The first test of NASA's powerful new moon rocket has gone off without a problem.

More than a million pounds of propellant ignited in a split second during the Thursday test, sending an enormous cloud of sand and dust high into the northern Utah sky.

For more than two minutes, flames shot out the end of the horizontal rocket, which was anchored to the ground.

NASA and contractor Alliant Techsystems Inc. said they were pleased with the test.

The Ares I rocket is the centerpiece of a plan started by former President George W. Bush to return astronauts to the moon by 2020.

But a panel of experts appointed by the White House say there's not enough money for the plan, and if NASA still wants to go to the moon, it recommended abandoning the Ares I.