As the sun rises over Launch Pad 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the 327-foot-tall Ares I-X rocket, secured to a mobile launcher platform, approaches the pad's perimeter fence.
The test rocket left the Vehicle Assembly Building at 1:39 a.m. EDT on its 4.2-mile trek to the pad and was "hard down" on the pad’s pedestals at 9:17 a.m. The transfer of the pad from the Space Shuttle Program to the Constellation Program took place May 31. Modifications made to the pad include the removal of shuttle unique subsystems, such as the orbiter access arm and a section of the gaseous oxygen vent arm, along with 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 targeted for Oct. 27. For information on the Ares I-X vehicle and flight test, visit http://www.nasa.gov/aresIX. Photo credit: NASA/Jack Pfaller