Why the Ares-1 is already DEAD  (b/w version below)
December 5, 2009

Apart its stellar R&D costs and the giant 7+ years spaceflight GAP gift it'll give to NASA and USA, the Ares 1-X 30 Day Report released two days ago, CONFIRMS that this test has been a FAILURE and that, as a consequence, the Ares-1 can't fly.

But, unfortunately, as in the Hans Christian Andersen's tale "The Emperor's New Clothes" no one in the US Press has the courage to say (as I do) that "the Ares-1 is naked".

The 1-X test shows that a standard SRB can be launched alone with an cargo payload and probably also with a manned capsule atop it (despite, NOT so heavy like the current Orion design) and that its thrust oscillation is better than expected but the crucial figure of the 1-X test is at page 15 of the 30 Day Report where it states that the "Altitude at separation" has been "~128 kft" that's around 39 km.

Unfortunately, the report doesn't give us the
1-X altitude at 1st stage BURN OUT that's a very important data, since the 1-X flight profile is different from a Shuttle launch, in fact, in a Shuttle launch both SRB are jettisoned at 45 km. of altitude and they continue to fly due to inertia, while burn the residual propellant (so, the SRBs BURN OUT happens some seconds later) while, in the 1-X test, the separation is happened AFTER the FULL burn out of the two SRB (as shown also in the launch images) so, we must
INCLUDE the extra-altitude reached thanks to the inertia of the SRB.

The given figure (
39 km.) is surely better than the early (rumored) 35 km. reported in a blog's post linked in my article about the 1-X test, but, LESS good than expected, since the 1st stage hasn't not even reached the same altitude (45 km.) where, the Shuttles' SRBs are jettisoned, so, now I've some doubt about change or not the calculations in my Ares 1-X article, since it's UNCLEAR if the given 39 km. figure is the 1-X burn out AND stage separation altitude OR if the 39 km. data is ONLY the stage separation's altitude, while, the SRB burn out happened at
35 km. of altitude with an extra 4 km. of INERTIA.

Please note, that,
we can't add the extra 4 km. of inertia in the count of the "useful altitude" because the rocket reaches 39 km. of altitude (from 35 km. of the SRB burn out) but, in the same time,
its speed falls from mach 4.6 to ZERO, then, I'll wait more clear data from NASA about this very important point, before update the calculations in my Ares 1-X article.

The main concern regards the fact that the
max altitude reached at 1st stage burn out (35 km.) and separation (39 km.) after 4 km. of inertia, in the 1-X test, is
10 KM. LESS the altitude where the Shuttle SRBs are jettisoned (45 km.) and OVER 20 KM. LESS the expected altitude of the (final) Ares-1 (5-segments) 1st stage separation (55-57 Km.) also, the solid propellant inside the new SRB5 will have a 12-points-star shape (instead of the 11-points-star shape of a standard SRB) so, it will burn for ONLY 116 SECONDS (instead of the 124 seconds of a standard SRB) reaching a LOWER altitude than (both) the Shuttle SRB and the Ares 1-X first stage (maybe around 33 km. only) instead of the (needed) 55-57 km. planned in the (final) Ares-1 flight profile!!!!!

And, if someone wants to say me that an SRB5 will have 7% more power, I say him that (as clearly evidenced by the above 1-X figure) the 1st stage of the Ares-1 needs nearly TWICE the power of a standard SRB to lift the given upperstage mass (2nd stage, Orion, Service Module, LAS, etc.) to the (55-57 Km.) burn out and separation altitude!!!

That, since, the thrust/mass ratio of the SRB5 is very good only in the early 80 seconds of the flight, while, after, it falls very quickly, leaving on the Ares-1 only its very heavy dry-mass.

In other words, also if we forget its $35 billion R&D costs, the SRB5 and the Ares-1 are a COMPLETE FAILURE because, as it's clear from the early 1-X test data, the real Ares-1 payload NEVER CAN REACH THE EARTH ORBIT.

And if you think that NASA don't burn money to develop engines that don't work and vehicles that don't fly... just see the aerospike engine and X-33 SSTO stories...

[update] While discussing via email about the Ares 1-X test with John Juristh (author of this The Space Review article) I've found another very strange thing in the 1-X flight (that Mr Juristh says should be due to an extra pitch in the 1-X flight profile) that, in my opinion, further demonstrates how much the 1-X test FAILED and how WEAK the (real) Ares-1 could be!

As you can see in the compared images below, the Shuttle surface section is OVER FIVE TIMES HIGHER than the Ares 1-X surface section (or about 125 sq. mt the Shuttle vs. about 25 sq. mt the Ares 1-X) and, also, the (same than 1-X) Shuttle SRBs (the three SSMEs help is under 15%) must lift the very heavy Orbiter, payload, ET and 730 tons of LOX/LH2 propellants!!!

