A Visual History of NASA's Project Constellation
Hardware Page
STOP! Project Constellation was officially cancelled in October 2010. So what comes next? Click here to find out!

Welcome to the Project Constellation hardware page. I collect pictures from across the web and try to organize them to tell the exciting story of the birth of an entirely new manned spacecraft system.

Project Constellation was cancelled on Monday, February 1, 2010 by President Obama. Read NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden's statement for details.

Updated Jan 29, 2011
Back to the concept images.

Contents
• Orion Capsule
     • Unit #1 - Ground Test Article
• Orion Capsule Boilerplates
     • Boilerplate for the Pad Abort 1 Test
     • Boilerplate for Parachute Testing
     • Boilerplate for Water Testing
• Launch Abort System
     • Launch Abort System Rocket
     • Launch Abort System Heat Shield
• Landing and Re-Entry Systems
     • Heat Shield
     • Airbags
     • Scale Model Boyancy Testing
• Ares I-X Rocket
     • First Stage
     • Forward Skirt Extension
     • Upper Mass Simulator (2nd stage)
     • Capsule and Launch Abort Simulator
     • Stacking the Ares I-X
     • Ares I-X Launch 10/28/2009 New!
• Ares Subsystem Development
     • First Stage Parachute
     • Avionics Development
     • Thrust Vector Control System
     • Dynamic Test Stand
     • Wind Tunnel Testing
• Rocket Engines
     • J-2X
     • RS-68
• Operation Facilities
     • Operations & Checkout
• Launch Facilities
     • Launch Pad 39B
     • Crawler Transporter
     • Launch Control Room


Orion Capsule (back to contents)
Production of Orion Capsules at Nasa's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans has begun.
Unit #1 - Ground Test Article
NASA is officially calling its first Orion Capsule the "Ground Test Article", and has also designated it as a production pathfinder. A pathfinder is used to test (and adjust) the tooling at each stage of manufacture to work out any kinks. Once the pathfinder is completed, it will be used for structural testing and will not fly.

It seems like they have two work stations, and the big blue friction welding machine can roll on rails to either station. At one station, they are welding curved panels together. At the other they are welding the bottom ring to the bottom panels for the capsule. What they are building here is the inner capsule which is pressurized and is then covered with heat shielding and an outer skin. The friction stir welding was invented in 1991 and is a way to join big aluminum pieces without requiring heat treating after. The pieces they are joining seem to have a thin waffle pattern that was machined from a thicker plate or casting.
Calibrating the Friction Stir Welder.
July 31, 2009

Credit: Nasa Michoud Assy. Facility

Preparing to weld the aft dome ring.
July 31, 2009

Credit: Nasa Michoud Assy. Facility

Welding bottom panels to the aft dome ring.
July, 2009

Credit: Nasa Michoud Assy. Facility

This jig is used in the aft dome ring welding process
July 31, 2009

Credit: Nasa Michoud Assy. Facility

Fabrication of the service module composite test panel. This machine is putting down layers of carbon fiber string.
July 31, 2009

Credit: Nasa Michoud Assy. Facility

AMRO Fabrication in California prepares a shipment of machined panels to be sent to Michoud.
August 2009

Credit: Nasa Michoud Assy. Facility

A brand new hatch panel.
September 2009

Credit: Nasa Michoud Assy. Facility

First friction stir weld.
April 16, 2009

Credit: Nasa Michoud Assy. Facility

Welding panels together.
July 31, 2009

Credit: Nasa Michoud Assy. Facility

Welding panels together.
July 31, 2009

Credit: Nasa Michoud Assy. Facility

Another view of the panel welding process.
July 2009

Credit: Nasa Michoud Assy. Facility

The Thermal Protection System Backshield Layup Jig at Lockheed in Denver
August 2009

