The rocket to return to the Moon is already on the launch pad

Artemis 1, on Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center. / Joel Kowsky / NASA

Science | Artemis Program

The unmanned Artemis 1 mission will take off from Cape Canaveral on the 29th and will take the Orion spacecraft to the satellite

The Artemis 1 rocket and spacecraft are already on Launch Pad 39 B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The first mission of the new American program of manned flights to the Moon will take off on the 29th, starting at 2:33 p.m., and will last 42 days.

Artemis 1 is an unmanned mission. Its goal is to test the so-called space launch system (SLS) and the Orion capsule together. The SLS consists of a main rocket, the largest ever built, and two boosters. It is 111 meters tall, weighs 130 tons and will put the Orion spacecraft, with capacity for four astronauts, on its way to the Moon, in addition to deploying ten CuibeSats.

Orion will separate from the launcher's last stage two hours after liftoff. From then on, it will travel a total of 2.1 million kilometers powered by its service module, built by the European Space Agency (ESA). The capsule will complete three lunar orbits and in one of them it will approach up to 97 kilometers from the surface of the satellite. The mission will end with Orion's splashdown on October 10 in the Pacific, off the coast of San Diego.

The next flight of the Artemis program, already with astronauts who will orbit the Moon in Orion, is scheduled for 2024. And, if all goes well, the first woman will walk on the satellite in 2025. That is, the human being will return to the Moon 56 years after Neil Armstrong and Buizz Aldrin set foot on it for the first time.

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