Alliant Techsystems (ATK) has shipped four solid motor segments from its processing facility in Utah to the Kennedy Space Centre (KSC) in Florida, the last remaining major hardware elements needed to build the first suborbital test rocket for NASA’s Ares I crew launch vehicle.
The hardware will arrive in Florida later this month and undergo final processing and preparations before being stacked with the other portions of the Ares I-X test rocket.
ATK loads one of four solid segments on a rail car for shipment ©ATK
Booster components leave ATK's Utah facility for NASA KSC ©ATK
The Ares I-X first stage will use use a four-segment solid rocket motor that delivers 3.3 million lb-thrust (14,685kN). Since the actual Ares I first stage will have five segments, the test vehicle will carry a fifth inert segment simulator.
The Ares I-X's first stage is designed to provide the primary propulsion for the rocket from its lift-off to its stage separation 120s into the flight, according to NASA. The motor segments for the Ares I-X flight were taken from the existing space shuttle solid rocket booster inventory.