NASA’s Ares I-X test rocket lifted off at 11:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
All told, the flight test lasted about six minutes: the launch from the newly modified Launch Pad 39B, a two-minute powered flight, and then a splashdown of the rocket’s booster stage nearly 150 miles downrange.
The Ares I-X flight test will provide NASA the opportunity to test and prove the new rocket’s flight characteristics, hardware, facilities and ground operations, while also helping to verify computer and wind tunnel models. According to NASA, more than 700 sensors were placed throughout the vehicle to collect data for use in future exploration missions.
The Ares I-X is a prototype for the Ares I rocket NASA plans to use to launch its shuttle successor, the Orion spacecraft.