Credit: Lockheed Martin

Orion Capsule Boilerplates (back to contents)
A number of Orion capsule mockups are being constructed for testing purposes.
Boilerplate for the Pad Abort 1 Test
This boilerplate will be used in the Pad Abort I test (here is a CGI image sequence of the Pad Abort Test). From NASA...
"The pad abort test will simulate an emergency on the launch pad. Upon command from a nearby control center, a dummy Orion crew module -- which would sit on top of a rocket for an actual launch -- will be ejected directly from the launch pad by its rocket-propelled launch abort system to about one mile in altitude and nearly one mile downrange."
NASA is building this craft at Langley in Virginia, then it heads to Dryden (Edwards Air Force Base) in California for fit out of instruments and controls. Finally, it will arrive at White Sands Missile Range for the actual test.
A couple of C-clamps and a ruler!
Credit: Langley Research Center

Boilerplate Assembly
Credit: Langley Research Center

Shaping the sides of a cone.
Credit: Langley Research Center

Boilerplate Assembly
Credit: Langley Research Center

Boilerplate construction, September 2007
Credit: Langley Research Center

Boilerplate construction, September 2007
Credit: Langley Research Center

Boilerplate construction, December 2007
Credit: Langley Research Center

Boilerplate construction,
January 2008

Credit: Langley Research Center

Boilerplate construction,
January 2008

Credit: Langley Research Center

Boilerplate Assembly
Credit: Langley Research Center

Boilerplate Assembly
Credit: Langley Research Center

Boilerplate Assembly
Credit: Langley Research Center

Boilerplate Assembly
Credit: Langley Research Center

Prepared for loading on a C-5A
Credit: Langley Research Center

Boilerplate Assembly
Credit: Langley Research Center

Loading on a C-5A at Langley, Virgina, March 2008
Credit: Langley Research Center

Unloading at Dryden in California, March 2008
Credit: Dryden Flight Research Center

Boilerplate painting prep
March, 2008

Credit: Dryden Flight Research Center

Boilerplate painting
March, 2008

Credit: Dryden Flight Research Center

Boilerplate construction
April, 2008

Credit: Dryden Flight Research Center

Boilerplate construction
April, 2008

Credit: Dryden Flight Research Center

Boilerplate construction
April, 2008

Credit: Dryden Flight Research Center

Boilerplate construction
May, 2008

Credit: Dryden Flight Research Center

Boilerplate construction
May, 2008

Credit: Dryden Flight Research Center

Forward Bay Cover arrives at Dryden.
7/11/08

Credit: Dryden Flight Research Center

Capsule lifted to place on jacks for center-of-gravity tests
10/1/08

Credit: Dryden Flight Research Center

The PA-1 Boilerplate on jacks for center of gravity tests.
Oct 2008

Credit: Dryden Flight Research Center

The PA-1 Boilerplate undergoes electromagnetic tests.
11/5/08

Credit: Dryden Flight Research Center

Applying the NASA meatball.
5/6/09

Credit: Dryden Flight Research Center

And, of course, Old Glory.
5/6/09

Credit: Dryden Flight Research Center

Its time to move to White Sands Missile Range. This is where PA-1 will launch from.
8/28/09

Credit: Dryden Flight Research Center

White Sands personel practice stacking PA-1 with dummy components.
9/23/09

Credit: Dryden Flight Research Center

The PA-1 Boilerplate at White Sands. One of its accessories is the test equipment trailor.
9/24/09

Credit: Dryden Flight Research Center

Of all the boilerplates, PA-1 is the most sophisticated.
9/24/09

Credit: Dryden Flight Research Center

This interesting test rig is being used by Lockheed at their Denver facility to calculate the forces when the abort tower separates from the PA-1 capsule.
August, 2009

Credit: Lockheed Martin

Boilerplate for Parachute Testing
This Parachute Test Vehicle (PTV) boilerplate was constructed at the Johnson Space Center.
PTV under construction
5/29/08

