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ASK OCE — January 12, 2007 — Vol. 2, Issue 1


Phil Sumrall has a history of doing the heavy lifting. After beginning his career as a junior engineer working on the Saturn V rocket that sent the Apollo astronauts to the moon, he now leads the development of Ares V, the heavy-lift launch vehicle that will serve the next generation of lunar explorers.

As manager of Advanced Planning in the Exploration Launch Projects Office at Marshall Space Flight Center, Sumrall cites the ongoing development work on Ares I crew launch vehicle as raising the level of excitement for Ares V. Ares I will be the launch vehicle that will transport the Orion crew module to space. Marshall’s Exploration Launch Projects Office is leading the design and development of both Ares vehicles.

Ares V is a vertically stacked launch system that will be capable of delivering 290,000 pounds of hardware and supplies to low-Earth orbit and 144,000 pounds to the moon.

Both use the J-2X engine and five-segment reusable solid rocker boosters. Development of Ares I will have a direct impact on the design of Ares V.

Sumrall knows that when it comes to heavy-lift rocket design, he will have some big shoes to fill. Beginning in 1962, he worked on Wernher von Braun’s team on the Saturn rocket line. He served as a flight dynamics specialist for design, development, and flight planning for Apollo’s Saturn I, Saturn IB, and Saturn V rockets.


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