But, despite the Ares 1-X drag was FIVE TIMES LESS than the Space Shuttle, the 1-X wasn't, not even, able to reach the same altitude (45 km.) where the Shuttle SRBs are jettisoned!

With a FIVE TIMES SLIMMER than Shuttle shape (and NO Orbiter, ET and propellants to lift) we should have expected to see the 1-X "arrow" reaching an altitude 5, 10, 15 km. higher than the Shuttle SRBs, but, instead, despite its very low resistance to air the 1st stage burn out and separation altitude has been 10 KM. LOWER than it was supposed to be in a rocket that, thanks to less than 20% of the Shuttle's surface section to air, has a so big aerodynamic advantage!!!

And these bad data of a weak rocket will be much worse with the real Ares-1 in 2017 (or later) since the 5-segments SRB will add more mass than thrust to this wrong design!

[update] There are many that say (or say to me in reply to my comments on forums and blogs) and also a full Aviation Week article, that the Ares 1-X "has matched the model" and that is true, but, the WEAK results of the Ares 1-X test and the LOW vibrations of the SRB used as 1st stage, was not a NASA guilty or merit or decision, since it was only a function of the basic parameters of the test, mixed with the given upperstage mass and the laws of physics.

Given the basic specs of the SRB (thrust, Isp, burning time, GLOW, empty mass, thrust curve) used in the test (that can't be changed nor throttled nor undepowered) and the upperstage mass (pretty close to expected mass of the Ares-1 second stage, Orion, LAS, etc.) the 1-X test flight profile and results, was absolutely NOT able to be different than those predicted by computer simulations and anticipated in the Ares 1-X press kit!!!

And also the 1-X thrust oscillation has been "low as predicted" since that was already known from dozens SRB ground tests, 250+ SRB launched with the Shuttle and from the data gathered in a recent Shuttle mission (of Discovery IIRC) where its SRBs had several sensors to know more about the SRB's vibrations issue.

So, I don't understand why NASA (and the Ares-1 supporters) still defines the Ares 1-X test "a success" since it has given weak results (and failed) exactly as predicted...

[update] As you can read from this ghostNASA article I was a supporter of the 1-X test because it was very useful to FINALLY know if an SRB can be launched alone and what are its true performance, if used to build a rocket, and, the test's data has been VERY useful as expected, since, now we know that an SRB surely CAN be launched alone, but, that it can be used ONLY to design VERY WEAK rockets.

Now we know that an SRB is like an athlete who runs the 10,000 meters at the Olympics, but instead of running constantly throughout the race, runs the first 7000 meters at too high speed wasting most of his energies, so, in the last 3000 meters, hasn't any more strength in the muscles nor oxygen in the lungs to finish the race and win!

So, why spend other billion$ to develop the Ares-1 and insist to revive a cadaver ???

[update] After the Ares 1-X debacle and the expected stellar R&D costs and very long development time of the Ares-1, there are some rumors that talk about a possible return to the original Ares-1 design (published in the ESAS plan in 2005) with a standard SRB as 1st stage and a 2nd stage based on a (now unexisting) "air started SSME".

Well, despite in my The Ares-1 can't fly article I've supposed that, the old Ares-1 design was workable (mainly supposing good the NASA's data and calculations of the ESAS plan) now, after the expected but weak results Ares 1-X test, I do believe that not even the old designed Ares-1 can't fly, or, surely NOT with a 32+ tons Orion stack atop it.

That since, the much powerful SSME is also much heavier than an J-2X and, starting its job at the (over 20 km. lower than planned in the SRB-5 Ares-1) ) 35 km. 1st stage burn out altitude, it needs very much (and much heavier) propellants, so, the 2nd stage mass of an SSME-based Ares-1 can't be of only around 227 tons as in the 1-X test, but very much heavier.

But, with a much heavier 2nd stage, the SRB can't lift the upperstage mass to 35 km. of altitude, so, we must add more propellants in the 2nd stage, but, more propellants mass, means a much lower SRB burn out altitude, and so on...

In other words, the SRB5-based Ares-1 absolutely can't fly in no way due to the "more mass than thrust" issue while, a standard SRB + SSME based Ares-1 "probably" could fly, but, ONLY with very much smaller Orion and 2nd stage atop it.

[update] I've in mind to develop and publish some ideas about possible uses of the SRBs in manned and cargo rockets, all based on the weak results shown by the 1-X test, but, unfortunately, NASA hasn't released yet the full data of the test with the very important graphs regarding the burn time/thrust vs. acceleration and altitude curves.

