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(From Guardian Unlimited)
Nasa is celebrating the inaugural flight of its giant Ares 1-X rocket despite concerns that the White House may scrap the launcher because it costs too much.
The slender 100m-tall rocket, which is designed to replace the ageing space shuttle, blasted off at 11.30am local time from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
The $455m unmanned test flight gave Nasa staff the opportunity to monitor the new rocket's performance and hardware systems as it soared to an altitude of about 28 miles in two minutes before falling back into the Atlantic Ocean.
The demonstration flight marks a critical milestone in Nasa's plans to develop …