Ares 1 leaves the ground

cider_and_toast

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Seeing as there seem to be a few fans of all things scientific on here I thought this would be of interest.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/const ... index.html

This is the first flight test of Nasa's new crew launch vehicle that will replace the space shuttle in 2014.

If you think that the Ares 1 looks suspiciously like a space shuttle external tank sat on top of a space shutle solid rocket booster, well er.... that's because it is. There have been some re-designs to certain parts but effectively Nasa are trying to recycle as much tech from one project to the next in order to cut costs.

In this launch just the lower SRB (solid rocket booster) stage was tested and recovered while the second stage is just a mock up at the moment. The J2-S engines that will power this stage are still in the design phase.

This marks the first test of a "to be crewed" vehicle since the space shuttle however unlike Ares 1 the first flight test of the space shuttle took place on the 21st April 1981 with a crew of John Young and Bob Crippen strapped in. Now that must have taken some balls, not actually knowing if the whole thing would work since it had never been tested before.
 

McZiderRed

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I vaguely remember when they were doing flight tests on the shuttle, without the booster rockets. They hung the shuttle from under a plane. A Boeing something or other wasn't it? I also vaguely remember watching the first take off of the shuttle, going to space, on TV. It's amazing to think how old the shuttle technology is and quite impressive that it had relatively few accidents.

I wonder if the new rocket will last as long as the shuttle did?
 

cider_and_toast

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That's pretty much correct McZ except the Shuttle was launched (or rather, let go) from the top of a 747 not from underneath. The ALT (approach and landing) tests took place in the mid to late 70s using a non flying version of the shuttle called Enterprise.

These were the only flying tests of the shuttle before a real launch took place on the 21st of April 1981.

The soviets on the other hand, tested their shuttle, called Buran by launching it on a fully automatic program before running the risk of putting men in it. The soviet space shuttle made just this one flight into orbit before the budget ran out and the whole program scrapped. Buran is now in a Moscow theme park.

The US space shuttle has a pretty poor safety record by American standards having been responsible for the death of 14 astronauts in it's history.
 

cider_and_toast

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That's what comes of awarding contracts to the lowest bidder.

Absolutely.

Morton Thiokol of Utah, who were awarded the contract to build the Solid Rocket Boosters had no previous experience of building solid rockets of that size and after the selection process several companys appealed this choice. A full review of the selection process was conducted however the selection stood. The key thing here is that the booster that won on construction and safety had no field joints of the type that caused the loss of the space shuttle. The booster that won on cost and was also in a key area for jobs and votes did.
 

fat jez

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Actually, the Buran was destroyed when the hanger roof collapsed on it, killing 8 workers. While similar in design to the space shuttle, she was probably more technically advanced, the auto landing system mentioned by CAT being an example of this.

Enterprise first flew in 1977 (well, glided), commanded by Apollo 13 lunar module pilot Fred Haise. She was considered as a replacement for Challenger, but it was deemed better to build Endeavour from spares (note the spelling, she was named after Captain Cook's ship, so was not spelled Endeavor).
 
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