NASA launched a rocket to the moon
NASA’s new lunar rocket launched its maiden flight Wednesday night, bringing the U.S. one step closer to returning astronauts to the lunar surface 50 years after the Apollo program ended.
If all goes as planned, the rocket will carry an empty descent vehicle into lunar orbit during the three-week mission, which will later return to Earth and drop into the Pacific Ocean in December.
After years of delays and multibillion-dollar overruns, the Space Launch System rocket soared into the sky from the Kennedy Space Center, accelerating to 160 kilometers per hour within seconds.
The rocket had a descent vehicle attached to it, ready to lift off from Earth orbit in about two hours from the start of the flight.
The launch marked the beginning of NASA’s Artemis lunar program.
The space agency plans to send four astronauts into lunar orbit on its next mission in 2024 and land humans on the Earth’s satellite as early as 2025.