Monday, July 6, 2009

Ares I moves forward

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Though the fate of Ares I is uncertain pending a review by a special panel, the new crew launch vehicle is moving from the computer-aided design workstations to various fabrication facilities. To hold down costs, NASA is developing Ares I in-house before farming out production to industry. Experts in friction stir-welding have produced their first tank dome using the same robotic tool that Boeing will use in upper stage production at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Development of the J-2X, which will power the Ares I upper stage and the earth departure stage, is moving along. Power-pack trials were done at Stennis Space Center, and the A2 test stand will be modified for the J-2X after the last space shuttle main engine test in September. (Source: Aviation Week, 07/05/09)