NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has decided it wants a damper arm for its Ares rockets’ mobile launch platform
The Ares I crew launch vehicle, being so long and thin, has been expected to need such a device because of a potential susceptibility to wind. But will NASA want it for Ares I-X?
Such arms were used during the Apollo programme to counter the motion of the Saturn rocket stack during rollout and to stabilise it during strong winds on the pad but it was disconnected and retracted prior to launch
NASA wants information about potential technologies whether they are viscous liquid or some other system. Part of a launch tower accessory system NASA wants to be able to remotely alter the damper arm’s mode between damped, un-damped and locked/rigid
With a 3 February deadline for responses to the request for information, any following request for proposals and procurement will see the contractor having nine months to deliver multiple damper units to be used as test articles and potentially “operationally ground based equipment” – I wonder why they would want that?
At the moment such a likely damper arm delivery date of late in the fourth quarter this year is too late for current, official, Ares I-X launch schedules but you never know…