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Ares I-X

25 Oct 2009, 16:07 UTC
Ares I-X
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If everything works out OK, then NASA will launch a new rocket this coming Tuesday: the Ares I-X. And, if everything works right, I’ll be there to witness it!
The Ares rockets and Orion crew module are supposed to eventually replace the Space Shuttle in NASA’s inventory of craft to ferry astronauts to and from space. The Ares has been the target of quite a lot of criticism, too. There are calls for the project to be scrapped. However, most of those calling for scrapping the Ares project are outside of the space community, and almost all are outside of the field of aviation and rocketry. The most common complaint is, “Why can’t we just use one of the other big rockets that already exist?” Well, the reason is that those rockets are not designed for manned missions. In order to carry humans, rockets and aircraft have to go through a rigorous test procedure, and each and every part has to be separately certified as compliant with those tests. Going back and doing that for an existing rocket would be at least as expensive as building a new one from already certified parts. That is what the Ares is: a ...

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