NASA shares first view of Earth from Artemis I lunar rocket

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Following the successful launch of NASA’s most powerful rocket in the world – the Space Launch System (SLS) – the public space agency’s Orion spacecraft is on its way to the moon, marking the first such mission in 50 years.

Carrying an uncrewed Orion capsule, NASA’s SLS rocket lifted off at 1:47 a.m. Wednesday from Kennedy Space Center for its first flight tests.

The launch marked the first leg of a mission that is expected to take the Orion space capsule about 40,000 miles beyond the Moon and back to Earth in 25.5 days, NASA said Wednesday.

Known as Artemis I, the mission marked a critical part of NASA’s “Moon to Mars exploration approach” and served as a bridge to the agency’s later plans to fly astronauts on the Artemis II mission.

“What an incredible sight to see NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and the Orion spacecraft launch together for the first time,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “This uncrewed flight test will push Orion to the limits of the rigors of deep space, helping us prepare for human exploration on the Moon and, ultimately, Mars.”

After reaching an initial orbit around Earth, Orion deployed its solar arrays, giving engineers and many around the world unobstructed views of the blue planet.

(Courtesy of NASA)

“This view of Earth captured from a human-class spacecraft hasn’t been seen since 1972 during the last Apollo mission about 50 years ago,” a NASA representative said Wednesday during a live broadcast event. “Views of our blue marble in the blackness of space now capture the imagination of a new generation. The Artemis generation.

On its website, NASA said: “Over the next few hours, a series of 10 small science surveys and technology demonstrations, called CubeSats, will unfold from a ring that connected the upper stage to the spacecraft. The space agency added: “Each CubeSat has its own mission that has the potential to fill gaps in our knowledge of the solar system or demonstrate technologies that could benefit the design of future lunar exploration missions and the -of the.”

Orion is scheduled to fly close to the Moon on November 21, where it will make a close approach to the lunar surface on its way to a far retrograde orbit – a very stable orbit thousands of miles beyond the Moon.

“It took a long time to get here, but Orion is now on its way to the Moon,” said Jim Free, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Development Missions Directorate. “This successful launch means NASA and our partners are well on their way to exploring farther into space than ever before for the benefit of humanity.”

The SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft arrived at the Kennedy launch pad Nov. 4 where they endured Hurricane Nicole. After the storm, teams assessed the rocket and associated ground systems and confirmed there was no significant weather impact.

Weeks before the Nov. 16 launch, the rocket was returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building on Sept. 26 before Hurricane Ian hit much of Florida’s southwest coast. prior to that, NASA canceled two previous launch attempts due to a faulty temperature sensor and a liquid hydrogen leak on August 29 and September 4 respectively.


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