Friday, July 31, 2009

Ares V

The Ares V is the cargo launching vehicle of the Constellation Program. It will replace the Space Shuttle when it is permanently phased out in 2010. At the beginning, the Ares V will launch the Earth Departure Stage and Altair lunar lander when NASA returns to the Moon, which is currently planned for 2019, but will also serve as the principle launcher for missions beyond the Earth-Moon system, including the program's ultimate goal, a manned mission to Mars after 2030. The unmanned Ares V will compliment the smaller, and man-rated Ares I rocket for the launching of the 3-4 person Orion spacecraft. Both rockets, deemed safer than the current Space Shuttle, will utilizing technologies developed for Project Apollo, the Shuttle, and the Delta IV EELV program.

The Ares V will be able to carry about 188 tonnes to Low Earth orbit, and 71 tonnes to the Moon. Upon completion the Ares V will be the most powerful rocket ever built, lifting more into orbit than even the American Saturn V, the failed Soviet N-1 for the cancelled Soviet Moonshot, and the successful Soviet/Russian Energia booster developed for the Buran Shuttle. The Ares V and the smaller Ares I are named after Ares, the Greek god of war, which is the equivalent to the Roman god Mars.