After shrugging off some delays due to clouds, Ares I-X has lifted off into the Florida sky and done what it was designed to do: lift off, test the flight software, perform a separation maneuver, and test the recovery system. This is a great day for the Ares I-X Mission Management Office, and a first step toward NASA’s next generation of human spaceflight. More details on the data will be coming out over the next several days, weeks, and months.

47 thoughts on “Liftoff!”

  1. The new concept looks very promising, however one question that is the msot important question is how does the escape computer program operate? Is the program built to allow human interaction that if a problem should occur that the commander would tap a button where the escape motor then pulls the command module to safety or are there sensor gauges located at the fatigue points of the vehicle and other areas of possible fatigue due to stress that when the frame work or electronic components and wiring are damaged a signal would be sent to the escape and recovery computer that would fire the escape motor that would pull the command module and crew to safety?

    If not the idea would work in reverse of a closed circuit. If the sensor in the escape and recovery computer detects an open circuit in any of the areas where the closed loop circuitry is placed where possible fatigue that would lead to a catastrophic accident may occur, then the signal of the open circuit would tell the escap and recovery computer to fire the escape rocket motor and carry the crew or cargo to safety. This type of set-up would be best used around O-rings and other fatigue points that the crew would not have any chance of knowing that the section may have failed where the reaction time of the crew would be lessened causing an increased chance of crew and cargo loss.

  2. Beautiful launch Ares I-X! I applaud everyone at NASA for their hard work and congratulate them on their huge success. I sure hope this becomes the rocket of the future.

  3. Need more NASA Funding? How about offering tax free Space Bonds? To help finance WWII, war Bonds were issued. I would buy some if I did not get pinged on the puny earned interest.

  4. Need more NASA funding? How about offering Tax Free Space Bonds? I would purchase some if I did not get pinged on the puny interest.

  5. It was a beautiful launch! It was worth the wait and anticipation. I’m very excited for all the new developments that are happening now int he space program.

  6. Am I wrong, or did something go amiss when the booster separated from the dummy upper stage? I would have expected a cleaner looking separation, with the upper stage coasting away while the booster pushed back on its separation rockets. Rather, the two didn’t really separate, and the upper stage was pulled around and started to tumble. The booster also tumbled in the opposite direction. Did they “stick” instead of a clean separtion?

  7. Having got this far with a successful first flight you must not let the detractors of the Ares programme try and curtail it. I believe its vital for the future of space exploration that you be allowed to continue.

  8. Congrats !

    A for the team,
    excellent work,
    you guys are the best in the world !
    Keep up the good work with the 1.5 architecture and let’s go build that lunar base !

  9. Hello NASA,

    Can you show me a prominant link to a video of this launch anywhere on your site? Or have you decided to hide it for the challange of it all?

    It is inconceivable to me that in a group of rocket scientists can nobody gets the most basic concept of PR and web design. My God, it is 2010. We want to SEE thsi stuff. Use the media. A 12 year old is mosr successful getting out video of his little league game than you are in this launch.


  10. @#3 Gary – I was thinking the same thing, it appeared to almost fold in half during the separation. And then with the tumbling, looked pretty sloppy, I’d bet money something went awry.

  11. Okay now that Ares I-X has launced and was a success what is next on the timetable. It would be nice to see a full schedule of planned events that are to take place to get to the final goal.

  12. Gut reaction was the upper stage wasn’t statically stable enough to keep going without attitude thrusters. Surprised simulations didn’t predict this.

  13. Well done NASA! Brilliant teamwork and a joy to see such a beautiful piece of machinery performing so well. Sincerely hope that my daughters experience the thrill of seeing humans on the moon again – and beyond. You have my vote!!

  14. Well done NASA! Brilliant teamwork and a joy to see such a beautiful piece of machinery performing so well. Sincerely hope that my daughters experience the thrill of seeing humans on the moon again – and beyond. You have my vote!!

  15. Congratulations, folks! This looks like a great design for our next gen space vehicle and I’m glad all went well.

  16. The Ares I 1st stage includes a tumble-motor, designed to induce a tumble at separation to slow reentry. With less aerodynamic forces acting on both segments at altitude I suspect that the activation of the tumble motors ocurred before complete separation of the USS/CM/LAS stack, causing it to tumble as well.

  17. In response to the question about why the booster tumbled, it (the booster) is designed to tumble…has “BTMs” (booster tumble motors) designed to force a tumble (this greatly increasing drag) and keep the booster (still producing a small amount of thrust at separation) from catching back up with the upper stage after the “BDMs” (booster deceleration motors) quit firing. The opposite yaw of the upper stage at separation COULD have been caused by a less-than-clean separation, but the data will tell the story during post-flight analysis.

  18. Amazing work, this launch vehicule seems very sturdy and fast,
    congrats to all the Nasa teams and partners who designed and manufactured this vehicule in such a short time.
    I can’t wait to see the Ares V in action !

  19. Why did it look like the darn thing was going to topple over just as it was leaving the pad? (it seems to be leaning…maybe it was just the camera angle?) Also…is NASA going to post any other videos from any other cameras (which I’m sure were in use for the launch)?

  20. Congratulations on the successful launch! Impressive for a first launch. The data will be invaluable. Glad to see the concept come to reality. Looking forward to the next Ares launch.

  21. Heard there might be vibration issues, were those seen or fixed or can be fixed? I understand good first effort with the new design.

