Eve, LCROSS Impacts and ARES Test

Branson’s Eve at Edwards AFB:

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Yep, that’s a B2 in the background.

WhiteKnight 2 exclusive pics taken today at Edwards AFB Open House

Here are some LCROSS impact images released from NASA.

Quite different than initially advertised, eh?

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I guess there was some dust that got kicked up, just not what NASA thought.

It was supposedly a sodium cloud. No sign of water.

LCROSS Impact Images

NASA still plans on rolling out the Ares 1-X test rocket out to its launch pad tomorrow 10/20/09.

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39B Tuesday morning after engineers replaced a leaky part inside the first stage’s steering system.Jon Cowart, the mission’s deputy project manager, said the only hurdle standing in the way of rollout on Tuesday is the availability of a crawler-transporter to carry the rocket and its launch platform from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the seaside pad.

“We’ve had a bit of an issue with our crawler-transporters. Both of them have experienced failures in the last couple of days, so we’re working very hard on Crawler-Transporter 2. There’s a bearing that they’re having to look at and I think they’re going to get past this issue,” Cowart told Spaceflight Now on Saturday night.

“If they do, and we have every expectation right now they they will, it looks like we will roll out Monday night,” Cowart said.

First motion out of the VAB would occur at 12:01 a.m. EDT Tuesday.

Teams are working over the weekend to close out the rocket’s first stage aft skirt after installing a fresh hydraulic accumulator.

If Ares 1-X is able to roll out Tuesday, one day later than planned, Cowart said the launch could still occur as scheduled on Oct. 27.

The test flight shares much of the same launch pad workforce now preparing the shuttle Atlantis for a mission next month.

“There’s still some active negotiation to be done with our shuttle brethren as well as the Range folks, but it looks like we can work things around. You know we had gone to that eight-day pad flow. Even rolling out a day late, if we can get good cooperation, and it looks like we will, we can condense our pad flow back down to seven days and still make our first launch attempt on the 27th,” Cowart said.

Ares 1-X only has Oct. 27 and Oct. 28 booked with the Air Force due to the Eastern Range’s unavailability in late October and early November. Barring fruitful negotiations, the next attempt would slip to November at the earliest.

Officials held a program-level Flight Readiness Review at Kennedy Space Center on Saturday.

“We had a good meeting where we reviewed all of our open items, open paper and work to go,” Cowart said.

“We talked about some of the big issues we’ve had over the course over the last couple of years, the ones that got everyone’s attention, and when we looked at all that and we laid out the work that we had to go do, there’s some open paperwork that still has to be closed out,” Cowart said.

But managers approved plans for rollout and continuing launch preps in advance of a senior agency-level FRR.

“We got a unanimous go to proceed to rollout, closing the items that we have, and proceeding to the agency FRR next Friday.”

 

There has been much rolling in ashes and nashing of teeth concerning the Constellation Program and the Ares Project in particular because of lack of funding and vision. There are many polticians who really didn’t give a shit about funding the project until the Augustine Commission’s findings.

One such finding was that commercial/contract space launch corporations could save the tax-payers lots of bootle by taking over some of the launch services from NASA to supply the International Space Station.

Needless to say, many politicians who have companies in their home states involved in the contruction of the Constellation Program’s many components aren’t too pleased about that aspect of the panel’s findings.

To that I say “Too f*cking bad.”

If you people were so concerned about the project to begin with, you would’ve properly funded it instead of letting it wither on the vine.

As for the launch of the test rocket, I think it’s good that NASA got off its arse to test a new roman candle.

Maybe it won’t be such a waste of money to find if the design has flaws, since these people claim it’s so hard to build the damn things!

Ares 1-X Test Flight

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