NASA Uses iTunes to Share Development Progress of Ares Rocket

Video updates reporting progress made on NASA's newest family of exploration vehicles -- the Ares I crew launch vehicle and Ares V heavy cargo launch vehicle -- are now featured on iTunes.

The Ares Projects quarterly progress reports offer viewers a rare glimpse at the on-going development work of the next-generation launch vehicles that will take explorers to the moon and beyond in coming decades. Beginning in 2015, the Ares I rocket will launch the Orion crew capsule, carrying astronauts and payloads to the International Space Station.

iTunes is the place to get an up-close look at the Ares rockets and learn more about key engine, hardware and system milestones as the rockets proceed through the design, review and development processes that will take them -- and their future crews -- to launch.

The video progress reports, which have been produced quarterly beginning in August 2006, have been used to visually share progress with the NASA team at all levels and to record the historical work being completed on America's newest fleet of spacecraft for future generations. Now, in an effort to share the Ares development with a broader audience, NASA is posting the full library of reports on iTunes. The programs range in length from 5-15 minutes.

The 10 quarterly reports produced to date spotlight the detailed evolution of the Ares vehicles, from earliest conception through various design phases and the most recent testing. The latest report in the series -- Ares quarterly progress report number 10 -- includes video segments about:

- Wind tunnel testing of scale models of the Ares I test vehicle, known as Ares I-X, and the Ares V rocket. The testing aids engineers in designing aerodynamic vehicles.

- Disassembly and inspection of part of the J-2X engine -- known as the powerpack -- that will produce the thrust needed to power the Ares I rocket to orbit. The powerpack pushes liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into the engine's main combustion chamber. This test series helped address early design risks. Engineers are now evaluating hardware used as part of the recent testing.

- The first tests to weld together pieces of the rockets being developed. NASA recently tested a new robotic friction stir welding facility by fusing space shuttle fuel tank panels. Friction stir welding is an innovative technique invented in 1991 that uses forging pressure and frictional heating to produce high-strength bonds virtually free of defects.

- A test of a parachute for the Ares I rocket. The parachute will slow the rapid descent of the rocket's reusable first-stage motor as it falls back to Earth after detaching from the rocket during its climb to space. The parachute permits recovery of the motor for use on future Ares I flights.

The Ares Projects team at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the development of the Ares rockets. NASA's Johnson Space Mission Center in Houston manages the Constellation Program, which includes the Ares I and Ares V rockets, the Orion crew module and the Altair lunar lander.

To view the Ares quarterly progress reports on iTunes, visit:

To learn more about the Ares rockets and view the Ares quarterly progress reports on NASA's Ares web site, visit:

For more information about NASA's Constellation Program, visit:

For additional interactive features and podcasts about NASA, visit:

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