Nasa and ATK test Ares first stage motor

Date:9 February 2010

Nasa and ATK engineers successfully conducted the first stationary firing of the Ares I rocket's first-stage, five-segment, development motor, or DM-1 on 10 September. The Ares I is a crew launch vehicle in development for Nasa's Constellation Program.

The flame exited the motor at Mach 3 and the test firing lasted for 122 seconds.

The motor will provide the backbone for the Ares I, generating up to 16 000 kilonewtons of thrust, or lifting power, at launch. The 47-m solid rocket motor produced heat two-thirds the temperature of the Sun.

Data collected during the test from 650 data channels will be used to evaluate the motor's performance. This test and those that follow will provide engineers with valuable information as they develop the safest and most reliable motor possible for Nasa's next generation rocket.

The five-segment solid rocket motor is capable of producing 22 million horsepower, equivalent to the energy produced by 25 882 race cars.

DM-1 is managed by the Ares Projects at Nasa's Marshall Space Flight Centre. The stationary test firing was conducted by ATK Space Systems, a division of Alliant Techsystems of Brigham City, Utah, the prime contractor for the Ares I first stage.

Image credit: ATK; Video credit: Nasa

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