Credit: Johnson Space Center

PTV under construction
5/29/08

Credit: Johnson Space Center

Attached to a sled, it slides out the back of the plane.
7/31/08

Credit: NASA

The sled tangled with the capsule, and the chutes didn't open properly.
7/31/08

Credit: NASA

The capsule impacted upside down, and way too fast.
7/31/08

Credit: NASA

Boilerplate for Water Testing
The Water Test Article is used to check Orion's stability and performance in the water. It looks like the airbags were too heavy and complicated so they were deleted, and Orion will only be able to land in water, which is probably the safest way to go anyway. It is interesting to note that NASA is considering using the USS Iwo Jima to recover Orion because it has giant doors that open at the water level (to let hovercraft in and out). The plan is to drive up to Orion and winch it into the Iwo Jima's recovery bay where they could extract the crew on a dry deck, rather than the inconvenient helicopter winch operation.
Displayed on the National Mall in Washington, DC
March 2009

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Water Test Article at Cape Canavaral Air Force Testing Station
April 2009

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

The Navy Seals put the inflatable circumferential ring around it to stabilize it after it lands. Also, so they can stand on it and look in the window.
April 2009

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

If an astronaut was in medical distress the Seals would have to open it up, get them out and provide assistance while the capsule rolls and bobs.
April 2009

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Getting out in the big waves. Its probably difficult and dangerous for the Seals to wrangle this thing in rolling seas.
April 2009

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

If it lands upside down, those three balloons will inflate and should tip it sideways enough to roll it upright.
April 2009

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Back on land with some of the contractors who worked on the project.
April 2009

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Launch Abort System (back to contents)
Unlike the Space Shuttle, astronauts onboard the Ares I rocket will have options should the rocket beneath them suffer a failure. The LAS rocket will be able to yank them to safety at a moment's notice.
Launch Abort System Rocket
The launch abort system for the Ares I rocket will yank the capsule off the top of the rocket in an emergency. It is a solid rocket motor, and here you can see it mounted upside down in a test stand for firing tests. There are actually two sets of four-nozzled engines. The abort motor is powerful, and yanks the capsule off the rocket. The jettison motor is less powerful, and is for ejecting the unused launch abort system tower during a normal flight when it is no longer needed.

Launch Abort Rocket

Tower Eject Rocket
The test stand for the abort motor covered by its roll-away shed.
June 9, 2008

Credit: ATK Launch Systems

The test stand with its roll-away shed retracted.
June 9, 2008

Credit: ATK Launch Systems

Test of the LAS abort motor. ATK facility in the Utah desert.
November 20, 2008

Credit: ATK Launch Systems

Test of the LAS jettison motor in Sacramento, CA.
July 17, 2008

Credit: Aerojet

Launch Abort System Heat Shield
The Launch Abort System is a rocket mounted to a cover that also serves as the launch heat shield for the capsule. Under normal conditions, the LAS is ejected after the first stage falls away. Recently, the conical shape of this shield was changed to a spherical form. This is different than Apollo...
Comparison of the old and new designs.
Credit: NASA

Construction of the actual cone for the Pad Abort I test.
Credit: NASA

Wind tunnel test of the Launch Abort Rocket and Orion Capsule shroud
Credit: Langley Research Center

Landing and Re-Entry Systems (back to contents)
The Orion concept involves using airbags for landing on hard surfaces, as well as the ability to land in water. The airbag option may be deleted from the final design and a water-only landing system installed.
Heat Shield
The Orion heat shield will be the largest ever fabricated in one piece. It will not be reusable. The plan for Orion is to resuse the inner pressure vessel while the exterior shell (and heatshield) will be discarded after every mission.
Boeing heat shield prototype.
November, 2007

Credit: Boeing

Heat shield mold fabricated at Lockheed in Denver.
September, 2009

Credit: Lockheed Martin

Airbags
Airbags are a new technology which allow Orion to make solid ground landings, as opposed to the expensive to conduct water landings of Apollo. Development starts with one bag, and proceeds to full system drop tests in a giant swing gantry at Langley.
A single airbag is slammed into the ground at 20-30 feet per second. Mid 2007.
Credit: Langley Research Center

Multiple airbags are attached to a test fixture for drop tests. Mid 2007.
Credit: Langley Research Center

Multiple airbags are attached to a test fixture for drop tests. Mid 2007.
Credit: Langley Research Center

The Dover ILC airbag drop test fixture in February, 2008
Credit: Langley Research Center

