Ares I nozzle

On August 25, the Ares I solid rocket booster--the rocket that will launch the Orion crew capsule to the moon--will have its first live-fire test. Before a crowd expected in the thousands at the Promontory, Utah, facility of ATK, the primary contractor for the rocket, the crews that have been working on the Ares I for years will finally get a chance to see how the rocket works.

On his Road Trip 2009 project, CNET News reporter Daniel Terdiman visited ATK in Promontory and was the first member of the media to see the completed, five-stage, Ares I booster rocket.

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Ares I body

A look down the 154-foot-long body of the five-segment Ares I First Stage rocket. The rocket is at the heart of NASA's Constellation program, which will replace the space shuttle, and which is planned to take humans back to the moon and perhaps Mars.

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Front of Ares I

A look at the very front of the Ares I First Stage solid rocket booster, as seen at ATK's Promontory, Utah, facility on July 6, 2009.

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Closeup of Ares I front

A close-up of the front of the Ares I solid-rocket booster, which is awaiting its August 25 first test-firing. The public has never seen the Ares I rocket in its complete form before.

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Connection

The Ares I solid-rocket booster is connected to the infrastructure that ATK has set up as the rocket awaits its August 25 test-firing, a day that may well count as a major milestone for NASA's Constellation program.

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Rear of Ares I

A look at the rear of the Ares I solid rocket booster, including the flared end surrounding its nozzle.

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Crane

This crane, outside the building that is currently housing the Ares I solid rocket booster, is used to hold rockets in place for their test-firings.

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Ares I building

This nondescript building is currently housing the first complete Ares I five-segment solid rocket booster. The rocket will be test fired on August 25 out of the back of this building.

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Ares segment

A single segment of an Ares rocket at an early stage in its composition, sits on a platform at ATK's Installation Component Workcenter in Promontory, Utah.

The casings for the booster segments are designed to be used again and again, and even those being used for the Ares program were once part of the Shuttle program. The Ares program will use more environmentally-friendly components than those that had asbestos in them and which were used during the Shuttle program

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Shuttle segment

Space shuttle solid rocket boosters have four segments, unlike the Ares rockets, which have five. This is a segment of a shuttle booster rocket, early in its production cycle.

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Dome

A forward dome, intended to be placed on the very top of a shuttle booster. The small hole in the dome is where an igniter will be paced, which lights the large rocket motor.

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Rocket segment with handles

A completed segment of a solid rocket booster, with handling rings attached to it that can be used to lift it up vertically.

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Booster with propellant

This segment of a space shuttle solid rocket booster is finished and filled with solid propellant. This is in shipping configuration and will soon be sent on rails to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, for assembly for a future space shuttle launch.

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Segment divider

A segment divider on a solid rocket booster. On space shuttle boosters, there are four segments. On Ares I, there will be five such segments.

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Aft segment STS-112

An aft segment of a solid rocket booster that will be used in the upcoming STS 112 space shuttle mission.

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Blast pit

The blast pit behind the building where rocket booster engines are tested. The heat is so extreme that some sand in the pit is melted into glass.

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2500 ton press

This 2,500-ton press is used to cure rubber and other materials for use in the composition of solid rocket boosters for both the space shuttle program and the Constellation program.

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