On August 25, the Ares I solid rocket booster--the rocket that will launch the Orion crew capsule to the moon--will have its first live-fire test. Before a crowd expected in the thousands at the Promontory, Utah, facility of ATK, the primary contractor for the rocket, the crews that have been working on the Ares I for years will finally get a chance to see how the rocket works.
On his Road Trip 2009 project, CNET News reporter Daniel Terdiman visited ATK in Promontory and was the first member of the media to see the completed, five-stage, Ares I booster rocket.
A look down the 154-foot-long body of the five-segment Ares I First Stage rocket. The rocket is at the heart of NASA's Constellation program, which will replace the space shuttle, and which is planned to take humans back to the moon and perhaps Mars.
The Ares I solid-rocket booster is connected to the infrastructure that ATK has set up as the rocket awaits its August 25 test-firing, a day that may well count as a major milestone for NASA's Constellation program.
A single segment of an Ares rocket at an early stage in its composition, sits on a platform at ATK's Installation Component Workcenter in Promontory, Utah.
The casings for the booster segments are designed to be used again and again, and even those being used for the Ares program were once part of the Shuttle program. The Ares program will use more environmentally-friendly components than those that had asbestos in them and which were used during the Shuttle program