In case you missed it, humans are finally planning to return to the Moon!
The first crewed mission to our planet’s satellite is still a long way off. However, the rocket designed to transport us there will be launched for the first time on Monday.
NASA’s massive Artemis “mega moon rocket,” the most powerful space rocket ever built, is preparing to launch to the moon. The Artemis 1 mission will launch on Monday, Aug. 29, on an unmanned test flight of the spacecraft that will power NASA’s Artemis moon program, which will eventually send humans back to our nearest natural satellite and, hopefully, Mars.
Update: The launch is currently on hold at T-40 minutes due to a hydrogen leak during fueling. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen now, but engineers are looking into it.
The launch window for the new Space Launch System and Orion Crew Capsule begins at 12.33 UTC on Monday, August 29 (08.33 EDT and 22.33 AEST) and lasts approximately two hours.
Previous tests revealed a similar fuel leak issue, but it’s unclear if the issue is the same this time.
Launch coverage will begin a few hours before launch, and you can watch it all live below on NASA TV.
The Artemis I mission is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions aimed at returning humans to the Moon for the first time since December 1972.
The new Space Launch System is the most powerful rocket NASA has ever launched, and it will not only travel to the Moon – further than any human-built spacecraft has ever flown – but will also deploy some small satellites.
There will be a strange mix of mannequins, artifacts, mementos, and zero-gravity indicators on board the Orion Crew Capsule.
The goal is to practice spacecraft operation and crew conditions to ensure that the spacecraft is safe for future crew.
NASA intends to launch Artemis 2, the first crewed Artemis mission, into space in 2024 using an upgraded version of the Space Launch System rocket (assuming the spacesuits are ready).
Artemis 3 is scheduled to launch in 2025, with the goal of landing the first woman and first person of color near the Moon’s south pole.
In 2027, the Artemis 4 mission will take astronauts to a mini-lunar station called Gateway.
We can’t wait, and we’re excited to share this important first step with you all today!
READ MORE: NASA Reveals Early Plans to Send Two Astronauts to Surface of Mars