NASA readies test flight of new lunar rocket
Should the mission succeed, NASA will then launch a manned crew on the same voyage, to be followed by a moon landing
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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will launch a test flight of its new Artemis rocket on Monday, after years of delays.
After launch, the rocket will transport an unmanned Orion crew capsule around the moon in a 42-day trip, according to CBS. Should the mission succeed, NASA will then launch a manned crew on the same voyage, to be followed by a moon landing in 2025 or 2026.
"This is a test flight. It's not without risk," said NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana, per the outlet. "We have analyzed the risk as best we can and we've mitigated it as best we can. But we are stressing Orion beyond what it was actually designed for in preparation for sending it to the moon with a crew. And we want to make sure it works absolutely perfectly when we do that and that we understand all the risks. We're going to learn a lot from this test flight."
Standing 322 ft. tall, the rocket will use 750,000 gallons of super cold liquid oxygen and hydrogen rocket fuel on the voyage, CBS noted.
"She is an incredible rocket," NASA Launch Director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson told CBS. "She brings a whole new capability to our nation's space program, a new heavy lift capability for deep space exploration. It's going to change the way in which we explore. It's going to return our nation to the moon, and it is going to pave the way for our next steps as we prepare to go someplace like Mars, and even destinations beyond."
The launch is set for 8:33 a.m. EST on Monday.