Incredible Orion footage shows what astronauts will experience during NASA's Artemis II mission

Humans will launch aboard NASA's Orion spacecraft for Artemis II, which is currently slated for a 2024 launch.
Chris Young
NASA Orion Spacecraft
NASA Orion Spacecraft

NASA / Radislav Sinyak 

Incredible new footage from NASA's moon mission Artemis I looks straight out of a Christopher Nolan sci-fi epic.

The inside of NASA's Orion spacecraft glows with a pink hue as the Launch Abort System (LAS) tower is jettisoned from the uncrewed capsule, which is being fired to orbit by the Space Launch System (SLS).

Lockheed Martin, the company that built the Orion spacecraft, shared the launch footage on its Twitter page, allowing viewers to imagine what it will be like for astronauts aboard NASA's crewed Artemis II mission.

Dramatic Orion spacecraft footage

The footage, viewable in the embedded Lockheed Martin tweet below, shows the successful launch of Orion atop SLS on November 16. Artemis I is a test mission currently on its way back from flying around the moon.

The launch put NASA's most powerful rocket to date, SLS, through its paces and is also stress-testing the crew capsule, Orion, that will eventually help to take humans back to the moon for the space agency's upcoming crew missions. The mannequin astronaut seen in the footage is also collecting data that will help to determine the effects of space travel, including radiation exposure, aboard Orion.

Artemis II is currently scheduled to take place in 2024. That mission will send humans on the same trajectory as Artemis I, meaning it will go on a trip around the moon and back.

Artemis III, currently slated for 2025, will finally send humans back to the moon's surface for the first time since Apollo 17 in 1972. That mission will launch aboard SLS, though astronauts will utilize Orion to rendezvous with a currently in-development modified SpaceX Starship rocket that will serve as a lunar lander.

What is NASA's SLS Launch Abort System?

NASA's SLS Launch Abort System generates more than 40,000 pounds of thrust. According to NASA, that is enough to lift 26 elephants off the ground. The system was designed to rapidly launch astronauts away from SLS in case of an emergency.

When the launch goes as planned, however, the LAS is jettisoned into space to reduce the mass of the capsule as it makes its way into space.

Incredible footage and images from the Artemis I mission have given the world an impressive vantage point from the Orion spacecraft as it has made its way around the moon, including an image in which the moon and the Earth look like they are almost the same size.

The capsule recently broke the record for a human-rated spacecraft's highest distance traveled away from Earth, surpassing the record previously held by the Apollo 13 mission. Orion is expected to splash down in the Pacific Ocean on December 11, bringing the Artemis I mission to a close and paving the way for NASA's upcoming moon missions.

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