Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ares DM-1 Motor Test

This was SO cool! That's the only way I can think to start this blog post. My brother Matthew works at ATK, in the pyrotechnics department. His project is the separation system (Matthew, you'll have to correct me if any of this is wrong) of the Ares rocket for NASA. Whatever Matthew officially does, they tested the Ares DM-1 motor today.

About 2 weeks ago they were going to test it, but the test got scrubbed at T-20 seconds. We were bummed, but that's why it was a test, not just a pyrotechnics display. So, we drove out again today, taking our picnic lunch with us again, and this time, got the show to go with our dinner.

My videos are pretty lame-o. I was shaking and not looking at the screen, and one of them I accidentally did half vertical, so it's really bad. But I did get good pictures. For more pictures, videos, and points-of-view, you can check out Matthew's Blog (private), Sara's Blog, or my parent's blog.
The white tube, almost dead-center in this picture, is the motor. It lies horizontally on the ground, and is usually covered by the building just to the left of it (with the American Flag on the side). When it comes time to test, rather than taking the motor out of the building, they move the building off of the motor. Crazy.

At T-19 seconds, (T stands for Test here, rather than Take-off) a cheer rose from the crowd. We were so happy that the test didn't have to be scrubbed again!
And, blast-off! It took a few seconds for the wave of sound to hit us, and though it wasn't extremely loud, it was powerful, and really shook you to the core.
The blast was so bright it was hard to look at without sunglasses, just shy of the brightness of the sun. The test firing lasted 2 minutes.

Finally, at the end, we were left with just a big cloud of smoke and dust that slowly dissipated. All said, it was totally worth the hour drive for this fun excursion. We had a great time with family, and got to be a part of this special event.

1 comment:

Granny D Fifield said...

No need to apologize for those pictures - they were great. I liked your describing how you felt.