Engineers Troubleshoot Moon Rocket


PROMONTORY, Utah (AP) — Engineers think bad control equipment wiring kept NASA's powerful new moon rocket from being test fired in a fixed horizontal position last week.

Alliant Techsystems Inc. has tentatively rescheduled the test firing for Sept. 10 at its Promontory test facility.

When operators called off the rocket's test firing with 20 seconds left on a countdown clock Thursday, they cited failure of a power unit that drives hydraulic tilt controls for the rocket's nozzle.

Detroit Chemical Fire

Launch Systems Engineers with ATK Launch Systems, prepare for a test firing of the five-segment first stage of the Ares-1 rocket, Aug. 27, 2009. A mechanical failure forced a NASA contractor on Thursday to call off the first test firing of the main part of NASA's powerful new moon rocket. (AP Photo/Colin Braley)

Troubleshooting has narrowed the problem to "suspect" circuitry in ground-control equipment. That controller failed to power up the hydraulics. A valve was supposed to open to send chemical fuel to the hydraulic power unit. It didn't happen.