NASA readies Artemis rocket for unmanned Moon mission

NASA has moved the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft to the launch site for final preparations before it blasts off to the Moon. 

The Artemis I mission is expected to launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on August 29, 2022. If successful, the mission will last 42 days, returning on October 10.  

The Artemis I mission is the first flight of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, intended to test both Orion and SLS systems ahead of the crewed launch. The spacecraft is composed of the European Service Module manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space and the Crew Module designed by Lockheed Martin. 

With Artemis II, the space agency plans to launch the first crewed mission around the Moon, sending astronauts aboard Orion farther into space than any humans have ever traveled before, roughly 40,000 miles past the Moon, before returning home. 

The Artemis III is planned to be the first crewed landing on the Moon since Apollo 17 in 1972. The initial roadmap aimed to land astronauts on the Moon by the end of 2024 but has been formally pushed back until at least 2025. As part of this mission, NASA wants to land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon. 

The Artemis program is the first step in NASA’s next phase of human space exploration, with plans to establish a sustainable presence on the Moon to prepare for missions to Mars.  


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