Ares I-X Test Flight Called Success
NASA says their new Ares I-X rocket launched at 11:30 a.m. EDT 28 October 2009 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a two-minute test flight. The mission lasted about six minutes. Lift off occurred at newly-modified Launch Complex 39B
with splash down of the rocket's booster some 150 miles down
According to NASA the 327-foot tall Ares I-X test vehicle produced 2.6 million pounds of
thrust which accelerated the rocket to nearly 3 g's and Mach 4.76, just
shy of hypersonic speed. It capped its easterly flight at a
sub-orbital altitude of 150,000 feet after the separation of its
first stage, a four-segment solid rocket booster.
Parachutes deployed for recovery of the booster and the solid rocket
motor will be recovered at sea for later inspection. The simulated
upper stage, Orion crew module, and launch abort system will not be
The space agency said that the flight offered an early opportunity to test and prove
hardware, facilities, and ground operations, which they claim are important data for
future space vehicles. During the flight, a range of performance data
was relayed to the ground and also stored in the onboard flight data
recorder. The 700 sensors mounted on the vehicle provide flight test
engineering data to correlate with computer models and analysis.
rocket's sensors gathered information in several areas, including
assembly and launch operations, separation of the vehicle's first and
second stages, controllability and aerodynamics, the re-entry and
recovery of the first stage and new vehicle design techniques.