Ares 1X Rollout

Today launch controllers supervised the rollout of NASA’s brand new Ares 1X rocket. It is the first time we’ve really had a chance to see the nature of the beast.

Ares 1 is certainly a slender rocket, the first stage of which is basically a Shuttle SRB. I note that little work has been done to modify the Mobile Launcher being used for this flight – it still has the two Tail Service Masts seen in the photo below. I believe this is the same Mobile Launcher used to support the launch of Apollo 11. I know that work is being carried out to build brand new Mobile Launchers.

Ares 1X on the way to LC39B

Ares 1X on the way to LC39B

Launch is due on 27 October, although this is still to be confirmed. The flight is suborbital: only the first four of the five segment SRB are live, and the rest of the booster and capsule are dummy. An Ares 1Y flight is scheduled to use live five segment first stage, live second stage and live Launch Escape System, with a boilerplate Orion capsule.

Launch Complex 39B, July 2009

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