NASA rolling out the Artemis 1 moon rocket for the first time

Reporter: Nicole Gabe Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Rendering of Artemis 1 (Credit: NASA)

On Thursday, NASA’s new moon rocket, Artemis One, began its first journey to the launch pad. It is a significant step toward getting us back to the moon.

Six million pounds and taller than the statue of liberty, NASA’s most powerful rocket was ready to roll on Thursday.

Artemis 1 is an uncrewed test flight of the Space Launch System or SLS rocket and the Orion spacecraft.

“Orion will make its history by venturing further than any other spacecraft that has been built for humans,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

Nelson says this is just the first of several phases for the Artemis missions. “We’ll demonstrate that Orion can come back through the fiery heat of re-entry from lunar velocities that are faster than when we came back with the Space Shuttle,” said Nelson.

By 2024, the goal is for it to take the first woman and first person of color to the moon. Then send people to work in lunar orbit and on the moon’s surface.

“We as a species were last on the moon when 1972. So it’s going to be 50 years in December. So it’s an awfully long time. And we’ve been talking about going back pretty much ever since,” said FGCU Professor Dr. Derek Buzasi, who once worked for NASA in the astrophysics division and on the Hubble Space Telescope.

He is looking forward to what’s next.

“There’s still something really magical about, you know, we’re sending, we’re sending people to space, and we’re sending people to, you know, another planet in the moon, you know, regardless of kind of what your definition of another planet is, you know, it feels in your heart that way,” said Dr. Buzasi.

The Artemis missions will serve as a springboard to travel to Mars.

It will take 11 hours for Artemis 1 to reach Launch Complex 39B, three miles away, for its wet dress rehearsal which is targeted to begin April first. That includes loading propellants, practicing every aspect of launch countdown, and draining the moon rocket.

If all goes well with the wet dress rehearsal, the launch could happen in June.

You can watch NASA’s live coverage of the Artemis One rollout below or by clicking here.

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