Official Launch Date Selected for the launch of Ares I-X

Following today's Ares I-X Flight Test Readiness Review at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, managers announced Oct. 27 at 8 a.m. as the launch date for the new rocket's flight test.

Doug Cooke, associate administrator for NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, said the group was unanimous in their assessment that with no technical issues, they are ready to go.

During a news conference following the review meeting, Bob Ess, Ares I-X mission manager, described today as the culmination of their review cycle and said, "We're good to fly next week."

"It's great to be part of a team that put a rocket together in the time it took," said Ed Mango, Ares I-X launch director. "The team is ready to go fly; the vehicle is ready to go fly."

A few miles away at Launch Pad 39B, technicians have been conducting a second day of integrated systems tests. Today's checkouts involve the launch pad and ground systems, and ground support equipment.

On Thursday, the rocket was fully tested, including a successful "hot fire" of the auxiliary power units. The rotating service structure was opened in the afternoon and will be moved back into place after an evening test of the Xenon lights is completed tonight.

A countdown simulation with full launch team support is set for Saturday, with vehicle closeouts scheduled for Sunday. Launch countdown preparations will begin on Monday, with the countdown starting at L-7 hours at 1 a.m. on Tuesday. At this point, launch weather is 40 percent "go" for Tuesday.