Skip to main content

NASA’s historic Artemis I mission finally underway with SLS rocket launch

NASA has successfully launched its next-generation SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft on a test flight to the moon, ushering in a new era of space exploration.

Packing 8.8 million pounds of thrust at launch, the world’s most powerful operational rocket blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 1:47 a.m. ET on Wednesday, November 16, on its first-ever flight.

We are going.

For the first time, the @NASA_SLS rocket and @NASA_Orion fly together. #Artemis I begins a new chapter in human lunar exploration.

— NASA (@NASA) November 16, 2022

The Artemis I mission involves the 98-meter-tall SLS rocket sending the uncrewed Orion capsule on a flyby of the moon that will take it within just 62 miles of its surface and 40,000 miles beyond its far side, further into space than any human-rated spacecraft has ever gone. The mission, which is testing technologies for upcoming crewed lunar missions, will end with Orion’s splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California on December 11.

You can follow the spacecraft’s progress on NASA’s Artemis Real-time Orbit Website (AROW). The site shares data that lets you pinpoint the Orion’s precise location, as well as its distance from Earth and the moon.

NASA officials will be relieved to see the SLS rocket finally head skyward following a number of recent launch delays caused by technical issues and extreme weather systems.

A successful Artemis I mission will pave the way for Artemis II, which will take the same route around the moon, but this time with astronauts riding on the Orion capsule.

Following that, the highly anticipated Artemis III mission will endeavor to put the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface, in what will also be the first astronaut moon landing since the final Apollo mission in 1972.

Looking toward the 2030s and beyond, NASA and its international partners plan to build a permanent moon base on the lunar surface for long-term astronaut visits, with the outpost potentially acting as a stepping stone for the first crewed visit to Mars.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Watch 25-day Orion mission squeezed into just 60 seconds
NASA's Orion spacecraft as it flies by the moon.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has shared a cinematic video that encapsulates the recent Artemis I mission in just 60 seconds.

That’s packing a lot in for a voyage that lasted 25 days, but we’re sure you’ll agree, the presentation does a great job in pulling together the mission’s key moments while also including some of the mesmerizing imagery captured by the Orion spacecraft during its rendezvous with the moon.

Read more
NASA shares new footage in Artemis I mission highlights reel
nasa new footage artemis i mission highlights reel orion homecoming

Artemis I Mission Highlights

NASA has released a video (above) featuring highlights from its successful Artemis I mission, which ended on Sunday with the homecoming of the Orion spacecraft.

Read more
How to watch NASA’s Orion spacecraft splash down today
An artist's depiction of the Orion spacecraft flying close to the moon.

NASA Live: Official Stream of NASA TV

NASA’s Orion spacecraft has completed all of its engine burns to put it on its homecoming path.

Read more