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More design flaws found in Ares I rocket

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Cape Canaveral, Fla. (UPI) Oct 26, 2008
More problems have been found with the design of the next-generation manned U.S. spacecraft launch rocket, leading some to wonder if it will ever be built.

Computer models show the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's 309-foot-tall Ares I rocket could be affected by "liftoff drift," in which its motor could cause it to jump sideways at ignition, The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported Sunday. One NASA contractor told the newspaper the latest problem is shaking confidence in whether Ares' flaws will become too expensive to fix.

"I get the impression that things are quickly going from bad to worse to unrecoverable," the unnamed contractor said.

Earlier problems included a discovery that Ares I lacked enough power to lift astronauts into orbit and that it might vibrate like a giant tuning fork, shaking its crew to death, the newspaper said. The stakes are high for the Kennedy Space Center, which faces significant downsizing after space shuttle missions are discontinued in 2010.

NASA officials told the Sentinel they can address the liftoff drift problem by redesigning the launchpad, but engineers say that would require tens of millions of dollars in unanticipated costs.

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Successful First Test For Vega's Zefiro 9-A Solid-Fuel Rocket Motor
Paris, France (ESA) Oct 27, 2008
Yesterday, the Zefiro 9-A motor successfully completed its first firing test at the Salto di Quirra Inter-force Test Range in Sardinia (Italy). This was the penultimate firing test for the engine prior to the Vega launcher's qualification flight, scheduled to take place by the end of 2009.

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