Less than a year from now, in 2009, NASA is going to launch a whole new generation of spacecraft and launch vehicle system. The test flight is called Ares I-X and it will bring scientists even closer to the exploration goals they have set for themselves.
The main test objectives are focused on dynamics of the first stage flight, how easy it can be controlled , separation of the first and upper stages, ground operations, and first stage recovery. They are also going to verify the performance and dynamics of the solid rocket boosters.
After this test flight, Ares I, the crew vehicle will launch Orion, the spacecraft designed for the human spaceflight missions. Orion is designed as a capsule similar in many ways to the Apollo project, its goal being to transport people to the moon, the international space station, and Mars.
Ares I-X will provide NASA with both the opportunity to test the efficiency and performance of the hardware and ground operations which are associated with this project, and also to gather critical data during the ascent, which will ensure scientists that the project is fully operational.