Feeds

Ares I-X stuck on the pad

Florida weather halts trailblazing launch

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

NASA's Ares I-X is still standing on Kennedy Space Centre's launchpad 39B, following the cancellation of the first trailblazing flight of the Constellation programme.

The Ares I-X on the launchpad earlier today. Pic: NASA TVThe launch was delayed while NASA eyed the skies with suspicion, and a stray cargo ship in the launch danger area prompted a minor scare. Launch Weather Officer Kathy Winters stopped a final countdown due to potential violation of the "triboelectrification rule", and the weather eventually forced a complete scrub.

Launch Test Director Jeff Spaulding said: "We had some opportunities, but just couldn't get there. Weather didn't cooperate."

When the vehicle eventually does make it off the ground (tomorrow, all being well), an active first stage powered by solid rocket boosters will lift a dummy upper stage to an altitude of 40km (25 miles).

Following separation of the two main components, the booster stage is designed to parachute into the Atlantic for recovery by NASA's retrieval ships Freedom Star and Liberty Star, while the dummy elements are consigned to a watery grave.

The Ares I-X flight offers NASA "an early chance to test and prove the new rocket's flight characteristics, hardware, facilities and ground operations", while its 700 sensors will enable the agency to "collect data for use in future exploration missions".

Quite what those missions may be remains to be seen, since the future of the whole Constellation programme is in doubt.

The Obama-appointed committee which reviewed the future of the US's human spaceflight programme reported that without a substantial injection of cash, the US's plans to return to the Moon and set its sights on Mars were on a hike to nowhere.

Regarding the Ares I, and its intended use to resupply the International Space Station, committee chairman Norman Augustine suggested it would be better to spend the cash elsewhere rather than "running a trucking service to low-Earth orbit".

NASA's full Ares I-X coverage can be found here and the launch blog here. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS
Crumb? Pixel? ALIEN? Better, it's a comet-catcher!
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.