Aft Center Section is Up…Over…and On

With its telltale “Z” stripe showing, the aft center section of the Ares I-X first stage booster is hoisted into place. Using a 325-ton capacity crane, the aft center is being lifted so it can be joined to the aft section already in place on mobile launch platform 1. 

Last week the aft section was placed on MLP 1 and locked down by four huge bolts — each of which has 750,000 pounds of tension in them when torqued down. The 100 foot horizontal and 90 foot vertical journey from the center transfer aisle of the VAB into VAB high bay 3 takes many hours due to the methodical nature of handling and moving solid rocket motor segments loaded with hundreds of tons of explosive propellant. 


Once the aft center section is in place, the forward center section will soon be brought over and finally the forward section will be joined to the other three. Once we have all 4 sections stacked, we will be ready for the first non-rocket motor section called Super Stack 1.


8 thoughts on “Aft Center Section is Up…Over…and On”

  1. You are doing magnificent job. I can’t wait to liftoff – and to more updates and pictures like that. Good luck!

  2. Will Video footage of the stacking be included with ‘This week at NASA’ video podcasts?

  3. The stacking of stackings can be uh… stacking?
    What just strook me is that this is gonna be the first test off what will ultimately be the tallest manned us space rocket since Saturn V and thats tall… Keep up the good information work Ive seen recently and God speed and fair winds and a following sea to all of you… Johan.

  4. Weird seeing such a huge building being used for such small rockets. Seeing the latest rocket occupying such a small space in the cavernous VAB shows the contrast with the space program of 40 years ago.

  5. Well it looks like Obama is going to scuttle the whole Ares program. Is it really of any worth to even launch the I-X ?? We need that funding for more executive bonuses and Cash for Clunkers programs!

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