The Dover ILC airbag drop test fixture in the swing gantry at Langley in June, 2008
Credit: Langley Research Center

What if the capsule hits at an angle?
Credit: NASA

Dropped 25 ft. at a 10 degree angle.
Credit: Langley Research Center

Scale Model Boyancy Testing
Although designed to land on land, it would be nice if it floated too, just in case.
Testing Orion boyancy with a scale model.
8/27/2008

Credit: NASA

Ares I-X Rocket (back to contents)
The Ares I-X is a first stage test version of the Ares I rocket. The first stage will have only 4 of the 5 segments loaded with solid rocket fuel, with the fifth acting as a dummy. The second stage and CEV will also be boilerplates. The flight of the Ares I-X will test the performance and control of the first stage, and demonstrate separation and recovery of the first stage. The second stage and CEV dummy's will then continue on in a ballistic trajectory to crash, uncontrolled, into the ocean.

Schematic, flight plan and CGI images are available on my Image Archive Page.

First Stage
Construction of the first stage.

Propellent Casting at ATK in Utah
Machining the mandrel which the fuel will be cast around to leave the open space for combustion.
February 26, 2008

Credit: ATK Launch Systems

Inert fuel has been cast in segment #5 of the first stage.
December 12, 2008

Credit: ATK Launch Systems

First Stage Arrives at KSC
The first stage arrives at KSC.
7/8/09


These are refurbished shuttle SRB sections.
7/8/09


Four sections are loaded with fuel, the fifth is inert.
7/8/09


Preparing to enter the Vehicle Assy. Building.
7/8/09


Forward Skirt Extension
This piece connects the second stage to the first stage. It is mounted to the bottom of the second stage, and connects to the forward skirt (on the top of the first stage). Separation occurs by firing a linear shape charge explosive.
The Forward Skirt Extension being machined.
9/28/2008

Credit: NASA

Full-scale separation test of the forward skirt extension for the Ares I-X flight test at its facility in Promontory, Utah.
1/30/2009

Credit: NASA

Upper Mass Simulator (2nd stage)
For the Ares I-X, everything above the first stage is just an inert boilerplate along for the ride, or what NASA calls an Upper Mass Simulator. By simulating the weight distribution of the real upper stage, the first stage can be fully tested as to its ability to control the long, top-heavy rocket's direction, and also gauge the amount of vibration. It is constructed out of 1/2" bridge steel with steel pancake weights that can be added as required. Here is a solid model drawing of the completed unit.
Upper Mass Simulator fabrication at Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio
Fabricating the Super Assembly Stand and Four US4 segments.
Credit: Glenn Research Center

Fabricating the Super Assembly Stand and Four US4 segments.
Credit: Glenn Research Center

Fabricating the Super Assembly Stand and Four US4 segments.
Credit: Glenn Research Center

Fabricating the Super Assembly Stand and Four US4 segments.
Credit: Glenn Research Center

Fabricating the Super Assembly Stand and Four US4 segments.
Credit: Glenn Research Center

Super Assembly Stand for the Upper Mass Simulator arrives at Glenn
Credit: Glenn Research Center

Stacking the first US segment on the Super Assembly Stand.
Credit: Glenn Research Center

Looking inside the Upper Mass Simulator
Credit: Glenn Research Center

Access hole in the Super Assembly Stand
Credit: Glenn Research Center

Ares I-X US4 Assembly
Credit: Glenn Research Center

Ares I-X US4 Assembly
Credit: Glenn Research Center

Ares I-X Pathfinder (PF-1) segment arrives for stacking
Credit: Glenn Research Center

Ares I-X Pathfinder (PF-2) segment arrives for stacking
Credit: Glenn Research Center

The PF-1 & PF-2 segments.
Credit: Glenn Research Center

Second stage assembly at KSC
The second stage simulator was built at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, and then shipped to Kennedy for assembly.
Mass plates that fit into the segments to adjust the mass and center of gravity of the final assembly.
Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Upper Stage Mass Simulator sections arrive at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida
11/4/2008

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Unwrapping a section
11/11/2008

