Now this is something you’ve really got to see!
For the first time in more than 25 years, a new space vehicle is assembled and rarin’ to go in KSC’s Vehicle Assembly Building. Standing more than 320 feet tall, the rocket is almost twice as tall as a shuttle stack.
A crane hoisted the simulator launch abort system tower off the floor and placed it on top of the Ares I-X to complete he rocket stack.
It’s obviously a huge milestone! Now you can really get a feel for the scope of the vehicle.
The test rocket has been assembled on the top of a modified mobile launcher that used to be used by the shuttle.
Now that it is assembled, there will be extensive tests run on all the systems, including the set of complex instruments that will measure the rocket’s movements as it launches and the first stage separates.
These tests will include a process called “modal testing,” which will shake the stack slightly to test stiffness of the rocket including the pinned and bolted joints and make sure the rocket can handle the strain of launch and ascent. While those tests are conducted, a team of about 30 launch controllers also will practice their roles in the firing room preparing for its targeted launch in late October.