Ares I-X test flight rolls out to the launch pad

History was made tonight and I was there. It was pretty cool to witness the rollout of the Ares I-X test flight rocket first hand. Ares I is designed to replace the Shuttle for getting astronauts into orbit. Enough talk … here are the photos that I took and also a short edited video (click for larger versions of the photos):

This is the employee signature banner for Ares I-X.  Each flight gets a banner that is displayed along with the vehicle and these banners are signed by KSC employees who have worked on that mission.  I worked on the ground control system for the Ares I-X mission, so I made sure I signed this banner.  I wonder if you can find my signature…

Can you find my signature now?

How about now?

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The Ares I-X rocket doesn’t look terribly huge inside the massive Vehicle Assembly Building, but it’s nearly as tall as the Saturn V rockets that we used to go to the moon during the Apollo program.

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Excitement is in the air as the new big rocket emerges from the VAB.

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Isn’t she big and beautiful!

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Not symmetrical by design.  We’re re-using a Shuttle mobile launcher platform for this flight, which has two holes for solid rocket booster exhaust.  So we mounted the Ares I-X rocket over one of the two SRB holes in the platform.

Glowing in the spotlights.

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The spotlights were very bat-symbol-like.  I didn’t get a good photo of it, but there was enough moisture in the air to clearly see the rocket’s silouette projected big and bold up into the sky.  It was quite impressive.

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Obligatory photo of me standing in front of the rocket for the scrapbook.

Here is the video:

Or you can watch the video directly on YouTube here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHEla1t0byQ

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