DR. SKY BLOG

Everything you need to know about NASA’s Artemis I rocket to the moon

Nov 16, 2022, 2:00 PM

NASA's new moon rocket lifts off from Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral,...

NASA's new moon rocket lifts off from Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022. This launch is the first flight test of the Artemis program. (AP Photo/John Raoux )

(AP Photo/John Raoux )

The long-awaited launch of the NASA Artemis 1 moon rocket has finally happened!

After a series of delays and preparations for launch, the massive moon rocket launched from Florida on Wednesday.

The Artemis program is a series of steps to launch astronauts and payloads to the moon with an eventual landing of astronauts to the lunar surface.

Here is a brief outline of the NASA Artemis program and some of its goals and a quick overview of the mission.

Artemis is the Greek goddess of the moon and twin of Apollo. Her story is outlined here.

The Artemis program had its start a few years ago as the NASA Constellation program. The goals of the Constellation program were similar to those of Artemis. The components of Constellation were to complete the International Space Station, return astronauts to the Moon and to venture out to Mars with a manned mission.

The program was cancelled under the Obama administration as too expensive and unrealistic timelines.

The details of Constellation are outlined here.

The main rocket of the Constellation program was the Ares1 rocket. This two-stage rocket had a main solid rocket motor and a second stage using chemical propulsion.

Only one launch of the Ares I was made, Oct. 28, 2009, from the Kennedy Space Center.

Here is the video of that launch.

The focus now is on the Artemis program. This is an unmanned mission to obit the moon and test out many systems on the rocket and the newly developed Orion capsule.

The Orion capsule is a larger version of the older Apollo capsule with many state-of-the-art technologies.

Here are the details on the Orion capsule.

The next Artemis mission will be Artemis II and will be a crewed mission around the moon to further check out systems and human factors for the eventual Artemis III mission, with a planned landing on the moon.

In addition to landing on the moon, there will be the first female astronaut on the surface of the moon!

Who will that be? Here are some candidates for that historic mission.

With all this being reported; we wish NASA the best in launching Artemis I on the long journey to return humans to the moon and beyond.

Follow the launch activity live.

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.

Podcasts are available here.

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Everything you need to know about NASA’s Artemis I rocket to the moon