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Sections arrayed on assembly floor
11/20/2008

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Sections arrayed on assembly floor
11/20/2008

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

NASA "meatball" on a section.
11/21/2008

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Upper Stage Mass Simulator stacking, section 7 lowered onto section 6.
12/8/2008

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Capsule and Launch Abort Simulator
Built at Langley, this will be the top of the Ares I-X rocket. The entire assembly is a non-functioning "boilerplate" that replicates the aerodynamic shape of the real capsule and abort rocket perfectly, so that aerodynamic, heating and angle of attack measurements can be made.
Orion crew capsule boilerplate.
Credit: Langley Research Center

Launch Abort System boilerplate
Credit: Langley Research Center

Launch Abort System boilerplate
Credit: Langley Research Center

Stacking at Langley
Credit: Langley Research Center

Wiring for instrumentation
Credit: Langley Research Center

Stacking at Langley
Credit: Langley Research Center

Stacking at Langley
Credit: Langley Research Center

Ready to ship to Kennedy
Credit: Langley Research Center

Stacking the Ares I-X
In June, 2009, stacking of the Ares I-X rocket began in the Vehicle Assembly Building, bay #3. Rollout occured on October 20th, 2009. I chose the pictures that best illustrate the stacking process.
Step One: Set all the parts out and read the instructions.
2009-06-18

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

The aft skirt is mated to the aft section. The aft section is a four segment solid rocket motor from the space shuttle.
2009-06-12

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

The aft booster with skirt is placed onto the mobile launch platform in high bay #3.
2009-07-08

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

The center booster segment is now added to the stack.
2009-07-10

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

The forward center segment is added.
2009-07-16

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Super stack #1 is read for lifting.
2009-07-30

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Super stack #1 is put in place.
2009-07-30

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Super stack #2 is put in place.
2009-08-04

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Super stack #3 is put in place.
2008-08-12

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Super stack #4 is put in place.
2009-08-12

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

A "birdcage" is used to help lift super stack #5.
2009-08-13

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Super stack #5 is put in place.
2009-08-13

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

The Ares I-X is stacked.
2009-08-13

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Time to retract the platforms.
2009-10-20

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Heading out the door of the Vehicle Assembly Building.
2009-10-20

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

On the way to the launch pad.
2009-10-20

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

The Ares I-X is on the launch pad.
2009-10-20

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Ready to go! Early morning, October 28, 2009.
Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Ares I-X Launch 10/28/2009
The Ares I-X test rocket was launched on October 28, 2009. The first stage solid rocket motor had four segments filled with fuel and a fifth filled with a dummy load. Everything from the first stage up was a boilerplate with weights in it to simulate a fully loaded Ares I rocket. Get all the details in this Wikipedia Article. History buffs should note that the last launch of an American rocket designed only to carry a capsule into space was Skylab IV (Saturn 1B Rocket, which was 224 feet tall and weighed 1.3 million pounds) on November 16, 1973. The Ares I-X is 100 feet taller than the Saturn IB, and 500,000 pounds heavier. This launch was Tour de Force of non-linear dynamic control - imagine putting a bowling ball on top of a broomstick and then balancing it upright in the palm of your hand.
History is made! Weighs 1.8 million pounds, generates 2.2 million pounds of thrust, is 324 feet tall, cost 445 million bucks
Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Yaw maneuver provides horizontal velocity away from the launch tower.
Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Ares I-X Launch Sequence
Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Ares I-X Launch Sequence
Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Ares I-X Launch Sequence
Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Ares I-X Launch Sequence
Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Condensation makes the supersonic shockwave visible. Cool.
Credit: Kennedy Space Center

