Nasa’s Artemis 1 Moon rocket arrives at launch pad

The Space Launch System is scheduled to blast off into space on August 29, at 4.33pm GST

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Nasa’s next-generation Moon rocket arrived at the launch pad on Wednesday before its flight later this month.

In a 10-hour journey, the Space Launch System was moved from the vehicle assembly building to Launch Pad 39B at Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre.

The 101-metre rocket is scheduled for launch on August 29, at 4.33pm in the UAE, with a two-hour launch window. There are back-up dates set for September 2 and 5.

Nasa confirmed that the rocket had successfully been moved to the launch pad.

“In the coming days, engineers and technicians will configure systems at the pad for launch, which is currently targeted for no earlier than August 29 at 8:33am (Eastern time),” the space agency said.

“Teams have worked to refine operations and procedures and have incorporated lessons learned from the wet dress rehearsal test campaign and have updated the launch timeline accordingly.”

The Artemis 1 mission is an uncrewed test flight that will measure the rocket and Orion spacecraft’s performance.

It is also an opportunity for Nasa and its partners to launch several science and technology experiments.

If the flight is successful, it will help the space agency move its plans for the Artemis programme forward.

Nasa hopes to build a sustainable human presence on the Moon as part of the programme, including landing the first woman and person of colour on the lunar surface within this decade.

The first crewed flight, Artemis 2, is planned for 2024, when it is planned that astronauts will orbit the Moon.

Artemis 3, the first human lunar landing mission under the programme, has been delayed until 2025.

The crewed flight would be the first time humans have reached the Moon since the Apollo missions ended 50 years ago.

“We’re going back to the Moon for scientific discovery, economic benefits and inspiration for a new generation of explorers: the Artemis Generation,” Nasa said on its website.

“While maintaining American leadership in exploration, we will build a global alliance and explore deep space for the benefit of all.”

The space agency hopes to build an Artemis base camp on the lunar surface and the Lunar Gateway — a small station in the Moon’s orbit — so astronauts can have easy access to the Moon.

It is partnering commercial companies and other space agencies to develop the lunar station.

The launch of the Artemis 1 mission will be streamed live on Nasa’s website.

Updated: August 17, 2022, 6:41 PM