NASA gave the official “go” for the Ares I first stage Development Motor 1 (DM-1) test targeted for August 25 concluding a two-day test readiness review. Nineteen NASA managers signed off on the official readiness statement. It reads: “Pending satisfactory completion of normal operations flow and open items identified in this review, the Ares I First Stage test hardware is ready to support the static testing of DM-1.”
The review was held at ATK Launch Systems Huntsville, Al. office on July 21-22. More than 50 solid rocket motor technical experts reviewed every detail of the DM-1 solid rocket motor, now installed in a test stand at ATK’s Promontory, Utah test facility. The first stage five-segment development motor has been under development since 2006. It is based on the design of the space shuttle’s four-segment configuration, but includes several modifications.
Max Tavoian, ATK Space Systems manager opened the formal review for ATK. Tavoian noted that most people in the room had been working toward DM-1 for the last three and a half years.
“This review will tell you why DM-1 is ready to go. DM-1 has 46 design objectives and 650 instrumentation channels. This test will prove out a series of technology improvements and design attributes including changes to the propellant grain, nozzle and updated liner and insulation implemented by ATK related to the new five-segment reusable solid rocket motor.”
Over the two days, the team engaged in a healthy and thorough discussion about the motor’s instrumentation, propellant and motor performance, insulation and components, metal case components and seals, and the overall readiness to “go” for test on August 25. The upcoming test is expected to provide valuable data on motor internal pressures, thrust profile, and performance of new designs on the nozzle and the internal motor insulation. Additional benefits include data on roll-control, acoustics and vibration data. Engineers need all of this data to continue to design the Ares I rocket.
No issues emerged from the review that impact test readiness. Final instrumentation will be installed over the next month in preparation for the firing.
Alex Priskos, first stage manager for the Ares Projects Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. chaired NASA’s test readiness review panel. He closed the meeting enthusiastically, acknowledging the hard work of the team which made this successful review possible. “This effort has been a thorough and professional effort. The professionalism of this team gives me a high level of confidence as we go forward with this test,” he said.
“DM-1 is about taking advantage of all we’ve learned from the Shuttle program — the safety aspects and technology enhancements — and moving forward to the next stage of crewed exploration beyond low-Earth orbit,” explained Priskos. “This test is the first step in a series of development and qualification tests. The ultimate goal is to design and build a first-stage motor that increases performance, is safe, reliable and will meet or exceed all of our requirements and objectives. The entire Ares team is looking forward to the DM-1firing next month and reviewing the test results.”
Jennifer Morcone, MSFC PAO