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Old 01-22-2009, 05:12 PM   #1
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Default Pieces Coming Together for First Test Launch of NASA's New Spacecraft

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA is using powerful computers and software programs to design the rocket that will carry crew and cargo to space after the space shuttle retires. But those computers will have their work checked the old-fashioned way with the first of several uncrewed demonstration launches beginning in 2009.

Ares I-X, the first Ares I test rocket, 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.

With that question answered, the flight of Ares I-X will be an important step toward verifying analysis tools and techniques needed to further develop Ares I, NASA's next launch vehicle.

In order to ensure that the rocket's flight characteristics are fully understood, extreme care is being taken to precisely fabricate the rocket's simulated upper stage and the simulated Orion crew module and associated launch abort tower. These full-scale hardware components must accurately reflect the shape and physical properties of the models used in computer analyses and wind tunnel tests in order to confidently compare flight results with preflight predictions.

The simulated crew module, faithful to the vehicle that will ferry astronauts to the International Space Station by 2015, to the moon in the 2020 timeframe and ultimately to points beyond, will measure approximately five meters (16.4 ft) in diameter. While the conical module will have the same basic shape as the Apollo Command Module, it will be significantly larger. The simulated launch abort system, positioned above the crew module at launch, will add another 46 feet (14 m) in length to the combined simulator.

The sensors will measure aerodynamic pressure and temperature at the nose of the rocket, and contribute to measurements of vehicle acceleration and angle of attack. How the tip of the rocket slices through the atmosphere is important because that determines the flow of air over the entire vehicle.

"This launch will tell us what we got right and what we got wrong in the design and analysis phase," said Jonathan Cruz, deputy project manager for Ares I-X CM/LAS. "We have a lot of confidence, but we need those two minutes of flight data before NASA can continue to the next phase of rocket development," he said.

The completed two-part flight test article is to be delivered to Kennedy in early 2009. Before launch, the combined crew module and launch abort system tower will be used to help demonstrate lifting, handling and stacking of Ares I-X flight test vehicle elements.

Ares I-X will provide important data for developing Ares I in time to support the vehicle's critical design review in 2010.


More here:
http://www.physorg.com/news151861629.html
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:47 PM   #2
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So, we will soon have a launcher for the Crew Vehicle.

What will we use for future heavy lifting? Will we rely on the soviet Progress modules?
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:05 PM   #3
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Oh yes,we are so affluent as a nation that we can spend billions on new space hardware that seem to mostly be for "show".And creating pollution of immense proportions in an enviornment that is over polluted already. Is anyone awake in the new administration?? Are we in a serious financial crisis?
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:22 PM   #4
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Arrow

What if the King and Queen of Spain had said to Columbus:

"Why go to the New World? It is just a howling wilderness full of viscous, brutal savages. We are in a financial crisis, so it would be a waste of money.

We are well on our way to developing a sufficient level of technology to allow even some pissant third world dictator to destroy all human life on this planet. Colonizing other worlds before that can happen is humanity's one and only hope of surviving this stage of our social evolution. This is something we cannot waste any time doing.
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Old 01-23-2009, 01:14 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ought Six View Post
What if the King and Queen of Spain had said to Columbus:

"Why go to the New World? It is just a howling wilderness full of viscous, brutal savages. We are in a financial crisis, so it would be a waste of money.
Well said O6.
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Old 01-23-2009, 02:21 AM   #6
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> each Ares-I costs approx. $850m

> The predicted $10-15B-ish development costs alone would require roughly 30-50 launches to
> amortize at $300-350 million each, which is roughly what we think an equivalent EELV Heavy
> is going to cost

> My guess would be that ISS would see perhaps 20-25 Ares I launches total

> To make this program worth the expenditure, NASA will need to develop Ares I, then leave the
> design alone and fly it 100 times or more over the life of the program. To reach 100 launches
> at 2/year after the initial ISS flights, NASA will need to keep the program intact for more
> than 40 years.
> - Ed Kyle
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:03 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsgs View Post
> each Ares-I costs approx. $850m

> To make this program worth the expenditure, NASA will need to develop Ares I, then leave the
> design alone and fly it 100 times or more over the life of the program. To reach 100 launches
> at 2/year after the initial ISS flights, NASA will need to keep the program intact for more
> than 40 years.
> - Ed Kyle
Just how much are the scientific gains worth that will be achieved with each space mission? How much are the experiments, building projects, repair projects (see Hubble, etc.) worth? Is it even possible to put a price tag on those kinds of things when you don't know what the possible gains (financial and otherwise) will be in the future. With the NASA missions we are investing in the future of technology, and the future of mankind. To say that the bird has to fly 40 years long to pay itself off is naive IMO.
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:14 AM   #8
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the thing is, it will be done anyway earlier or later.
If later, then it is probably cheaper and with better technology.

So the question is: do we need the results _now_ ?
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Old 01-23-2009, 10:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsgs View Post
the thing is, it will be done anyway earlier or later.
If later, then it is probably cheaper and with better technology.

So the question is: do we need the results _now_ ?
I honestly can't answer this, but the saying that time is money may also apply here.
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