 


                                  


 

b/w

Apart its stellar R&D costs and the giant 7+ years spaceflight GAP gift it'll give to NASA and USA, the Ares 1-X 30 Day Report released two days ago, CONFIRMS that this test has been a FAILURE and that, as a consequence, the Ares-1 can't fly.

But, unfortunately, as in the Hans Christian Andersen's tale "The Emperor's New Clothes" no one in the US Press has the courage to say (as I do) that "the Ares-1 is naked".

The 1-X test shows that a standard SRB can be launched alone with an cargo payload and probably also with a manned capsule atop it (despite, NOT so heavy like the current Orion design) and that its thrust oscillation is better than expected but the crucial figure of the 1-X test is at page 15 of the 30 Day Report where it states that the "Altitude at separation" has been "~128 kft" that's around 39 km.

Unfortunately, the report doesn't give us the 1-X altitude at 1st stage BURN OUT that's a very important data, since the 1-X flight profile is different from a Shuttle launch, in fact, in a Shuttle launch both SRB are jettisoned at 45 km. of altitude and they continue to fly due to inertia, while burn the residual propellant (so, the SRBs BURN OUT happens some seconds later) while, in the 1-X test, the separation is happened AFTER the FULL burn out of the two SRB (as shown also in the launch images) so, we must INCLUDE the extra-altitude reached thanks to the inertia of the SRB.

The given figure (39 km.) is surely better than the early (rumored) 35 km. reported in a blog's post linked in my article about the 1-X test, but, LESS good than expected, since the 1st stage hasn't not even reached the same altitude (45 km.) where, the Shuttles' SRBs are jettisoned, so, now I've some doubt about change or not the calculations in my Ares 1-X article, since it's UNCLEAR if the given 39 km. figure is the 1-X burn out AND stage separation altitude OR if the 39 km. data is ONLY the stage separation's altitude, while, the SRB burn out happened at 35 km. of altitude with an extra 4 km. of INERTIA.

Please note, that, we can't add the extra 4 km. of inertia in the count of the "useful altitude" because the rocket reaches 39 km. of altitude (from 35 km. of the SRB burn out) but, in the same time, its speed falls from mach 4.6 to ZERO, then, I'll wait more clear data from NASA about this very important point, before update the calculations in my Ares 1-X article.

The main concern regards the fact that the max altitude reached at 1st stage burn out (35 km.) and separation (39 km.) after 4 km. of inertia, in the 1-X test, is 10 KM. LESS the altitude where the Shuttle SRBs are jettisoned (45 km.) and OVER 20 KM. LESS the expected altitude of the (final) Ares-1 (5-segments) 1st stage separation (55-57 Km.) also, the solid propellant inside the new SRB5 will have a 12-points-star shape (instead of the 11-points-star shape of a standard SRB) so, it will burn for ONLY 116 SECONDS (instead of the 124 seconds of a standard SRB) reaching a LOWER altitude than (both) the Shuttle SRB and the Ares 1-X first stage (maybe around 33 km. only) instead of the (needed) 55-57 km. planned in the (final) Ares-1 flight profile!!!!!

And, if someone wants to say me that an SRB5 will have 7% more power, I say him that (as clearly evidenced by the above 1-X figure) the 1st stage of the Ares-1 needs nearly TWICE the power of a standard SRB to lift the given upperstage mass (2nd stage, Orion, Service Module, LAS, etc.) to the (55-57 Km.) burn out and separation altitude!!!

That, since, the thrust/mass ratio of the SRB5 is very good only in the early 80 seconds of the flight, while, after, it falls very quickly, leaving on the Ares-1 only its very heavy dry-mass.

In other words, also if we forget its $35 billion R&D costs, the SRB5 and the Ares-1 are a COMPLETE FAILURE because, as it's clear from the early 1-X test data, the real Ares-1 payload NEVER CAN REACH THE EARTH ORBIT.

And if you think that NASA don't burn money to develop engines that don't work and vehicles that don't fly... just see the aerospike engine and X-33 SSTO stories...

[update] While discussing via email about the Ares 1-X test with John Juristh (author of this The Space Review article) I've found another very strange thing in the 1-X flight (that Mr Juristh says should be due to an extra pitch in the 1-X flight profile) that, in my opinion, further demonstrates how much the 1-X test FAILED and how WEAK the (real) Ares-1 could be!

As you can see in the compared images below, the Shuttle surface section is OVER FIVE TIMES HIGHER than the Ares 1-X surface section (or about 125 sq. mt the Shuttle vs. about 25 sq. mt the Ares 1-X) and, also, the (same than 1-X) Shuttle SRBs (the three SSMEs help is under 15%) must lift the very heavy Orbiter, payload, ET and 730 tons of LOX/LH2 propellants!!!

