NASA launches Artemis I moon mission

While no astronauts are onboard, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is carrying the Orion capsule on a demonstration for NASA’s lunar program. Artemis I will not land on the moon, but the spacecraft will orbit nearby before returning to Earth in 26 days.

So far the mission is going as planned, reaching orbit around the Earth, but multiple milestones are yet to come – including Orion firing its engines to leave Earth’s orbit and begin the multi-day trip toward the moon.

The mission represents a crucial inflection point in NASA’s moon plans, with the program delayed for years and running billions of dollars over budget. The Artemis program represents a series of missions with escalating goals, with the third – tentatively scheduled for 2025 – expected to return astronauts to the lunar surface for the first time since the Apollo era, CNBC reported.

Artemis I will now travel about 1.3 million miles over the course of the mission. NASA plans to fly Orion as close as 60 miles above the moon’s surface, before moving into a wide orbit around the lunar body. To return, Orion will use the moon’s gravity to assist it in setting a trajectory back into Earth’s orbit.

NASA first tried to launch Artemis I in August but called off multiple attempts after discovering technical problems with the rocket’s engines.



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