FLORIDA – In an incredible display of light and sound, NASA launched the most powerful rocket ever made on a mission to the Moon on Wednesday, ushering in the launch of Artemis, the space agency’s new flagship program.
With a record-breaking 8.8 million pounds (39 meganewtons) of force, the 32-story-tall Space Launch System (SLS) lifted off from Florida’s famed Kennedy Space Center at 0:47 in the morning (0647 GMT).
“What you did today will serve as an example for future generations, thank you!” The first female launch director for NASA, Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, told her teammates as they applauded.
The unmanned Orion spacecraft, which will orbit Earth’s nearest neighbor as a test trip for future missions, was fixed to the rocket’s top. On these journeys, the first woman and the first person of color should set foot on lunar land by the middle of the 2020s.
The Apollo period, which ran from 1969 to 1972, saw the last American astronauts dispatched to the Moon.
To help get ready for a potential expedition to Mars in the 2030s, it intends to establish a long-lasting presence this time, including a lunar space station.
Although the two-hour launch window started at 1:04 am, there were anxious moments as teams struggled to fix technical problems.
Due to a valve leak, engineers had to first halt the flow of liquid hydrogen into the core stage on Tuesday night. However, a team sent to the launch pad was able to fix the problem by tightening loose bolts after approximately an hour.
Later, the space agency revealed that a malfunctioning ethernet switch that was in use at a radar facility tracking the rocket’s flight path was causing issues.
After two prior launch attempts were scrubbed due to technical issues, it was NASA’s third time lucky. Weather problems, such as Hurricane Ian, which devastated Florida in late September, caused the launch to be postponed as well.
- Editor/ additional report by AFP