A voyage to the Moon is scheduled to take place in less than two weeks, and NASA’s enormous new SLS rocket arrived at its launchpad on Wednesday in Cape Canaveral.
The Artemis programme, which aims to send Americans back to the Moon for the first time since the final Apollo mission in 1972, will embark on its inaugural flight on this mission.
The Space Launch System rocket, which will be the most potent in the world, will make its debut on the unmanned Artemis 1 mission.
It will launch the Orion crew capsule into lunar orbit, where it will spend 42 days before making its way back to Earth.
Starting in 2024, astronauts will make the same trip aboard the Orion spacecraft, and at the earliest in 2025, Americans will re-walk on the Moon.
The SLS rocket is 98 metres (322 feet) tall and has been under development for more than ten years.
After a 10-hour nocturnal crawl from the assembly facility, it was standing at historic launch complex 39B on Wednesday.
“Folks, we’re here for all of you who look up at the Moon and imagine the day when humans visit the lunar surface again. We are returning “Bill Nelson, the NASA administrator, stated earlier this month.
More than any previous crewed spacecraft, the Orion capsule will travel to the Moon and another 64,000 kilometres (40,000 miles) beyond it.
Orion’s thermal shield will have to survive heat equal to half that of the surface of the sun while returning through Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of 40,000 km/h (25,000 mph).
The Artemis 1 mission is set to launch on August 29 at 8:33 am (1233 GMT). The backup dates are September 2 and 5, in case it needs to be postponed because of inclement weather.
The spacecraft is planned to land in the Pacific after a 42-day journey and be retrieved by a US Navy ship.
An Artemis 2 mission is planned to launch people into lunar orbit without making any landfalls in 2024. That distinction will go to Artemis 3, which won’t launch until at least 2025.
The Apollo 17 mission in 1972 marked the final time that humans set foot on the Moon.
According to NASA, the Artemis missions will send the first woman and the first person of colour to the Moon, whereas the Apollo programme solely sent white male astronauts.
The intention is to use the Moon as a testing ground for technology to take people to Mars.