Monday, December 07, 2009

Ares Rocket Roll Control

The Ares I-X test rocket lifted off from the newly-modified Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a two-minute powered flight. The roll control system for Ares I-X consisted of two modules containing engines originally used on now-decommissioned Peacekeeper missiles.

Image credit: NASA

The Ares I-X test flight lasted about six minutes from its launch until splash down of the rocket's booster stage nearly 150 miles down range. This shot was taken from the rocket looking back at the launch pad. The roll control motors were used to control the vehicle during flight.

The Ares I first prototype thruster test was conducted at Aerojet in Sacramento, Calif. These small control rockets can be turned on and off for brief periods of time. This particular design can be pulsed for 1/10th of one second or may be fired 30 or 40 seconds at a time.

Engineers with the Marshall Center and Aerojet of Sacramento, Calif., conducted hot-fire testing for the first of two prototype Ares I roll control thrusters at Aerojet’s state-of-the-art engine test facility in Sacramento.

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