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PROMONTORY, Utah (AP) -- A NASA contractor will mark a new era of space exploration this month by test firing a rocket that will launch the future Orion space craft into orbit.
ATK Space Systems, a business unit of Minneapolis-based Alliant Techsystems Inc., says the test is scheduled for Aug. 25 at Promontory, 65 miles north of Salt Lake City.
The first stage of the Ares 1 rocket -- under development for four years -- will be fired in a horizontal position.
It will be wired up with sensors to monitor 46 performance objectives.
NASA officials have said the first manned flight of the Orion craft could take place in 2015, ferrying crews to the space station initially then ultimately taking crews back to the moon.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)