NASA and ATK Successfully Test Ares First Stage Motor

Click here for more news / Clique aqui para mais notícias

PROMONTORY, Utah -- 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.

"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.

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.

For more information about the Ares rockets, visit:


For more information about NASA's Constellation Program, visit:


◄ Share this news!

Bookmark and Share


The Manhattan Reporter

Recently Added

Recently Commented