  22. There’s something in all of this that I don’t understand. Everyone is looking at this rocket as a step forward, but in reality it’s a major step backwards. We have environmental systems to give constant air,water and waste recyling along with systems for substainable food. There are several proven prototypes for artifical gravity generation and fully working and tested ion engines including several more “generations” in various forms of design and concept. Rockets have been around since the early 1900’s. This isn’t anything new. Instead of a more versatile, and capable exploration craft we’re going backwards. Dust off the classified concept studies on craft and propulsion design that had some very brilliant and promising concepts and either declassify them or start seriously considering using them. What’s the point of having the technology and wasting billions of dollars on it if your not going to use it?

  23. Nice job is it will actually land on the moon and beyond someday.
    If the shuttle was cheaper to construct and use, it wouldn’t have been mothballed in the first place. Nasa might have been able to land on mars on it’s present budget long ago if were run more efficently with a lot less people.
    It could have been worse like shutting down NASA and funnelling all research funds in health research instead because most women consider this a waste effort like hockey and football matches are important to some men at least.
    Too bad the great secrets of black ops can’t be used at NASA for accelerated efforts at space research and implementation.

  24. Hey, I really enjoyed the launch. I was watching it from Misawa Japan.

    I had a question in regards to the launch.

    What ended up producing the tumbling effect on the upper stage? It looked as if one of the Explosive bolts didn’t fire and caused a snap effect as the two stages attempted to separate, bringing the upper stage back, and sending it tumbling.

    Has their been any guidance on this?

  25. You should have explained to the public–those footing the bill–that the seperation was planned to be so odd. I’m surprised the upper-stage didn’t shatter at the speed it was going and swung-around as it did. NASA is becoming more and more closed to giving information and archival video footage to the taxpayers, who incidently paid for it to begin with…a la, Soviet Russia.

    Who set-up Vehicle Cams 1 and 2? Was it a union job?

  26. First, full kudos to the assembly crews and launch team: the “working stiffs” did their jobs professionally as always.

    For NASA leadership: shame for your lack of vision! For an estimated half-billion dollar launch (I heard $450-some million mentioned somewhere yesterday), I would have expected something more than a “dumb” mockup upper stage (that apparently wasn’t sufficiently ballasted to allow it even a modicum of ballistic trajectory on separation; was it made of plywood?). IMHO, a clean staging SHOULD have been one of the biggest check-offs on this first test. Instead, the separation sequence looked like a semi jack-knifing on an icy road.

    Steerable solid rockets have been flying for six decades…not much “leading edge” there. Are we really so uncertain of our rocketry skills that launching an oversized Estes model rocket can generate so much enthusiasm? Or was it just relief that it didn’t blow up on the pad? NOT a confidence builder for the future of the program, regardless of how many times we call the launch a “SUCCESS”!

  27. Ok, that sep seems to worry the clueless like me. Was it by lack of thrust on that dummy stage? When can we expect some public analysis on this sep?

  28. I understand that things went as planned, but when there was separation, were both sections spinning planned??. I should think not. Telling us the good news is great. But, as a tax payer, I think I deserve the whole story and if I am questioning this then there are probably many others with the same question. As I know this launch was a test with 700 sensors to allow modifications for future improvement, I also know that if you hide one thing that seems very apparent, then you would also hide anything else from us. I would like to be stand corrected, so correct me.

  29. I absolutely love that NASA finally got the Ares I-A rocket off the ground.

    The “ONE” problem I have with it is that it looks too tall and gainly; it seems to be ready to fall-over at anytime.

    I’m am hoping that this is ONLY the initial phase-testing of the rocket concept, and NOT the finally and standard model that will be, EVENTUALLY, used.

    Philadelphia, PA

  30. Great launch!! I would love to see more video of the ascent and decent similar to SRB videos.

    Also, it looked like the tail end of the vehicle came awful close to the launch structure.

  31. Well done NASA. BUT as has been noted earlier, the Constellation program has to do a better job of selling this great adventure to the public – the WORLD public as well as the US. Web sites should be up-to-date, problems encountered made public ASAP – easy access to video, commentary etc. Maybe even a ‘face’ that we can get to know. Steve Squyres of the Mars rover program showed an enthusiastic face that couldn’t help but inspire! And remember Carl Sagan? Chris Kraft?
    Again, great work team but keep us all informed.

  32. Way to go, Ares I-X team! It was exciting to watch the launch. I stayed up late last night at home and watched the NASA Select programming I had recorded on the DVR during the day. The many views from the different cameras were very interesting.
    The only negative I have is why in the world is someone like the Test Director issuing a statement to his team that includes “…that was FRICKIN FANTASTIC!” ? Very UN-Professional in my book. I would never have expected Dr. von Braun or any of his team saying something like that. Doesn’t he know his words were to be broadcast around the world? Hasn’t he been sent to classes that teach how to speak in a public forum?
    In my book, other than that, it was a great day!

  33. Actually, there’s a reference in the launch narration to a “tumble booster”; also in one of the animations they released before the test flight, there’s a scene showing two small rockets on the lower stage (SRB) firing off to the side, so it would appear that the SRB portion is supposed to tumble as part of the separation.

    In watching the launch video again, it looks as though these small rockets fired just before the separation occurred. Whether this was planned or not, I don’t know, but it doesn’t seem to faze the narrator in the least (as though it was expected).

    One guess is that they did that to slow down the horizontal velocity vector of the upper stage to reduce the distance downrange that the dummy stage traveled. (Just a guess on my part).

  34. Well Nasa,I watched Ares launch yesterday afternoon on Fox news and I am very happy it went according to plan… well done!!!! By the way I live in ireland

  35. Congratulations; as we now are on track to head to old and new charters. GOD SPEED NASA. “Australia thanks you”

  36. When will we see the test results from the launch? How the parashutes
    worked for example? Will it be on this web-site?

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