Returning to the Moon has never been so close.
NASA's new giant Space Launch System (SLS) rocket arrived this Wednesday morning at its launch pad in Cape Canaveral (Florida).
Its takeoff for our satellite is scheduled in 12 days, on August 29.
This mission will mark the very first flight of Artemis, the major US program to return to the Moon.
Artemis 1 will be done without astronauts on board, its goal being to test the rocket and the capsule at its top to ensure that they can transport a crew safely, from 2024.
See more images of the #Artemis I @NASA_SLS rocket and @NASA_Orion spacecraft as they arrived at Launch Pad 39B this morning.
📷➡️ https://t.co/cTEfEpR4DT pic.twitter.com/MQUci1Tv6Q
— NASA HQ PHOTO (@nasahqphoto) August 17, 2022
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A trip around the moon
The SLS rocket has been in development for more than a decade and will become, when it lifts off, the most powerful in the world.
It is 98 m high.
"To all of us who raise our noses to the Moon, dreaming of the day when humanity will return to the lunar surface," Bill Nelson, head of NASA, said in early August.
Friends, we are there, we are going back.
The Orion capsule will be propelled to the Moon and even 64,000 km beyond, venturing further than any other habitable spacecraft before it.
On its return to the Earth's atmosphere, the heat shield will have to withstand a speed of nearly 40,000 km/h and a temperature half as high as that on the surface of the Sun.
One foot on the Moon no earlier than 2025
Takeoff should take place at 2:33 p.m. French time.
If the weather is not suitable, two fallback dates (September 2 and 5) are planned.
The mission should last 42 days, until a return to the Pacific Ocean, where the ship will be recovered by a US Navy boat.
In 2024, the Artemis 2 mission will carry astronauts to orbit around the Moon, without landing there.
This honor will be reserved for the crew of Artemis 3, a mission scheduled for 2025 at the earliest. The last time men visited the Moon dates back to Apollo 17, in 1972. This program only allowed white men to walk on the moon.
Artemis will send him, the first woman and the first racialized person on our satellite.
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