Early this morning (Eastern Time) NASA’s new 322-foot-tall Artemis I moon rocket blasted off on a 25-day unmanned test flight that will take the Orion crew capsule around the moon and back.
The Orion capsule will orbit the moon, coming within about 80 miles of its surface, before returning to Earth on December 11 for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off San Diego, California.
Technical difficulties and weather had thwarted previous Artemis launch attempts. This launch also had its share of drama. Late in the countdown, three technicians had to go out to the launch pad to fix a hydrogen leak. They tightened some bolts on a valve at the bottom of the dangerous, fully fueled rocket and that fixed the problem. If wrenches and elbow grease hadn’t worked, I wonder if duct tape was the next option.😄
Congratulations to NASA for a successful launch, and best wishes for the rest of the mission. If all goes well, Artemis will take humans around the moon in 2024 and land them there perhaps as soon as 2025.