Ares I-X, the code name for the first Ares rocket to be tested, will lift off from Kennedy Space Center early this summer. It should climb to around 25 miles (40.2 km) in a two-minute powered test of the first stage and its recovery system. The test is meant to find out if there are any basic design flaws that need to be fixed before the more complex components are added to the rocket. This just goes to show that no matter how powerful the computers and simulations are these things just have to be tested the old fashion way.
There are countless teams and individuals working on this project and if this test is a successful it will help immeasurably in boosting moral and renewing faith in the whole Constellation program. Not to mention it will help keep it on track for the Design Review scheduled for 2010.
Here is the base of the Ares rocket being put together in Virginia's Langley Research Center.
This picture gives a good perspective of the size of the rocket and what it should look like as it gets closer to completion.
And here are a quick video of NASA in the Inaugural Parade with Barack smiling (which hopefully is a good sign for NASA!)
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