The unmanned mission of Artemis, NASA’s dream project to take humans back on the moon after half a century, is set to begin today as the first rehearsal.
Artemis-1 will lift off from Launch Complex 39B at Kennedy Space Center at 6:03 PM IST.
The SLS (Space Launch System), the world’s most powerful rocket developed by NASA as the successor to the Space Shuttles, is used for the mission. The rocket will place the four-passenger Orion spacecraft (crew module) into lunar orbit.
The countdown to the launch started at 9.53 am local time on Saturday. If the launch doesn’t take place today then it is expected to be on September 2 or 5. The total cost is Rs.2 lakh crore.
The mission is a precursor to landing travelers, including a woman, on the moon’s south pole in 2025. The second Artemis will leave with travelers in 2024, but will return after orbiting the moon without landing.