Artemis 1 is the start of NASA’s plans to take people (back) to the Moon, following the end of the Apollo program in 1972. After many delays, it’s finally on its way.
The Space Launch System rocket successfully lifted off at 1:47 AM on November 16, carrying the Orion capsule — there are no people on board, but there could be a crew on the next mission if all goes well. Everything has gone according to plan, including the separation of the solid rocket boosters (the slim rockets on the sides) shortly after launch, and the service module separating from the rocket. Orion’s solar panels successfully deployed at 2:41 AM.
Artemis 1 had already been pushed back several times, due to technical problems and weather conditions. The first launch window was set for August 29, 2022, but it was cancelled due to detected problems with engine cooling systems. NASA tried again on September 3, but stopped due to a liquid hydrogen leak in the core stage, then the rocket was rolled back into the Vehicle Assembly Building as Hurricane Ian approached Florida. The rocket was moved back to the pad on November 3, waiting for today’s launch window.
This was the first full test for the Space Launch System, the largest modern space rocket, which is based on technology from the Space Shuttle. Over the next 25 days, the Orion capsule will travel to the Moon and splash down on Earth.
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