Ares V (Ares 5) is America's next generation launch vehicle. It will be used to
launch unmanned payloads to Earth orbit and using the Earth Departure stage send
spacecraft to the moon such as manned Lunar Surface Access Module and could be
used for Manned Mars Missions in the future. Crew will be launched to orbit
using the Ares I rocket.
The Ares V (Ares 5) launch vehicle will lift up heavy payloads, such as
equipment and hardware to Earth orbit or trans-lunar injection, a trajectory
designed to intersect with the moon. Such lift capabilities will enable NASA to
carry a variety of science and exploration payloads to space and, in time,
undertake crewed missions to Mars and beyond. The first crewed lunar excursion
is scheduled for launch in the 2020 timeframe.
Ares V is capable of
boosting a 45-ton lunar lander and a rocket stage to
ferry the lander and CEV to the Moon.
How the Ares V
launch of an Ares V, the reusable solid rocket boosters and core propulsion
stage power the vehicle into low-Earth orbit. After separation from the spent
core stage, the Earth Departure Stage J-2X engine takes over, placing the
vehicle in a circular orbit. The Orion Spacecraft carrying the astronauts is
delivered to space separately by the
rocket, then docks with the orbiting Earth Departure Stage and its lunar module
payload. Once mated, the Earth Departure Stage fires its engine to achieve
“escape velocity,” the speed necessary to break free of Earth’s gravity and the
lunar vessel begins its journey to the moon.
The Earth Departure Stage is jettisoned after it puts the mated crew and lunar
modules on course for their lunar destination. Once the four astronauts arrive
in lunar orbit, they transfer to the lunar module and descend to the moon’s
surface. The crew module remains in lunar orbit until the astronauts depart from
the moon in the lunar vessel, rendezvous with the crew module in orbit and
return to Earth.
Ares V maybe launched from the Kennedy Space Center.
The launch vehicle can carry about 287,000 pounds to low
Earth orbit and 143,000 pounds to the moon.
For its initial insertion into Earth orbit, the first stage relies on two
five-segment reusable solid rocket boosters. These are derived from the space
shuttle solid rocket boosters and are similar to the single booster that serves
as the first stage for the cargo vehicle’s sister craft, the Ares 1 crew launch
vehicle (uses 4 segments). This hardware commonality makes operations more cost
effective by using the same manufacturing facilities for both the crew and cargo
The twin reusable solid rocket boosters of the cargo lifter’s first stage flank
a single, liquid-fuelled central booster element, known as the core propulsion
stage. Derived from the space shuttle external tank, the central booster tank
delivers liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen fuel to five RS-68 rocket engines.
Together, these propulsion elements comprise the Ares V’s first stage. An RS-68
engine undergoes hot-fire testing at NASA's Stennis Space Center near Bay St.
Louis, Mississippi, during the engine’s developmental phase.
Atop the central booster element is an interstage cylinder, which includes
booster separation motors and a newly designed forward adapter that mates the
first stage with the second, or Earth Departure Stage.
Earth Departure Stage
The upper stage (Earth Departure Stage) being designed at Marshall, is propelled
by a J-2X main engine fuelled with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. The J-2X
is an evolved variation of two historic predecessors: the powerful J-2
upper-stage engine that propelled the Apollo-era Saturn 1B and Saturn V rockets
to the moon and the J-2S, a simplified version of the J-2 developed and
flight-tested in the early 1970s but never flown.
Anchored atop the departure stage is a composite shroud protecting the lunar
surface access module, which includes the descent stage that will carry
explorers to the moon’s surface and the ascent stage that will return them to
lunar orbit to rendezvous with the
Spacecraft (Crew Exploration Vehicle) for their return home.
Ares V Team and Partners
The Ares V effort and associated element project teams are led by the
Exploration Launch Projects Office at Marshall, which reports to the
Constellation Program Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Constellation is a key program of NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate
in Washington. ATK Thiokol of Brigham City, Utah, is the prime contractor of the
reusable solid rocket boosters. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is the prime
contractor for both the J-2X upper stage engine and the RS-68 main engine.
Ares V Rocket Name
Ares name is from the Greek god of war (Mars in Roman
Mythology), while the "V" pays homage to the Apollo program's
rockets. The V may also refer to the five main engines RS-68
(previously the design was going to use five SSMEs
(Space Shuttle Main Engines).
Ares V will probably use the massive crawler carriers from the
Space Shuttle to move
Ares rockets to and from their launch pad. The carriers were originally developed for the Apollo program to
transport Saturn 5 rockets, and were later modified to carry the
space shuttle launch stack.