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Weather, stray cargo ship and stuck cover conspire to postpone NASA’s Ares 1-X test launch

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Ares I-XNASA’s towering Ares 1-X rocket, a test vehicle for a planned crew launcher to replace the space shuttle, remains on the ground at Kennedy Space Center in Florida after the space agency scrubbed its Tuesday launch attempt. The launch team will try again Wednesday in a four-hour launch window that begins at 8:00 A.M. (Eastern Daylight Time).

Tuesday’s attempt was ultimately foiled by uncooperative weather, but not before a stuck cover on a probe at the top of the rocket delayed proceedings, as did a cargo ship that wandered into the danger zone under the flight path.

The launch will test components of the Constellation program, a spaceflight system now in development to replace the shuttle, which is scheduled for retirement next year. In the Constellation system, Ares 1 rockets would deliver astronauts to low-Earth orbit.

But with development years behind schedule, an independent panel convened by the Obama administration recently estimated that manned Constellation flights would not begin before 2017. The panel, chaired by former aerospace executive Norman Augustine, also concluded that under NASA’s budgetary constraints the agency may have to choose between continuing to develop Ares 1 and extending the life of the International Space Station beyond 2015.

Photo of Ares 1-X on the launch pad Tuesday: NASA TV





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  1. 1. Michael Hanlon 1:10 am 10/28/2009

    And this just in to Rigel 7 News at 15: Scientists have determined that the life in the Sol system is not intelligent. They attribute the noted behaviour to "smart mimicing". Examination of shattered debris found on the third planet’s moon shows that they don’t comprehend the concept of survivable landing. Gabrukkcik says, "They may know how to get there, but they don’t know how to stop".
    .Tune in at 17 when we will have our panel of AI’s download a full analysis.

    Link to this

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