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Managers give approval to continue Ares 1-X preps

Posted: October 10, 2009

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After reviewing the status of preparatory work inside the Vehicle Assembly Building, mission managers gave approval Friday to proceed toward rollout of the slender Ares 1-X test rocket on Oct. 19.

The Ares 1-X rocket stands inside the Vehicle Assembly Building. Credit: NASA-KSC
During Friday's Launch Readiness Review, officials discussed the results of rocket testing and received updates on preparations to ready the 327-foot-tall booster for its trip to launch pad 39B.

"At the conclusion of the review, KSC management determined that there are no major launch processing or engineering issues, and the team should proceed toward the scheduled rollout on October 19," a written status report said.

"It was a very methodical review, but they didn't find any launch processing engineering issues that required an extended discussion," a NASA spokesperson said.

Liftoff is set for Oct. 27 in a launch window opening at 1200 GMT (8 a.m. EDT).

The rollout is scheduled to commence just after midnight EDT on Oct. 19, beginning a 4.2-mile journey on an Apollo-era launch platform and crawler.

Engineers finished the lion's share of testing inside the cavernous assembly building this week.

An all-day Launch Vehicle Readiness Test was conducted on Tuesday, excercising the rocket's power system, avionics and instrumentation to verify they are all functioning properly.

A thermal excursion test on Thursday checked temperatures inside the rocket when all of its electronics are turned on, ensuring the vehicle will not overheat during its 4-hour launch window.

The focus now shifts to closing access panels and configuring the rocket for the move to the pad.

The crew module and launch abort system simulators have been closed out, and upper stage closeouts are underway. Final hydraulic system closeouts are have also begun.

Next week, engineers will finish closeouts and start rollout preps. The installation of the Ares 1-X flight battery is also on tap.

On Monday, launch controllers will undergo another countdown simulation for additional practice.

A senior-level Flight Readiness Review is scheduled for Oct. 23 to give final approval to begin the countdown.