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More than 50 years after the end of the Apollo missions, NASA is trying again to fly people to the moon. NASA’s New Moon rocket stayed on track to lift off on a crucial test flight on Monday, despite a series of lightning strikes on the launch pad. The 322-foot-long (98-meter) Space Launch System rocket is the most powerful NASA has ever built. NASA’s new moon rocket is poised to send an empty crew cabin into lunar orbit, half a century after the Apollo program landed 12 astronauts on the moon.
The mission, which is a test flight, is aimed at determining the missile’s delivery capability. Artemis 1 is the first flight of the agency’s new megarocket, the towering Space Launch System (SLS).
Although Artemis 1 will not carry passengers or land on the moon, this NASA mission is necessary to demonstrate that NASA’s massive rocket and space capsule can meet their fitness requirements.
“We’ll highlight it and test it. We’re going to do things that we would never do with a crew to try to make the operation as safe as possible,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson told the AP.
When to watch the launch of the NASA Artemis-1 Moon mission?
The first launch of NASA’s Artemis-1 Moon spacecraft is targeted for a two-hour launch window on August 29. The launch is currently scheduled for Monday at 8:33am EDT or 6:00pm IST.
Where to watch the launch of the NASA Artemis-1 Moon mission?
NASA will broadcast the launch live on the NASA website – https://www.nasa.gov/
Remarkably, the spacecraft will travel 40,000 miles past the far side of the Moon and stay in space longer than any human spacecraft without docking with the space station. The capsule is expected to reach the Pacific Ocean in October.
After so many years of delays and setbacks, the launch team was thrilled to finally be so close to the inaugural flight of the Artemis lunar exploration program, named after Apollo’s twin in Greek mythology.
A follow-up Artemis flight as early as 2024 would see four astronauts fly around the moon. A landing could follow in 2025. NASA is targeting the unexplored south pole of the moon, where permanently shadowed craters are thought to contain ice that could be used by future crews.