At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the 327-foot-tall Ares I-X rocket awaits liftoff on Launch Pad 39B on its upcoming flight test. In the background is the Atlantic Ocean. This is the first time since the Apollo Program's Saturn rockets were retired that a vehicle other than the space shuttle has occupied the pad. Modifications to the pad to support the Ares I-X included the removal of shuttle unique subsystems, such as the orbiter access arm and a section of the gaseous oxygen vent arm, and the installation of three 600-foot lightning towers, access platforms, environmental control systems and a vehicle stabilization system. Part of the Constellation Program, the Ares I-X is the test vehicle for the Ares I. The Ares I-X flight test is set for Oct. 27. For information on the Ares I-X vehicle and flight test, visit http://www.nasa.gov/aresIX.
Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett