NASA's Ares I-X finally got off launchpad 39B at Kennedy Space Centre at 15:30 GMT today. The launch of the Ares I-X. Pic: NASA TV Following a scrubbed launch yesterday, and overnight thunderstorms, the Constellation programme trailblazer lifted off en route to an Atlantic splashdown at the end of a flight intended to "test and …
heritage vs legacy
Whats the difference?
Is it "heritage" when your strapped for cash and "legacy" when you want someone to buy new gear?
So...years late, we get a painted-over Shuttle solid fuel booster propelling a dummy second stage and avionics package into sub-orbital space and splashing down.
Sounds like a feeding trough for the contractors rather than anything seriously accomplished. We do need a low-earth orbial capability, with heavy-lift options, but this just doesn't look like it's making progress cost-effectively...
Norman Augustine is a twit.
It's obvious to anyone who actually thinks about it for more than a few seconds that "we" need this "trucking service" to low orbit as part of any serious attempt to get a permanent manned presence out into the solar system. Getting into orbit is the biggest energy expenditure required in space flight so it only makes sense to provide a system that's capable of doing that part as efficiently as possible. To me it sounds like he just wants to cut NASA's budget and he's using the "don't need this idea" as an excuse. A sensible appraisal would spend some time pointing out viable alternatives to perform the same role as Ares rather than saying it's not needed at all.
@ Robert Hill
'So...years late, we get a painted-over Shuttle solid fuel booster propelling a dummy second stage and avionics package into sub-orbital space and splashing down.'
Actually we got it just four years after the Ares project was first approved. N
ASA have had plenty of screw-ups since the Shuttle was finalised, a long period of indecision, but they've done well to get Ares up and flying this quickly. NASA needs a period of certainty where it can plan; if the Augustine panel's recommendations are followed it will be even longer before we can start doing new cool stuff.
Ares 1-X was more than just an SRB with a new coat of paint; it was a new vehicle with completely different flight characteristics to previous rockets that NASA has built. They were testing rockets the old-fashioned way - one small step at a time. The alternative, 'all-up' approach used on the Shuttle and Apollo Saturn V is incredibly risky and appallingly expensive - NASA doesn't want another explosion to torpedo public support for space flight and its budget simply doesn't allow them to keep rolling rockets to the pad and firing them in the hope they've debugged everything.
The largest effort to Ares 1-X wasn't actually the rocket, its been re-tasking Kennedy to handle the new rockets - everything from redesigning the pad and the VAB to training the staff who will assemble and fire the rockets.
It's a real shame we now have to wait quite so long for Ares 1-Y to fly. A bit of Kennedy-era urgency from the top and Johnson-era largesse would be nice.
My only issue with today's flight was that it didn't take place when I was at Kennedy earlier this month :(
Fail and you
Well using the new NASA iPhone app as highlighted by El Reg the other day, and the Constellation Programme section is showing the launch happened 1 day, 5 huors, 38 minutes and 34 seconds ago. Presumably that assumes it left on time...
Good to see they're keeping it up to date!
It's always funny how you can tell all about an author's agenda when they cherry pick the comments made by others to justify their own petty concept of the world in general and
of space in particular. Piss on Buzz.
"It's obvious to anyone who actually thinks about it for more than a few seconds that "we" need this "trucking service" to low orbit as part of any serious attempt to get a permanent manned presence out into the solar system."
Yes and no.
Yes we (all human kind) need cheaper, more routine access to low earth orbit.
No it is *not* agreed that NASA should use *US taxpayers* money to have built a vehicle which will *not* come into service for its inital role until at least 5 years after the shuttle retires and within 1 year of the planned retirement of the ISS. NASA will still be paying someone (who at this point will *not *be a US company) to ship its supplies and possibly the odd astronaut to the ISS in those 5 years.
This architecture is a *literal* 1 for 1 transcript of the Apollo, Saturn 1 for LEO crew missions and testing, Saturn 5 for the big one. Only this time round they matched the CSM size to the ultimate vehicle and not the Saturn 1.