writes "With a hiss and roar NASA's Ares X rocket blasted into the atmosphere this at about 11:33 am EST taking with it a variety of test equipment and sensors but also high hopes for the future of the US space agency. The short test flight — about 2 minutes — will provide NASA an early opportunity to look at hardware, models, facilities and ground operations associated with the mostly new Ares I launch vehicle. The mission went off without a hitch — "frickin fantastic" was how one NASA executive classified it on NASA TV — as the upper stage simulator and first stage separated at approximately 130,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean. The unpowered simulator splashed down in the ocean.
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