Building on the enormous success of their first ground fire, Alliant Techsystems (ATK) and NASA are preparing for the second Ares I first stage Development Motor (DM-2) test. Currently, engineers and technicians are preparing the five-segment solid rocket for its Sept. 2 test.
The Ares I First Stage is the largest solid rocket motor ever built. It was designed with astronaut safety in mind while at the same time providing a reliable launch capability for both crewed and cargo missions. The motor is 154 feet long and 12 feet in diameter and is currently mounted on its side on its test stand in Utah. Once this test is over the results will be compared with the first DM ground test and the Ares I-X test flight which took place in October of last year.
The five-segment booster is based of the four-segment motor that the space shuttles currently use. While their design may be similar – these new boosters have been built with using modern technologies and materials. The SRBs that the space shuttle uses, while improved and updated are still based off a design over thirty years old. Like them, the five-segment Ares booster is designed to be recovered and reused on additional missions.