NASA puts space shuttle replacement rocket Ares 1-X on launch pad for test flight

October 20, 2009

(ChattahBox) — NASA rolled out its new next-generation spacecraft Ares 1-X to launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center overnight in anticipation of the rocket’s first test launch next week. NASA’s current plans call for launching the Ares 1-X Oct. 27, on a brief suborbital flight. The Ares a towering, thin rocket will have no payload and will be unmanned for this test flight. Much of the rocket consists of mock-up hardware. NASA wants to see how well the partial first stage performs.

The Ares 1-X is the experimental version of a rocket that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration plans to use as the space shuttle’s replacement. The shuttle program is down to its final six flights before the three remaining orbiters become museum exhibits. Many engineers supporting the Ares project also are needed for shuttle processing, so work to ready Atlantis for launch on the next space station assembly and resupply mission will be delayed a bit. NASA had been targeting Nov. 12 for launch, but managers agreed Monday on Nov. 16 as a more realistic “no-earlier-than” launch date.


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