On Tuesday, October 27, 2009, sometime between 8:00 AM and 12:00 PM EDT, NASA is scheduled to launch the first Ares I-X test rocket in preparation for trips to the space station and eventually the moon.Update: Due to weather issues, NASA rescheduled liftoff for Wednesday, October 28th at 8:00 AM.
The Ares series rockets (slated to carry the Orion Crew Vehicle in the near future) have undergone rigorous tests both in simulations and in practice scenarios, including the testing of its parachute and its ullage motor. The ullage motor helps to ensure that the stage-2 fuel is settled into the bottom of that portion of the rocket before it is ignited to improve ignition.
If you want to follow the launch preparations, NASA created a Twitter account and a blog, which contains dozens of pictures. Anyone who can't be present at the Kennedy Space Center for the launch can watch the launch coverage on NASA TV beginning at 8:00 AM EDT.
Check out the TechRepublic gallery to see photos of assembling and testing the Ares I-X in preparation for the launch. Also, watch two time-lapse videos that show the assembly and rollout process for the Ares I-X.