NASA rolls out the new Ares on October 19

By Phil Plait | October 12, 2009 8:00 am

nasa_ares_1xNASA will literally roll out the new Ares I-X rocket on October 19. It will roll from the Vehicle Assembly Building to launch pad 39B on that date, and prep for an October 27 launch. The launch window is from 08:00 – 12:00 EDT (12:00 – 16:00 UTC).

That’s a tad early for me to wake up to live tweet it (I’m two hours earlier) but if the launch holds off a couple of hours I’ll see what I can do. Remember too it’ll be covered on NASA TV.

The Ares I-X is not NASA’s final rocket assembly that will take humans back into space in the post-Shuttle era; it’s a test vehicle to check out some of the hardware and procedures that will be used in the full-up Ares I rocket. And NASA plans on building the larger and more powerful Ares V, which is what will return us to the Moon, assuming all goes according to the current plan.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: NASA
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Comments (24)

  1. Gary Ansorge

    Hmmm, they’re getting their development together pretty darn fast. Seems it was just yesterday Dubya wanted to go to Mars. Now we’re looking at a new vehicle all ready to roll out on the pad(experimental, admittedly). Way to go NASA.

    GAry 7

  2. Wow, they are actually going to meet this milestone! Good on NASA! I was worried about more slips to the schedule. Here’s looking at you NASA!

  3. bigjohn756

    Hey, Phil, you’re an astronomer. You’re supposed to be ready and able to get up in the middle of the night. So, I think you should tweet the launch so I can read all about it in the morning when I get up at around 10.

  4. Yoweigh

    How exactly does the Ares I-X launch stack differ from the full Ares I configuration? Does it have dummy stages or something?

    EDIT: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ares_I-X
    Dummy stages.

  5. I hope they ask the sky’s permission before punching a hole in it.

  6. Gamercow

    I actually hope it delays for 1 day, so I can say the post-shuttle era started on my birthday!

  7. 6 AM is TOO early? You have got to be kidding.

  8. rob

    OT:

    i took my Galileoscope up to the BWCA last weekend and assembled it. the nearest town is 40 miles away (Grand Marais, MN. population 1500) so the sky was wonderful. i saw the milky way easily. anyway, i pointed it at the bright object in the middle of the south sky about midnight central time. i assumed it was jupiter. i think i saw some pinpoints of light in a line around it. it was hard, cause i didn’t have a tripod and the field kept jiggling. but i think i just saw the moons of jupiter for the first time!

  9. For moon lovers everywhere, NASA is chipping away at your great love.
    http://www.newsy.com/videos/nasa_smashes_space_probe_into_moon

  10. Pisces

    Bah! More capsule based spacecraft! When we gonna get a real spaceship like….er….the shuttle (only newer and better). Technology takes a giant leap backwards.

  11. Waste of money, if you ask me. This version of Ares stack have little commonality with planned final version. Anyway, it is very probable that Ares will be axed. Maybe you don’t know, but Ares have really, really BIG troubles. Delays, slips, mountains of technical problems, balooning budget…

    Maybe it will be for better if Ares 1-X will put unplanned firework or corkscrew show. At least it would be killed fast and make way for something more sane – something that actually take us to Moon, not just create perpetual jobs and votes for local politicians… *cough* Nelson And Shelby Agency *cough*.

  12. ND

    MaDeR,

    I think the train of thought is that given the amount of money that has already gone into Aries, it would be well worth it to launch 1-X and get performance and engineering data on this type of launch configuration.

  13. @Rob

    Stick the Galileoscope on a tripod. You will see some faint banding around Jupiter itself as well as seeing the four big moons. I’ve had some good views right in the middle of a big city – Sydney – even with mucho light pollution. Can’t wait to take the thing out into the bush.

  14. Grand Lunar

    “Bah! More capsule based spacecraft! When we gonna get a real spaceship like….er….the shuttle (only newer and better). Technology takes a giant leap backwards.”

    I can only assume that people that write this have no perspective on just how good Apollo was.

    The shuttle is confinded to LEO. It’s wings are deadweight until the end of the mission.

    We could’ve done great things with the Saturns had they not been canceled.

    Now, to the Ares.
    For NASA’s sake, I hope it works.
    But personally, I feel a disaster is in the works.
    And if so, then either Direct 3.0 or the side-mount launcher ought to be our next near term hope.

  15. Naomi

    @Shane,

    The Galileoscope works fine in Sydney? Awesome! I might get one – I held off because the light pollution in my suburb (near Chatswood) is appalling.

  16. @Naomi
    I’m right in town, Redfern, and it is fine for Jupiter. When Jupiter is on the other side of the building it is even awesome through a dirty window. I’m yet to drag it to the local park to have a look at the Magellanic Clouds or the Omega Centauri cluster (wrong part of the sky for my puny balcony and bedroom window). I’m hoping to go bush to check those out too.

    Almost forgot, the moon is awesome viewing too.

  17. I just noticed my name has been linking to the ABC’s QandA. Oops. Fixed now.

  18. rob

    @shane
    i checked out the moon too. it was *awesome*. gotta check out M31 or andromdeda or something galaxy sized too. but i gotta look up what is visible from the northern hemisphere. i suppose the light gathering power of the Galileoscope isn’t enough to see the ring nebula?

  19. StevoR

    Awsome news! I can’t wait to see it fly. To quote Al Shepherd :

    “Let’s light this candle!” 8)

    Oct. 27th launch day you say?

    @ 16. Grand Lunar Says:

    I can only assume that people that write this :

    “Bah! More capsule based spacecraft! When we gonna get a real spaceship like….er….the shuttle (only newer and better). Technology takes a giant leap backwards.”

    have no perspective on just how good Apollo was.

    Exactly. The Apollo-Saturn was the best most capable human spacecraft-rocket system Humanity has yet invented. I couldn’t agree more there.

    The shuttle is confined to LEO. It’s wings are deadweight until the end of the mission. We could’ve done great things with the Saturns had they not been canceled.

    True. But you have to admit the orbiters could do things other rockets couldn’t (eg. fly more than once) and had their advantages.

    Astronomers esp. and science-lovers generally, should never forget that the shuttles made the Hubble Space Telescope possible – and that’s just for starters. They’ve also enabled more people to travel in space than any other spacecraft. The shuttles have their limitations, yes, but are still amazing machines and I think unfairly denigrated and mocked. They haven’t quite lived up to expectations but what they have done is just staggering so let’s not be too ungrateful, please!

    Now, to the Ares. For NASA’s sake, I hope it works.
    But personally, I feel a disaster is in the works.
    And if so, then either Direct 3.0 or the side-mount launcher ought to be our next near term hope.

    Well, its good to know there’s a plan B but I hope it won’t be needed and that all goes well with the new rockets. :-)

    I, for one, do not feel a sense of impending disaster -at least not where Ares or NASA generally is concerned.

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