The Solid Rocket Booster first stage is recovered shuttle-style.
Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Constellation Program Manager Jeff Hanley addresses a post-launch news conference at 11:30 a.m. EDT Oct. 28. From left: Doug Cooke, associate administrator for NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate; Hanley; Bob Ess, mission manager for the Ares I-X flight test; and Edward Mango, launch director for the Ares I-X flight test.
Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Ares Subsystem Development (back to contents)
Some of the Ares I-X subsystem development.
First Stage Parachute
This a photo of a drop test for the Ares I first stage parachute. The parachute weighs 2,000 lbs and is 150 feet in diameter. It was dropped from 17,500 feet from a C-5A cargo plane, with a 40,600 lb suspended load! This test, on September 5, 2007, was a success. A test in February, 2007 failed however, and the 20 ton load fell all the way to the ground, requiring an execavator to remove 30 feet of dirt to get it out.
Single Parachute Tests
First they tested the drogue, which pulls out the main chute with a 12 ton load. Apparently the drogue was redesigned between the September, 2007 and July, 2008 tests.
Ares I first stage parachute drop test.
September 25, 2007

Credit: Glenn Research Center

The Jumbo Drop Test Vehicle, which weighs 24,000 lbs
July 24, 2008

Credit: Glenn Research Center

First test of redesigned drogue parachute at the Yuma Proving Ground
July 24, 2008

Credit: Glenn Research Center

First test of redesigned drogue parachute at the Yuma Proving Ground
July 24, 2008

Credit: Glenn Research Center

That 12 ton probe must have suffered some nose damage when it landed?
July 24, 2008

Credit: Glenn Research Center

Triple Parachute Tests
All three parachutes are required to safely return the Orion capsule, or in the case of the Ares I-X test, the first stage solid motor. This testing occured with a 21 ton load.
The cylinder is divided into 3 pie shaped sections, each of which is stuffed with a chute.
Credit: NASA

This is a full up test of the entire parachute system under load.
5/19/09

Credit: NASA

The loadmaster has an important job. This load MUST cleanly exit the aircraft.
5/19/09

Credit: NASA

The three chutes are packed in the top cylinder along with the drogue.
5/19/09

Credit: NASA

Ready for tomorrow morning's test.
5/19/09

Credit: NASA

Off they go with the 42,000 lb parachute test sled.
5/20/09

Credit: NASA

All three chutes open!
5/20/09

Credit: NASA

17 seconds later ... that must be the drogue off to the right.
5/20/09

Credit: NASA

Avionics Development
The flight control system for the Orion spacecraft is built by Honeywell and will be an advanced version of the Boeing 787 flight computer.
Developing the flight control system for the Pad Abort I test.
2008.

Credit: Lockheed Martin

Thrust Vector Control System
This is a cool photo of the Thrust Vector Control System test rig. These are hydraulic cylinders that orient the rocket nozzle on the second stage.
Ares I-X Steering Mechanism Test on the Thrust Vector Control Rig
Credit: NASA

Dynamic Test Stand
The Saturn V Dynamic Test Stand, located at the Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, is being refitted to test the Ares I rocket. This structure is a national historic landmark. From Marshall's Web Site:
"The Saturn V Dynamic Test Stand was used in 1966-67 for ground vibration testing of the Saturn V launch vehicle and the Apollo spacecraft. Completion of this program was the final step prior to the launch of Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing mission. In 1972-73 the stand was used for tests involving the Skylab Space Station; and in 1978-79 for ground vibration testing of the complete Space Shuttle vehicle."
The purpose of this test stand is to take a fully assembled vehicle, fill its fuel tanks with water to simulate the fuel mass, then shake, torque and twist the hell out of it to see if it breaks. More specifically, you can vibrate it to see if it has any natural frequencies which might threaten to tear it apart. You can also simulate staging under load. The engines are not fired in this particular stand.
Test stand with Saturn Rocket
Credit: NASA

Test stand with shuttle
Credit: NASA

Test stand today.
Credit: NASA

Wind Tunnel Testing
NASA as the ability to put models in supersonic wind tunnels. The flow lines around the Ares I-X model in the wind tunnel can sometimes be seen as condensation clouds forming around the actual rockets when they are launched.
A 3.5% scale model of the Ares I-X
July, 2008

Credit: NASA

Supersonic shockwaves form around the Ares I-X model.
Credit: NASA

Supersonic shockwaves form around the Ares V model.
10/8/08

Credit: NASA

Rocket Engines (back to contents)
Initially, NASA was going to use Space Shuttle Main Engines to power Ares rockets, but it was decided that there were less expensive alternatives, especially since the Ares rockets return to the days of discarding the engines after every launch, rather than reusing them like on the Space Shuttle.
J-2X
The J-2 rocket engine burns liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, and was installed on the second stage of the Saturn V moon rocket (in a cluster of 5), and as the sole engine on the third stage, where it was restartable in space.The J-2X is a modern redesign for the second stage of the Ares I rocket. I have design images of the J2-X on my CGI image page. You can also check out wikipedia for details.

