Ares V Rocket NASA

The Ares V was to launch the Earth Departure Stage and Altair lunar lander for NASA’s return to the Moon, which was planned for 2019. It would also have served as the principal launcher for missions beyond the Earth-Moon system, including the program’s ultimate goal, a crewed mission to Mars. The uncrewed Ares V would complement the smaller, and human-rated Ares I rocket for the launching of the 4–6 person Orion spacecraft. Both rockets, deemed safer than the then-current Space Shuttle, would have employed technologies developed for the Apollo program, the Shuttle program, and the Delta IV EELV program. However, the Constellation program, including Ares V and Ares I was canceled in October 2010 by the NASA Authorization Act of 2010. In September 2011, NASA detailed the Space Launch System as its new vehicle for human exploration beyond Earth’s orbit, while commercial space companies would provide low earth orbit access for both cargo and astronauts.