Doug Cooke thanks the team for doing a great job and says that it’s great for an engineer to see a successful engineering test. Mr. Cooke is noting the hopeful resolution of the question of which direction to go in human space flight. He mentions that work today puts on a path to achieve human space flight goals of
Alex Priskos, the leader of the Ares program at NASA, says that the early data shows that expected performance was met. There was a new insulation in the aft dome of the motor because it is easier to produce and deals with some obsolescence issues, namely that some parts for future SRM’s available for Shuttle will not available in the future. The exit cone construction was modified as well. DM-1 performed so well in the test regarding barriers and seals, so this time a breach was created in hopes of seeing what the effects will be. So NASA is very interested in the post test review.
Charlie Precourt, ATK’s Space Systems head, tips his hat to the ATK and NASA team for a great test and for being flexible in dealing with challenges they faced.
How the Ares I SRM motor will be useful for future programs not yet determined according to Doug Cooke. The current uncertainty in regard to the direction of human space flight is the primary culprit.
Regarding the Program of Record, there are to be 4 DM’s and then 3 qualification tests.
DM-1 Ambient temperature fire
DM-2 Cold fire
DM-3 Hot fire
DM-4 Cold test to get better data and will have final insulation.
Three qualification tests will be testing the flight design of the SRM. As for funding, under the 2010 funding language, there was money for DM-2. Subsequent tests will be funded in the future. DM-3 will be casts and tested in 2011.
Precourt talks about how important this test is to preserve the workforce and knowledge of the ATK team. But it’s also important in validating that Ares I for human missions and for future human exploration.
There are studies underway beginning from about half a year out for heavy-lift launcher requirements and the appropriateness of solid rocket motors and all-liquid propulsion. According to Dough Cooke, there should be some results, he called it a read-out, in the coming months.
The total cost to date:
Static fire test costs about $75 million.
To date, about $1B has been paid for first-stage Ares development to date.
As for the uncertainly of the future of human space flight has had on moral, Precourt and Cooke both feel that the Constellation team shows great dedication in moving forward–can’t say enough good things about the team.
As for additional follow-on testing from Ares I-X, there is some consideration of those tests, but they are up in the air, according to Doug Cooke.