Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Utah Shoot, Day 3 - "In The Pits..."

This morning started bright and early with a nice hour drive from out hotel to the facilities of ATK Launch Systems. We were there to document the test fitting of a...well, it's pretty complicated. Here's some pictures to explain it...

This is a cut-away of the Ares I...the 1st stage is the long rocket at the bottom...

Zooming in on the important part... we are. The red color is the solid propellant the first stage will use to lift the Ares I and it has the consistency of a pencil eraser. The pattern near the top is no accident. It is a star shape that increases the burn area of the solid propellant when the ignitor ignites the fuel.

The picture below is the new and improved core they will use to mold the solid propellant in the top of the solid motor. It is lowered into the 40 foot deep "pit" in which an empty solid rocket motor casing is sitting. After the core is inserted, 25,000 gallons of mixed propellant will be poured into the casing (with the mold still in) this point, it will have the consistency of jello. After a while, they will remove the mold and the propellant will have the opposite shape as the mold pictured below.

This is only 1 of 5 segments that will make up the first stage of the new Ares I.

Ok, you got it? There will be a test tomorrow!

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