The mission to the moon has finally started again. NASA launched the most powerful rocket it has ever built, Artemis 1, on Wednesday (16/11) afternoon, western Indonesian time. The launch took place in Florida, United States.
Artemis 1 sent NASA’s new Orion spacecraft on an unmanned test flight around the moon. The mission is NASA’s first flight from a manned lunar ship in nearly 50 years.
This mission serves as proof to see SLS and Orion are ready to help return astronauts to the lunar surface in 2025 under NASA’s Artemis program.
“Artemis Force 1!” said NASA commentator Derrol Nail during the launch webcast, quoted from Space, Thursday (17/11/2022) “We rise together, back to the moon and beyond,” he added.
Minutes later, Artemis launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson spoke to his team at mission control.
“This is your moment,” he said. “We are all part of something very special: Artemis’ first launch, the first step towards returning our country to the moon and Mars. What you have done today will inspire generations to come.”
As with previous attempts, this morning’s experiment had a setback. While the SLS upper stage was refueled approximately three hours before launch, an intermittent leak was detected in the liquid hydrogen fill valve on the Artemis 1 mobile launch tower.
NASA sent a special “Red Crew” to the tower to tighten the packing nuts to stop the leak, a process that took roughly an hour.
This was the third launch attempt for Artemis 1. The initial attempt on August 29 was aborted due to a cooling error in one of the rocket’s four main engines.
A second attempt on September 3 also failed when a hydrogen leak was detected during the rocket’s lengthy refueling process. The SLS was later returned to the KSC Vehicle Assembly Building for repairs and protection from Hurricane Ian, which hit Florida’s Space Coast in late September.
Recently, the changed target date of November 12 was postponed to today due to Hurricane Nicole. Strong winds generated by the storm tore off a piece of insulation from outside the Orion spacecraft, leaving the Artemis mission team to study the problem and determine whether the November 16 launch was within safety parameters.
“After many delays and problems, NASA has finally launched the Artemis 1 rocket, the most powerful rocket NASA has ever developed and aims to land humans back on the surface of the Moon after a 50-year absence,” wrote the Rawsalerts account.