With the space shuttle program having come to an end, NASA has quickly revealed its next plan for returning to space.  NASA will work with one of its longtime commercial partners and a European aerospace company to develop a new rocket that will launch humans into low Earth orbit from the Kennedy Space Center.  Called the Liberty launch system it'll use a modified solid rocket booster from the shuttle program combined with a European Ariane 5 rocket which has already been used to launch humans into space. 

NASA will be working jointly with ATK Space Systems headquartered in Minneapolis, MN and EADS - the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company.  Just last week NASA and ATK successfully completed a two-minute test of the most powerful solid rocket engine ever built.  Similar to the solid rocket boosters used on the shuttle, the new rockets provide more boost, but are safer.  The stationary test was done at ATK's testing ground at Promontory, Utah.

Work on the new space capsule to carry the astronauts continues, but the new system could be ready to fly by 2015.  And that's great news along Florida's "Space Coast," where the program could eventually create hundreds of jobs for workers who lost their jobs when the space shuttle program came to an end.

[Metro Source]