The Ares I-X, the first test rocket in NASA's effort to develop the successors to the space shuttles, is ready to launch. Now comes the wait for a hole in the clouds.
The launching had been scheduled for 8 a.m., but because of the weather, the launching time has been pushed back to around 9:30. The launching can be pushed back as late as noon.
Forecasts give a 40 percent chance of the rocket lifting off on Tuesday. If the clouds do not clear, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration will try again on Wednesday, New York Times reports.
This is the first step in NASA's effort to return astronauts to the moon. The flight will last two minutes. Parachutes will drop the first-stage booster into the Atlantic for recovery. The upper portion of the rocket — all fake parts — will fall uncontrolled into the ocean.
NASA expects to learn a lot, even if it's for another type of rocket. The White House is re-evaluating the human spaceflight program, The Associated Press reports.
Engineers made final preparations Tuesday morning for the long-awaited launch of NASA's towering Ares I-X rocket - the 33-story centerpiece of a $445 million test flight expected to generate valuable engineering data for development of a post-shuttle replacement.
The planned launch comes on the heels of a report by a presidential panel of space experts that concluded NASA's current plans to build new Ares rockets and establish bases on the moon by the early 2020s is not feasible without an additional $3 billion to $6 billion a year.
The slender Ares I-X, its second stage wider than the first, stands twice as tall as a space shuttle "stack." But its pencil-thin appearance quickly led to a somewhat derisive nickname: the "stick," CBS News reports.
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