Ares 1-X: Suborbital test flight
10/28/09 ~ 11:30am

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The first (and only, it would turn out) Ares 1 rocket, Ares 1-X, soared on its 2 minute, 4 second suborbital test flight at 11:30am on October 28, 2009. Standing as tall as a 33-story skyscraper at 327 feet and third only to the Saturn V and N-1 moon rockets of the moon-landing era, Ares 1, [at the time] planned to be the United States' next manned space vehicle after retirement of the space shuttle, would have consisted of a five-segment version of a shuttle Solid Rocket Booster with an upper second stage and manned Orion capsule on top.

For the Ares 1-X test mission, only four segments were active (same as the shuttle) while a dummy fifth segment sat on top. After SRB burnout at 2 min 4 sec, the SRB separated and parachuted into the Atlantic while the dummy second stage and fake Orion capsule with Launch Escape System plummeted to ocean below.

Rollout to Pad 39B       Ares on the pad

With xenons       Remote setup       Oct. 27 scrub

At left, Shuttle Atlantis on Pad 39A 1.5 miles south prepares for launch on STS-129. Present and future manned space vehicles if all goes as planned.
Distant photos (such as the one below) with ocean taken from the roof of the 525-foot Vehicle Assembly Building 3.5 miles away
A shockwave forms as Ares roars through the sound barrier:
The T-38 flown by astronaut Chris Ferguson and in charge of the unique weather rule known as triboelectrification flies past the VAB after launch: