NASA Readies New Rocket for Test Flight

It's the first new US rocket in 30 years
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2009 2:13 PM CDT
The 327-foot-tall Ares I-X test rocket moves slowly to launch pad 39B from the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009.   (AP Photo/John Raoux)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – NASA rolled out a seaside launch pad in Florida today, preparing to test its first new rocket designed for manned space travel in almost 30 years. The Ares I-X is a prototype of the Ares I, which NASA hopes will power the new spacecraft that will replace the shuttle. It blasts off a week from today, reports. The $445 million rocket will be the tallest in-service booster in the world.

The Ares I-X will be unmanned, and many of its components—including the Orion spacecraft that will eventually hold a crew—are mere mock-ups designed for simulation purposes. “The Ares I-X is going to fly straight up and straight out,” said one NASA commentator. The rollout, which NASA broadcast live on NASA TV, comes just ahead of a White House review of manned space operations.