“The Stick” made it out to launchpad 39B without falling over. I have to admit, NASA’s new rocket looked tall, super-skinny and pointy (as Dr. Brian Cox described it), as it rolled out on the crawler transporter. Somehow, it seems the Ares I-X should be wider. It’s definitely tall — at 100 meters (327 feet,) it is 43 meters (143 feet) taller than the space shuttle. But appearances aside, this is an historic occasion. For the first time in more than a quarter century, a new vehicle is sitting out at the launchpad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
More pictures below:
The Ares I-X flight test vehicle arrived at the pad at approximately 7:45 a.m. EDT Tuesday. The crawler-transporter left Kennedy’s Vehicle Assembly Building at 1:39 a.m., traveling less than 1 mph during the 4.2-mile journey. The rocket was secured “hard down” on the launch pad at 9:17 a.m.
The test flight of the Ares I-X rocket is scheduled to launch at 8 a.m. on Oct. 27. This test flight will provide NASA an opportunity to test and prove hardware, models, facilities and ground operations associated with the Ares I launch vehicle. Mission managers will finalize the launch date at a flight readiness review on October 23.
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And in case you aren’t familiar with what the Ares I-X is for, the test flight will check out this un-crewed, modified Ares I configuration with a sub-orbital development test that will launch the rocket 43 km (28 miles) in altitude. This is the first developmental flight test of the Constellation Program, which includes the Ares I and V rockets, Orion and the Altair lunar lander.
Unless it all gets axed. The Augustine Report comes out on October 22.