Nasa assembles Ares test rocket

The US space agency has completed the assembly of its Ares I-X rocket ahead of a test flight scheduled for October.

The Ares I rocket is a key component of Nasa's next-generation space transportation system.

The agency will use Ares I to launch the Orion capsule - the spacecraft to be used for human space missions after the space shuttle retires.

The unmanned test version of the rocket is standing in the vehicle assembly building (VAB) at Kennedy Space Center.

The final segments of the Ares I-X rocket, including the simulated crew module and launch abort system, were stacked together on 13 August on a mobile launcher platform at the VAB in Florida.

Nasa has released images, providing the first look at the 99m (327ft) launch vehicle.

The Ares I-X flight test is targeted for 31 October.

Nasa is scheduled to retire the space shuttle in 2010; the completed Ares-Orion system is not due to fly until 2015 at the earliest.