Ares I-X -- First Flight of a New Moon Rocket
October 28, 2009: NASA's Ares I-X rocket launches on its first test flight from Pad 39B, carrying with it NASA's hopes and dreams of a replacement for the space shuttle capable of carrying astronauts to the International Space Station, to the Moon, and beyond. The uncrewed, 327-foot tall vehicle lifted off from a reconfigured space shuttle pad which was originally built for the Saturn V rocket used in the United States' first moon program. The dummy upper stage and crew capsule with escape tower sat atop an active first stage based on a space shuttle Solid Rocket Booster (SRB). It burned for a little more than 2 minutes to test flight control and dynamics, reaching a top speed of Mach 4.5 and a highest altitude of 150,000 feet just to the east of the Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral, Florida.