NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), the world’s most powerful rocket, took off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, US, at 1:47 am ET (06:47 GMT) on November 16, 2022.
As part of the Artemis I mission, the rocket is carrying the Orion spacecraft which is expected to fly around the Moon and then return to Earth over a month later.
We are going.— NASA (@NASA) November 16, 2022
For the first time, the @NASA_SLS rocket and @NASA_Orion fly together. #Artemis I begins a new chapter in human lunar exploration. pic.twitter.com/vmC64Qgft9
The mission serves as the first step in NASA’s new Moon landing program, which is set to culminate with the Artemis 3 crewed landing, now scheduled for 2025.
According to NASA, the SLS rocket can generate over 8.8 million pounds of thrust, which is more than the previous record holder, the Saturn V (7.8 million pounds) or the SpaceX Falcon Heavy (5.1 million pounds).
It is also designed to be upgradeable, with subsequent versions having more power and improved payload capacity.
Since August 2022, the rocket suffered two aborted launch attempts with NASA encountering numerous problems with its engines and fuel systems and one further delay due to hurricane Nicole.