Solid Rocket Motor ignites!
It was a busy space day. Not too far from the SpaceRubble Command Bunker, ATK and NASA test-fired the solid rocket motor assembly that will be the basis of the first stage for the Ares I rocket for the Constellation program. This rocket vomits out a tremendous amount of power and flame, and it sure looked like a successful test on my side of the monitor. This would have been a great event to attend if I'd been able to.
Ares I-X being assembled in the vast Vehicle Assembly Building
Currently NASA is assembling the first actual test rocket for the program in its VAB facility at the Kennedy Space Center. This test flight keeps getting delayed. To be honest, I am not sure that there will be any test flights after this one, given the gloomy budget analysis by the government's Augustine Commission - but that's another story.
Japan's H2 rocket and HTV payload prior to launch
Meanwhile, congratulations are due to Japan's successful launch today of the HTV cargo carrier into orbit. The HTV is similar in purpose to the European ATV, which is designed to carry supplies and equipment to the ISS in Earth orbit. The HTV is scheduled to rendezvous with the ISS on or about September 17. Japan has worked very hard to get the H2 heavy lift rocket operational, and I am sure there are many celebratory parties still going on across the Pacific. This really helps Japan get in the ISS game. Remember, Japan recently had a successful satellite orbit of the Moon, and earlier this year got their astronaut Koichi Wakata back from a long stay on the ISS. Glad to see their success!
At last word tonight, two attempts at a landing in Florida for mission STS-128 have been scrubbed due to developing storms. There will be two more early evening attempts Friday, and if that is scrubbed, NASA will look at a possible landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Of course, they don't want to do that, due to the incredible high cost of then shuttling the shuttle on the back of the 747 back to Florida.