Feeds

Ares I-X blasts off at second attempt

Weather finally shows some clemency

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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 TVFollowing 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 prove the new rocket's flight characteristics, hardware, facilities and ground operations".

Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana congratulated the launch team, enthusing: "I'm just so proud of each and every one of you. Outstanding job."

NASA explains that the Ares I-X "combines 'heritage' hardware from existing programs with brand-new elements". It elaborates: "The first stage comprises four active, reusable solid rocket motors derived from the Space Shuttle Program, topped by a simulated fifth booster segment containing Atlas V avionics.

"These elements will be recovered from the Atlantic Ocean at the mission's end. Next are the forward skirt and its extension, and the distinctively funnel-shaped frustum, which adapts the narrow first stage to the wider upper stage.

"Above the frustum is the two-piece interstage, which houses an active roll control system based on the decommissioned Peacekeeper missile. The rocket's upper stage, spacecraft adapter, service module, crew module and launch abort system all are simulated and will not be recovered after splashdown."

The Ares I-X mission profile. Graphic: NASA

Whether this combination of heritage tech and 21st-century design eventually serves any purpose remains to be seen. Critics have suggested the Constellation programme is a waste of valuable resources, with Buzz Aldrin slamming NASA's ambitions to return to the Moon as "a glorified rehash of what we did 40 years ago".

Norman Augustine, chairman of the committee which reviewed the future of US manned spaceflight, specifically questioned the plan to use the Ares I to supply the International Space Station. He said: "We think NASA would be better served to spend its money and its ability, which is immense, focusing on going beyond low-Earth orbit rather than running a trucking service to low-Earth orbit."

NASA's Ares I-X launch blog is here and its main Ares I-X section here. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
'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 and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.
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.