A 123-second hot fire test Sept. 10 of the first full-scale motor built for NASA’s planned Ares I crew launch vehicle produced good data and set a baseline for future testing, but it is far from certain that those tests actually will be conducted as planned. The test at Alliant Techsystems’ static-fire facility in Promontory, Utah, produced 3.6 million pounds of thrust and generated data for 46 different objectives with 650 different sensors on the 154-foot-long, 12-foot-diameter motor, ...

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