NASA: Booster rocket damaged in test flight

October 29, 2009 By MARCIA DUNN , AP Aerospace Writer
A cone of moisture surrounds part of the Ares I-X rocket during lift off Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009, on a sub-orbital test flight from the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39-B in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

(AP) -- NASA says the booster rocket used in a test flight was badly dented when it fell into the Atlantic.

The new Ares I-X rocket was launched on a brief flight Wednesday. NASA officials said Thursday that the first-stage booster was found to be dented near the bottom when it was recovered from the ocean.

spokesman Allard Beutel says there's still no official word on whether all three parachutes on the booster deployed properly. A failure could account for the damage.

The Ares I-X is a prototype of what's supposed to replace the space shuttles and ultimately fly to the moon. The White House, though, may nix those plans.

Shuttle managers, meanwhile, have chosen Nov. 16 for the launch of Atlantis on a space station mission.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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