On November 16, Artemis 1 was successfully launched from the Kennedy Space Centre, marking NASA’s return to lunar exploration.
NASA’s Space Launch System rocket carrying the Orion spacecraft launches on the Artemis I flight test - NASA/Joel Kowsky
According to NASA, “Following a successful launch of... the most powerful rocket in the world, the agency’s Orion spacecraft is on its way to the Moon as part of the Artemis programme.
“The launch is the first leg of a mission in which Orion is planned to travel approximately 40,000 miles beyond the Moon and return to Earth over the course of 25.5 days.”
Ultimately, the Artemis Programme is intended to lead to manned missions to Mars. ANJ will publish an in-depth article on this programme in the near future.
A portion of the far side of the Moon looms large just beyond the Orion spacecraft in this image taken on the sixth day of the Artemis I mission by a camera on the tip of one of Orion’s solar arrays. The spacecraft entered the lunar sphere of influence Sunday, Nov. 20, making the Moon, instead of Earth, the main gravitational force acting on the spacecraft. On Monday, Nov. 21, it came within 80 miles of the lunar surface, the closest approach of the uncrewed Artemis I mission, before moving into a distant retrograde orbit around the Moon. - NASA