase an "Up-Close" ticket.

In any event, the A/B Camera Stop on the "Up-Close" tour on 10/26 should provide a good view of Altantis on 39A and Ares I-X on 39B.

Rob Joyner
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posted 10-09-2009 06:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a reminder to those going to the Ares launch - you cannot see the launch pad from the visitor complex. To see Ares lift off the pad itself you'll have to watch from U.S. 1 in Titusville from about 12 miles away.

ScottJ
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posted 10-09-2009 06:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ScottJ   Click Here to Email ScottJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The last shuttle launch I went to (STS-116 in December 2006), they had big projection screens set up in the grassy area around by the Rocket Garden which were showing the live NASA TV broadcast. I'm not sure if they are planning something like this for the Ares I-X launch or not. If they are, it would allow those at the visitor center to see the vehicle leave the pad on TV prior to seeing the real thing once it clears the tree line.

Ken Havekotte
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posted 10-14-2009 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After a meeting here at KSC about the upcoming Ares 1-X Flight Test Vehicle launch planned on Oct. 27, NASA has decided to accommodate NASA guests at the Apollo Saturn V Center. As now planned, this will be the only "on site" facility for the Ares 1-X launch viewing opportunity up-close.

Visitors to the KSCVC on launch day will be allowed access on the spaceport visitors' complex, however, there are no current plans to transport/bus anyone from there elsewhere to other nearby sites.

moorouge
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posted 10-20-2009 07:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have been watching the live pictures of it being moved to the launch pad. It looks top heavy, so how do they keep it upright with no visible means of support?

kimmern123
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posted 10-20-2009 07:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kimmern123   Click Here to Email kimmern123     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hold down-bolts, similar to those keeping the shuttle SRBs bolted to the Mobile Launcher Platform, also make sure the Ares 1-X is kept upright.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-20-2009 08:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And about two hours after arriving at the pad, a new vehicle stabilization system (VSS) will clamp down on the rocket, keeping it from swaying.

moorouge
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posted 10-20-2009 12:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some hold down bolts to hold upright a structure that tall and so top heavy.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-20-2009 10:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Although it may look to be top heavy, the numbers tell a different story.

The entire vehicle weighs in at 1.8 million pounds.

The upper stage simulator, boilerplate Orion capsule and mockup launch escape system account for just 450,000 pounds of that total (150,000 in ballast weight alone).

The remaining 1.35 million pounds are represented by the first stage four-segment solid rocket booster, its fifth segment simulator and forward skirt extension with recovery parachutes.

The real Ares I however, will be supported on its rollout and on the pad by more than just hold-down posts, but a launch umbilical tower attached its mobile launcher platform.


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