NASA’s Artemis 1 mission successfully launched from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on Wednesday, ending several months of delays. The space agency broadcast the event live on its social media handles, and also shared a stunning video clip on Twitter showing the Earth capture by the Orion spacecraft as it journeyed to the Moon.
The Space Launch System (SLS), standing 32 stories tall, produced a record 8.8 million pounds of thrust when it blasted off at 1:47 am local time. Orion, fixed atop the rocket, captured breathtaking images of the receding Earth as it traveled at over 22,600 mph (36,370 kmph).
During a news conference after the launch, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson emphasized the significance of the mission, stating that it marks the beginning of a new era in space exploration. He expressed that the Artemis program aims to establish a sustainable presence on the Moon, with the ultimate goal of sending humans to Mars in the 2030s. This milestone comes after a nearly 50-year hiatus since America last sent astronauts to the Moon during the Apollo era (1969-1972).
Orion will orbit the Moon in a test run for future missions that will include the first woman and first person of color to set foot on lunar soil.