Ares I-X 'in great shape' to fly

Launch tomorrow, weather permitting


NASA's Ares I-X rocket will, weather permitting, blaze a trail for the agency's Constellation programme tomorrow, lifting off from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39B.

Launch Test Director Jeff Spaulding said yesterday: "I'm very happy to report that we are tracking no problems and the vehicle is in great shape."

The Ares I-X on the launchpad. Pic: NASA

There's a four-hour launch window between 12:00 and 16:00 GMT, although NASA estimates a "40 per cent chance that the weather on Tuesday morning will cooperate". If it doesn't, NASA will go for a launch on Wednesday, during the same time frame.

The test flight - featuring a dummy upper stage - will allow NASA to "test and prove flight characteristics, hardware, facilities and ground operations associated with the Ares I". The first stage solid rocket boosters will carry the Ares I-X to an altitude of 40km (25 miles). The booster stage will parachute into the Atlantic for recovery, while the dummy stage will come down with an almighty splash.

The Ares I-X mission profile. Graphic: NASA

NASA remains upbeat about the Constellation programme, despite growing criticism of the project. Following the release of the final report (pdf) of the committee tasked with reviewing the future of the US's human spaceflight programme, chairman Norman Augustine expressed doubts that the Ares I actually serves any useful purpose.

He said of the planned use of the vehicle to supply the International Space Station: "We think NASA would be better served to spend its money and its ability, which is immense, focusing on going beyond low-Earth orbit rather than running a trucking service to low-Earth orbit."

NASA's main Ares I-X coverage is here, there's a fact sheet here (pdf) and the mission specs are here (pdf). ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021