WASHINGTON, October 24 (RIA Novosti) - NASA has announced its new rocket Ares I-X will be launched on October 27, the agency said on its website.
Tuesday morning's launch will be NASA's first flight test for the new launch vehicle, which is central to the agency's plans for human spaceflight after the shuttle fleet is retired. The same launch team supports the Atlantis shuttle and the rocket launches.
Atlantis will deliver supplies and equipment to the International Space Station (ISS). The 11-day flight envisions three spacewalks to stage spare components outside of the International Space Station.
Ares rockets are to replace shuttles due to stop operating in 2010-2011. Skeptics say NASA will not be able to put Ares into operation earlier than 2016. If so, the U.S. will have to use Russian space agency Roscosmos' services to send its astronauts to the ISS.