The New York Times reports:
NASA’s majestic new rocket soared into space for the first time in the early hours of Wednesday, lighting up the night sky and accelerating on a journey that will take an astronaut-less capsule around the moon and back.
This flight, evoking the bygone Apollo era, is a crucial test for NASA’s Artemis program that aims to put astronauts, after five decades of loitering in low-Earth orbit, back on the moon.
“We are all part of something incredibly special,” Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, the launch director, said to her team at the Kennedy Space Center after the launch. “The first launch of Artemis. The first step in returning our country to the moon and on to Mars.”
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Liftoff of Artemis I! NASA’s Space Launch System becomes the most powerful rocket in history to successfully achieve orbit. pic.twitter.com/SEOXAlnG27
— Michael Baylor (@nextspaceflight) November 16, 2022
We are going.
— NASA (@NASA) November 16, 2022