NASA last week announced it would pump up the volume on its latest space exploration technology by dumping a pile of free podcasts on Apple's immensely popular iTunes site.
The space agency will focus its iTunes videos on its Ares family of space launch and cargo vehicles and will offer quarterly progress reports about on-going development work. Ares systems will be used to take astronauts to the moon and via the Orion capsule, to the International Space Station.
iTunes users will be able to get a close look at the Ares rockets and learn more about key engine, hardware and system milestones as the rockets proceed through the design, review and development processes that will take them -- and their future crews -- to launch, NASA said.
NASA is also posting all videos about the program it has been producing since August 2006. The programs range in length from 5-15 minutes.
Some of the videos that NASA said will be available include:
- Wind tunnel testing of scale models of the Ares I test vehicle, known as Ares I-X, and the Ares V rocket. The testing aids engineers in designing aerodynamic vehicles.
- Disassembly and inspection of part of the J-2X engine -- known as the powerpack -- that will produce the thrust needed to power the Ares I rocket to orbit.
- The first tests to weld together pieces of the rockets being developed. NASA recently tested a new robotic friction stir welding facility by fusing space shuttle fuel tank panels.