Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Just six weeks after the test firing of the first stage of the Ares I, it looks like preparations for the first text flight of the Ares I-X are going well and the flight is scheduled to take place on the 27th of October. Wikipedia has quite the detailed page on the rocket so go there for an overview of the Ares I-X. As the first test flight for a vehicle resembling the one that will end up replacing the Space Shuttle this is naturally a very important flight. This is, after all, the first step in the creation of a rocket that will be able to take manned missions to areas like near-Earth asteroids and the Moon.
Commenters on the space.com article are mostly quite excited, and for good reason: this is the first new vehicle developed by NASA for quite some time, and given the lack of publicity (or interest) on this project so far the news may end up surprising quite a few people when they realize that the Shuttle era really is nearing its end and that another vehicle is on its way.
The latest news on the Ares I-X can also be seen on Twitter here.
Edit: just noticed that YouTube has a time-lapse video of the rocket being constructed. Enjoy.