Despite an initial delay, NASA successfully launched their latest space mission from Cape Canaveral early on Wednesday morning despite numerous “scratches” (cancellations) of the launch. The unmanned space rocket, Artemis One, finally took to the skies at around 6:15am GMT with joy from mission control on its successful launch shortly afterwards.
There were concerns that the mission would once again be scratched due to a potentially life threatening leak from the rocket, however after this leak was patched, jubilant mission control members saw the first phase of plans to return humankind to the moon finally eventuate. Even after lift off, when there were concerns one of the rocket boosters may fail, NASA assured viewers of their live stream that there are three more available which would help it reach orbit.
The launch of Artemis One is a pivotal moment for NASA; after delays spanning five years and costs reaching above $40 billion USD (a shade under £34 billion GBP), the US space agency promised their most powerful rocket to date with the capabilities of deep space exploration ahead of a planned astronaut landing on the moon by the very same rocket by 2025.
The current mission for Artemis One is to see whether the rocket can orbit above the earth, traverse space to the Moon and then return back to earth without any issues. Should the rocket succeed its first two missions, then a third manned mission would be the final step of NASA’s Artemis space programme.
It has been an exasperating year for NASA mission planners since the initial plan to launch Artemis One, with its original launch mission in August this year cancelled due to a temperature problem with one of the four liquid-fueled engines, discovered with under two hours to go in the countdown. In September the agency rolled the rocket back into the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) for protection from Hurricane Ian, returning the vehicle to the LC-39B launchpad on November 3.
But as mission control in Florida announced with a mixture of delight and relief that they had liftoff, the agency is now potentially one step closer to plans to finally set foot on the surface of the moon for the first time since the Apollo 17 mission back in 1972.