After a drama-filled wait, NASA’s new rocket finally took to the sky this morning. The rocket, called Ares I-X, launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, its mission to gather critical data for the agency’s next line of moon-bound rockets.
The event marked the first time that a new vehicle has launched from the complex in 30 years and the first test flight since the Apollo missions. The historic flight was spectacular, despite the vehicles uncertain future. A recent report from an independent committee reviewing NASA’s future plans for human exploration did not favor the development of Ares I.
Ares I-X is a prototype rocket composed of real and simulated systems and includes over 700 onboard sensors designed to gather data on vibrations, temperatures, acoustics, loads, pressure, and more.
The maiden flight lasted a mere two minutes, during which time the rocket traveled through the toughest parts of the atmosphere where a launch vehicle is most vulnerable to failures. At an altitude of 45 kilometers the rocket’s two stages separated. The first stage, composed of four solid rocket boosters and a dummy fifth, will be recovered– these boosters used a set of large parachutes to drop into the Atlantic Ocean. The mock second stage broke apart and will not be recovered.
Bob Ess, Ares I-X mission manager told Space.com that the test flight gathered huge amounts of data. “It’s reams and reams of data that will take at best months to go through and understand.”
The teams plan to release periodic reports over the next three months to share the results of the fact-finding test flight. “We’ll come back and tell the agency and the public what we learned,” Ess said.
Why China is still obsessed with disinfecting everything
Most public health bodies dealing with covid have long since moved on from the idea of surface transmission. China’s didn’t—and that helps it control the narrative about the disease’s origins and danger.
These materials were meant to revolutionize the solar industry. Why hasn’t it happened?
Perovskites are promising, but real-world conditions have held them back.
Anti-aging drugs are being tested as a way to treat covid
Drugs that rejuvenate our immune systems and make us biologically younger could help protect us from the disease’s worst effects.
A quick guide to the most important AI law you’ve never heard of
The European Union is planning new legislation aimed at curbing the worst harms associated with artificial intelligence.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.