NASA’s Artemis I, the most powerful rocket ship in history, will finally launch four minutes after midnight Wednesday, November 16, on its 25-day, 1.3m-mile journey to the moon and back. This is an automated flight to conduct tests but mission’s success will pave the way for a crewed landing effort inside four years. “We’re going back to the moon after 50 years, to stay, to learn to work, to create, to develop new technologies and new systems and new spacecraft in order to go to Mars,” Nasa administrator Bill Nelson said.
Attempts of launch in August and September were cancelled after engineers discovered an engine cooling problem. A delay was determined by the threat of Hurricane Ian which forced the space agency to roll the giant rocket inside the hangar. During the Hurricane Nicole the rocket remained on the launchpad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida so it was another two days delay. “We’ll go when it’s ready. We don’t go until then, and especially on a test flight. [We’ll] make sure it’s right before we put four humans up on the top,” Nelson said at that time. The “crew” for Artemis 1 includes sensor-rigged three mannequins. The Artemis programme is an international endeavour to build a permanent outpost around and on the Moon. Modules for the lunar Gateway are being built in USA and Europe.