In August, 2007, a 1.2 billion dollar contract was let to Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne to develop and test the J2X.
Nice photo from 1965 of a J-2 engine powerhead.
Credit: NASA

Vintage 1960 J-2 thrust chamber being fitted with the J-2X powerpack.
Credit: NASA

Flexible 8" scissors duct to connect fuel supply to powerpack.
Credit: NASA

Powerpack Test Article at Stennis Space Center
9/20/07

Credit: NASA

Powerpack Test Article at
Stennis Space Center

Credit: NASA

A1 Test Stand
Testing of the new J-2X engine will take place in the A1 test stand at NASA's Stennis Space Center.
The last firing of a Space Shuttle Main Engine in the A1 test stand at Stennis.
circa 2006.

Credit: Stennis Space Center

First hot fire test of the J-2X powerpack in the A-1 test stand
1/31/08

Credit: Stennis Space Center

Final hot fire test of the J2X powerpack.
5/9/08

Credit: Stennis Space Center

A3 Test Stand
The A3 Test Stand has a large, high pressure steam generator to test scale models of the J-2X's diffuser.
The A-3 test stand blasts 500°F steam through subscale models of the J-2X's nozzle.
Credit: NASA

J-2X subscale nozzle test rig
8/24/2008

Credit: NASA

RS-68
The RS-68 is a liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen engine with a thrust level about 3 times that of the J-2X. It is planned to use five of these engines to power the first stage of the Ares V rocket. This venerable engine has been in service lofting Delta IV rockets since 2002. My CGI image page has design images of the RS-68, and you can also check out wikipedia.
RS-68 in test stand
Credit: Boeing

RS-68 in test stand, July 2000
Credit: Boeing

RS-68 in test stand
Credit: Boeing

RS-68 in test stand
Credit: Boeing

RS-68 in test stand
Credit: Boeing

RS-68 in test stand
Credit: Boeing

RS-68 in test stand
Credit: Boeing

Operation Facilities (back to contents)
This section deals with Project Constellation construction facilities.
Operations & Checkout
Located in eastern New Orleans, the Michoud assembly facility is where Lockheed Martin will build and test Orion capsules.
Operations & Checkout Facility
January, 2009

Credit: Lockheed Martin

Operations & Checkout Facility
January, 2009

Credit: Lockheed Martin

Operations & Checkout Facility
January, 2009

Credit: Lockheed Martin

Operations & Checkout Facility
January, 2009

Credit: Lockheed Martin

Launch Facilities (back to contents)
Launch Pad 39B
Pad 39B will be the site of the first Ares vehicle launch, including Ares I-X test flight that is targeted for July 2009.
Scale Model
Modeling the Ares I and its launch structures to check for wind stability.
Credit: Langley Research Center

Construction
This being Florida, the first thing you build are the lightning towers.
10/24/2008

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Erecting the lightning towers
11/25/2008

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Testing the construction crane with a big load of weights
12/22/2008

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

The lightning towers are reaching completion.
2009

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Wires strung between the towers intercept lightning bolts and dissipate ground charges.
2009

Credit: Kennedy Space Center

Crawler Transporter
One of the two crawler platforms was transferred from the Shuttle program to Constellation in a ceremony.
3/25/09


Launch Control Room
Also known as Firing Room #1
Removing the old equipment.
Apr-2008


Installing the new control room for the Ares I-X launch.
May-2008





The purpose of this web site is to archive images of Project Constellation as they appear on the web. Often these images may be displayed for only a few months. I collect them, then update this page every 3-6 months. I hope you enjoy it!