But, despite the Ares 1-X drag was FIVE TIMES LESS than the Space Shuttle, the 1-X wasn't, not even, able to reach the same altitude (45 km.) where the Shuttle SRBs are jettisoned!

With a FIVE TIMES SLIMMER than Shuttle shape (and NO Orbiter, ET and propellants to lift) we should have expected to see the 1-X "arrow" reaching an altitude 5, 10, 15 km. higher than the Shuttle SRBs, but, instead, despite its very low resistance to air the 1st stage burn out and separation altitude has been 10 KM. LOWER than it was supposed to be in a rocket that, thanks to less than 20% of the Shuttle's surface section to air, has a so big aerodynamic advantage!!!

And these bad data of a weak rocket will be much worse with the real Ares-1 in 2017 (or later) since the 5-segments SRB will add more mass than thrust to this wrong design!

[update] There are many that say (or say to me in reply to my comments on forums and blogs) and also a full Aviation Week article, that the Ares 1-X "has matched the model" and that is true, but, the WEAK results of the Ares 1-X test and the LOW vibrations of the SRB used as 1st stage, was not a NASA guilty or merit or decision, since it was only a function of the basic parameters of the test, mixed with the given upperstage mass and the laws of physics.

Given the basic specs of the SRB (thrust, Isp, burning time, GLOW, empty mass, thrust curve) used in the test (that can't be changed nor throttled nor undepowered) and the upperstage mass (pretty close to expected mass of the Ares-1 second stage, Orion, LAS, etc.) the 1-X test flight profile and results, was absolutely NOT able to be different than those predicted by computer simulations and anticipated in the Ares 1-X press kit!!!

And also the 1-X thrust oscillation has been "low as predicted" since that was already known from dozens SRB ground tests, 250+ SRB launched with the Shuttle and from the data gathered in a recent Shuttle mission (of Discovery IIRC) where its SRBs had several sensors to know more about the SRB's vibrations issue.

So, I don't understand why NASA (and the Ares-1 supporters) still defines the Ares 1-X test "a success" since it has given weak results (and failed) exactly as predicted...

[update] As you can read from this ghostNASA article I was a supporter of the 1-X test because it was very useful to FINALLY know if an SRB can be launched alone and what are its true performance, if used to build a rocket, and, the test's data has been VERY useful as expected, since, now we know that an SRB surely CAN be launched alone, but, that it can be used ONLY to design VERY WEAK rockets.

Now we know that an SRB is like an athlete who runs the 10,000 meters at the Olympics, but instead of running constantly throughout the race, runs the first 7000 meters at too high speed wasting most of his energies, so, in the last 3000 meters, hasn't any more strength in the muscles nor oxygen in the lungs to finish the race and win!

So, why spend other billion$ to develop the Ares-1 and insist to revive a cadaver ???

[update] After the Ares 1-X debacle and the expected stellar R&D costs and very long development time of the Ares-1, there are some rumors that talk about a possible return to the original Ares-1 design (published in the ESAS plan in 2005) with a standard SRB as 1st stage and a 2nd stage based on a (now unexisting) "air started SSME".

Well, despite in my The Ares-1 can't fly article I've supposed that, the old Ares-1 design was workable (mainly supposing good the NASA's data and calculations of the ESAS plan) now, after the expected but weak results Ares 1-X test, I do believe that not even the old designed Ares-1 can't fly, or, surely NOT with a 32+ tons Orion stack atop it.

That since, the much powerful SSME is also much heavier than an J-2X and, starting its job at the (over 20 km. lower than planned in the SRB-5 Ares-1) ) 35 km. 1st stage burn out altitude, it needs very much (and much heavier) propellants, so, the 2nd stage mass of an SSME-based Ares-1 can't be of only around 227 tons as in the 1-X test, but very much heavier.

But, with a much heavier 2nd stage, the SRB can't lift the upperstage mass to 35 km. of altitude, so, we must add more propellants in the 2nd stage, but, more propellants mass, means a much lower SRB burn out altitude, and so on...

In other words, the SRB5-based Ares-1 absolutely can't fly in no way due to the "more mass than thrust" issue while, a standard SRB + SSME based Ares-1 "probably" could fly, but, ONLY with very much smaller Orion and 2nd stage atop it.

[update] I've in mind to develop and publish some ideas about possible uses of the SRBs in manned and cargo rockets, all based on the weak results shown by the 1-X test, but, unfortunately, NASA hasn't released yet the full data of the test with the very important graphs regarding the burn time/thrust vs. acceleration and altitude curves.

 


 

 


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