NASA to launch crewless Artemis 1 Moon mission next year

After multiple delays

NASA is aiming to fly its next-generation rocket, the Space Launch System, for the first time next February.

The flight will be critical for NASA’s journey to send astronauts back to the Moon. Until then, the agency will be carrying out a series of tests, including of the interface and the communication systems, and a dress rehearsal a few weeks before the launch.

The Orion-SLS’s debut flight, known as 'Artemis I,' will be the first crewless flight in NASA's Artemis program. If the flight is successful, the SLS and Orion's next mission will be Artemis II, which will carry NASA astronauts on a similar trajectory around the Moon.

Earlier this week, NASA completed stacking its Orion spacecraft on top of its Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The stacking process started earlier this year, and its completion is a major milestone for the agency.

“With stacking and integration of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft complete, we’re getting closer and closer to embarking on a new era of human deep space exploration,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said. “Thanks to the team’s hard work designing, manufacturing, testing, and now completing assembly of NASA’s new rocket and spacecraft, we’re in the home stretch of preparations for the first launch on the Artemis I mission, paving the way to explore the Moon, Mars, and beyond for many years to come.”

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