Nasa and ATK jointly revealed the first completed Ares I first stage five-segment solid rocket booster marking the 40th anniversary for the Apollo 11 moon landing.

The Ares I launch vehicle will carry the Orion crew exploration spacecraft for missions to the International Space Station and the moon.

The first stage, five-segment rocket has evolved from the previous four-segment configuration and possesses a larger nozzle opening, upgraded insulation and liner than its predecessor.

Changes have also been made to the evolved rocket’s propellant grain.

ATK executive vice-president Mike Kahn said that ATK has been able to leverage decades of ground tests and shuttle flight processes due to the use of shuttle boosters in Ares I first stage design.

In preparation for major ground tests of the Nasa constellation programme in late August 2009, instrumentation will be installed over the next month.

ATK has been developing the rocket booster for Nasa since 2005.