NASA's rollout of the first Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for the Artemis program, a human spaceflight program that aims to return humans to the Moon, has long been highly anticipated.
The project began at former President Donald Trump's request and was named after the twin sister of Apollo, the former lunar project of NASA. Considering the fact that the last crewed lunar landing mission, Apollo 17, was back in 1972, the Artemis program shifts our focus back to the Moon.
The return to the Moon is important because its explorations will serve as a testbed for technologies and resources that will help humankind get to Mars and beyond. As Neil Armstrong said, "That's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind."
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Artemis I mission
NASA's journey of rolling out the Artemis I mission's Space Launch System mega-rocket was full of delays. But now, agency officials have officially revealed during a press conference that the rollout of the integrated Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft is going to take place on March 17.
On March 14, NASA held a press conference to discuss the upcoming debut of the agency’s Mega Moon rocket, and this time everything seems on track for the rollout.
"We are in very good shape and ready to proceed with this roll," Artemis launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson stated in the news conference and added, "It's gonna be amazing".
Artemis I rollout trailer
NASA also released a trailer of the upcoming Artemis I mission and elevated the excitement about human lunar exploration.
The spacecraft will launch on the world's most powerful rocket and go further than any spacecraft built for humans has ever gone. Over the course of around a four to six-week mission, it will travel 280,000 miles from Earth, which equates to thousands of kilometers beyond the Moon.
“This is a mission that truly will do what hasn’t been done and learn what isn’t known,” said Mike Sarafin, Artemis I mission manager. “It will blaze a trail that people will follow on the next Orion flight, pushing the edges of the envelope to prepare for that mission.”