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NASA to use shock-absorbers to fix shaking in new Ares rocket

The vibrations do not pose a threat to the crew members' health but could make it difficult for them to read flight instruments or flick switches, said Garry Lyles, associate director for technical management at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Aug 20, 2008
NASA say they will use shock-absorbers similar to those used in cars to fix a problem with heavy vibrations in the new Ares rocket, to give stronauts inside the Orion crew capsule a smoother ride.

US space agency engineers have recommended a system employing spring-mounted weights and shock-absorbing tubes between the first and second stage of the rocket to rectify excessive vibrations.

The Ares solid rocket booster is designed to launch the manned Orion capsule -- the planned successor to the space shuttle -- to the moon and eventually Mars.

"It's a lot like the shock absorbers on your car," said Ares project manager Steve Cook, describing the mechanism in a telephone news conference.

"It isolates the vibrations just traveling through the structure all the way up to the seats of the astronauts," and reduces the G-force (gravitational pull) they experience to one fourth that of the Earth.

Without such devices in place, astronauts would be subjected to forces five or six times the force of gravity on Earth -- or twice the shaking felt by crew members of the space shuttle, according to NASA estimates.

The vibrations do not pose a threat to the crew members' health but could make it difficult for them to read flight instruments or flick switches, said Garry Lyles, associate director for technical management at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

The Orion's first manned mission, with the help the Ares 1 rocket, is planned by March 2014 at the latest.

Although the vibration problem presented a headache until it was fixed, engineers were optimistic plans for the Ares 1 rocket remained on schedule.

"There's nothing on our risk list that is what I would call a showstopper or a major issue that we can't deal with" in the program, Cook said.

The Orion capsule has been named after one of the most recognizable constellations in the sky, and the Ares launch vehicle takes its name from the Greek god associated with the Roman warrior god Mars.

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NASA And ATK To Launch Suborbital Hypersonic Experiments
Wallops Island VA (SPX) Aug 20, 2008
Two NASA hypersonic experiment payloads are scheduled for launch no earlier than Aug. 21 from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia atop a two-stage suborbital rocket developed by Alliant Techsystems, also known as ATK, of Salt Lake City.







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