NASA readies Ares rocket for test flight

By Stephen Gallien - email

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL (WAFF) - The director of the Marshall Space Flight Center is closely watching the next generation of spacecraft as it is being prepared for a test flight.

The experimental Ares now stands on a launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

It took NASA all night to move the 327-foot tall Ares rocket on a four-mile trip from the hangar to Launch Pad 39-B, which is a specially modified pad for this rocket.

It's the first time in 34 years that a rocket other than the space shuttle has stood on the pad.

The test rocket will blast off next Tuesday on a two-and-a-half minute flight to demonstrate how the partial first stage performs.

"Now we'll get to actually test it to see if the tools and techniques actually match up, then test the models accordingly," said Marshall Space Flight Center Director Robert Lightfoot.

There will be no one or payload on board the test flight.

The Ares rocket is supposed to eventually carry astronauts to the moon, if the White House doesn't scrap those plans.

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