Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP) — NASA's New Moon rocket arrived at the launch pad Wednesday before its maiden flight in less than two weeks. did.
The 322-foot (98-meter) rocket emerged from a giant hangar late Tuesday night, drawing a crowd of Kennedy Space Center workers. It took him nearly 10 hours for the rocket to travel four miles to the launch pad and lift off at sunrise.
NASA is aiming for her Aug. 29 liftoff for lunar test flights. With no one inside the crew capsule at the top of the rocket, the mannequin is just her three to test a dummy swarmed with sensors that measure radiation and vibrations.
The capsule will fly around the Moon in an orbit several weeks apart before returning to a water landing in the Pacific Ocean. The entire flight should last 6 weeks.
This flight is the first moonshot of NASA's Artemis program. The space agency aims to have astronauts fly around the moon within two years and land a crew on the moon as early as 2025. This is much slower than NASA expected when he established the program as the Space Shuttle more than a decade ago. Fleet retired. Years of delays added billions of dollars in costs.
NASA's new SLS Moon rocket, which stands for Space Launch System, is 41 feet (12 meters) shorter than the Saturn V rocket used in the Apollo program half a century ago. However, it is more powerful, using a core stage and twin strap-on boosters, similar to those used on the space shuttle.
It looks like we're looking back at the Saturn V," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said earlier this month. "But it's a whole different, new, highly sophisticated, more sophisticated rocket and spacecraft."In the Apollo program he had 24 astronauts go to the Moon, and of them he 12 people landed on the moon from 1969 to 1972. The space agency seeks a more diverse team and a more sustained effort under Artemis, named after Apollo's mythical twin sister.
"I want to stress that this is a test flight," said Nelson. "It's just the beginning."
This was his third flight to the rocket's pad. April's countdown tests were marred by fuel leaks and other equipment troubles, forcing NASA to return the rocket to its hangar for repairs.
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