My heroes had the heart to lose their lives out on a limb,
And all I remember is thinking, “I want to be like them!” –Gnarls Barkley
And here’s a new discovery (to me): the Violent Femmes version to help you through your post-Halloween Monday:
Yes, the rocket has a long history. Yes, it’s nearly twice as high as the space shuttle (at a whopping 327 feet, or 99.7 meters). But did you know that when it was rolled out, it was attached to the launch pad by only four bolts?
And perhaps most impressively, do you realize how tall 327 feet actually is? Perhaps this vertical panorama of the rocket before it was rolled out expresses it better than words can.
Of course, before you’re ready for launch, you had better test your engines. And that means testing the multiple different stages of the engines. Take a look at the following two images to get an idea of the thrust involved.
Both initial stages (above) and subsequent (below) need to be tested.
The 2.6 million pounds of thrust that Ares I-X can produce is enough to accelerate it from 0-60 in under 8 seconds. Not bad, considering it’s accelerating a rocket, and it continues to accelerate for minutes, rather than topping out after a few seconds like your car does. We got a great view of this last week, at Ares I-X’s maiden launch.
You get your rocket going quickly enough, and you wind up making a shock collar, as the difference in pressure at high speeds is enough to pull water vapor out of the air in a cone-like shape. Rory Duncan captured this beautifully:
And finally, because of a slight malfunction in one of the parachutes, part of the rocket that splashed-down into the ocean got damaged upon impact with the water. Amazing what a “soft” surface like water can do to a hard one like high-grade metal alloys used in constructing this rocket.
A promising start to the rocket that may ultimately lead to a return to manned exploration beyond Earth’s orbit! And thanks to Universe Today, Astronomy Picture of the Day, and Graeme McMillan at io9 for providing many of the amazing photos found in this special!