March 16, 2009

Ares test rocket en route to Florida

The final pieces of the Ares I-X flight test rocket have started a 2,917-mile journey from a manufacturing plant in Utah to Florida's Kennedy Space Center.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said the first stage motor segments are the last shipment of Ares I-X major hardware elements. The hardware will undergo final processing and testing before being stacked with the other portions of the rocket.

This shipment means great things for the Ares I-X mission, said Ares I-X Deputy Mission Manager Steve Davis. It's wonderful to see the next generation of American spaceflight continue to take shape. The excitement is really building now as we start stacking the pieces and preparing for launch later this year.

The Ares I-X will be the first flight test for the Ares I rocket; the space agency's next-generation spacecraft and crew launch vehicle system. The test flight also will bring NASA one step closer to its goals of returning to the moon and traveling to destinations beyond.

The Ares I-X launch is scheduled later this year.