NASA puts new rocket on launch pad for test flight

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

October 20, 2009

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- NASA's new rocket is on the launching pad.

The experimental Ares rocket traveled from the hangar to the pad Tuesday morning. The four-mile trip took all night.

It's the first time in 34 years that a rocket other than the solid rocket boosters used with the space shuttle has stood at Launch Pad 39-B. NASA modified the pad for this rocket.

The rocket is supposed to eventually carry astronauts to the moon, but the White House may scrap those plans.

The test rocket will blast off next Tuesday on a two-and-a-half minute flight to demonstrate how the partial first stage performs. The rocket is thin and exceptionally tall at 327 feet and looks like what will carry astronauts into orbit, possibly by 2015. But much of it is a mock-up, and no one or payload will be on board.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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