The test was the second launch attempt in two days. On October 27th, the test was put off for the 28th due to unfavorable weather. The Tuesday morning wind exceeded the 20-knot limit for testing. The moisture in the clouds also caused concerns static build up would occur on the rocket and lead to communication issues.
The Ares I-X is built on cutting-edge technology evolved from decades of NASA spaceflight experience. The rocket utilizes an updated version of the Saturn V rocket employed in the 1960s to bring astronauts to the moon.
The Ares I-X rocket stands 327 feet tall (taller than the Statue of Liberty). 2.6 million pounds of thrust is produced in order to accelerate the rocket, and enables the rocket to reach a speed just below hypersonic speed. During the test, the Ares I-X reached an altitude of 150,000 feet after the separation of a four-segment solid rocket booster.
The test flight allowed NASA to preview the rockets hardware, facilities and ground operations, which was monitored through 700 sensors placed on the Ares I-X rocket. The sensors gathered information during the assembly and launch, during the separation of the rocket booster, and during re-entry. The larger flight test program of the Ares I-X will provide data for future launch vehicles.
"This is a huge step forward for NASA's exploration goals," said Doug Cooke, associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Ares I-X provides NASA with an enormous amount of data that will be used to improve the design and safety of the next generation of American spaceflight vehicles -- vehicles that could again take humans beyond low Earth orbit."
The Ares I-X rockets will be used in the Orion program. Orion will replace the Space Shuttle program by 2015. Orion will take crews of four to six astronauts to orbit Earth, as well as deliver resources and supplies to the International Space Station by 2014.
Orion is intended to take crewed missions to the moon by 2020. NASA also plans to conduct the first human trip to Mars via Orion.
For more information on Ares I-X and Orion, go to http://www.nasa.gov/aresIX
For more news on NASA go here.