Third time's the charm: NASA launched Artemis 1 after several delaystext_fields
Florida: NASA has finally launched Artemis 1, the most powerful rocket ever built, after several delays due to technical and weather troubles. Being part of the US agency's new flagship programme, the rocket is on a journey beyond the Moon.
This was NASA's third attempt. The first two attempts were cancelled due to technical problems. One scheduled launch was delayed due to Hurricane Ian which affected Florida in late September.
The 32-story tall Space Launch System (SLS) blasted off from the storied Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 01:47 am (0647 GMT). The space agency marked the event by tweeting: "We are going."
The launch drew around 100,000 people to the coast.
NASA once again had to deal with technical issues during the launch window. The agency later said the radar site monitoring the rocket's flight path was having troubles due to a faulty ethernet switch. It had to be replaced. On Tuesday night, engineers had to deal with a valve leak and pause the flow of liquid hydrogen into the core stage. The team was able to resolve the problem in an hour, reported AFP.
The uncrewed Orion spaceship is fixed on top of Artemis and it will later separate. The spacecraft will then do a test run of an orbit-and-a-half of the Moon. The capsule lifted by two boosters and four engines detached after a few minutes. It will reach the destination in a few days. The spacecraft will be going to an orbit 64,000 km beyond the far side of the Moon which is further than any other habitable spacecraft gone so far.
Artemis 2 will be doing a flyby of the Moon with astronauts in 2024 and Artemis 3 will set the crew on the lunar surface by 2025.