Nasa’s Ares I-X launch rocket has successfully completed its six-minute flight test after lift-off on 28 October 2009.

Nasa is developing the launch vehicle to improve the design and safety of the next generation of spaceflight vehicles to take humans beyond low-Earth orbit.

The 327ft-tall Ares I-X test vehicle produced 2.6 million pounds of thrust to accelerate the rocket to nearly 3g and Mach 4.76, a little less than hypersonic speed.

It took its easterly flight at a suborbital altitude of 150,000ft after the separation of its first stage, a four-segment solid rocket booster.

The booster and the solid rocket motor, recovered at sea, will be towed back to Florida for later inspection, while the simulated upper stage and Orion crew module and the launch abort system will not be recovered.

The test was originally scheduled for 27 October 2009, but was delayed due to weather concerns.