The Ares I-X is a prototype for the Ares 1 rocket NASA plans to use to launch its shuttle successor, the Orion spacecraft. The flight test will provide NASA with an opportunity to test and prove flight characteristics, hardware, facilities and ground operations associated with the Ares I.
Of course, test flights like this don’t come cheap, and it’s estimated that this one will cost $360 million.
Below is NASA video of a test of the (22 million HP) Ares I solid rocket motor . This test was conducted in Utah last month. The flame exited the rocket motor approached 4500 degrees Fahrenheit, approximately two-thirds the temperature of the sun’s surface. At this temperature, steel doesn’t melt , it boils –and according to the video narrator, the sand around the rocket motor got so hot that it turned to glass.