Return to the moon: Nasa launches it's Artemis 1 rocket in 'historic mission for mankind'

16 November 2022, 08:46 | Updated: 16 November 2022, 09:34

The Artemis 1 rocket lifting off
The Artemis 1 rocket lifting off. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

NASA's Artemis 1, the most powerful rocket in history, launched on Wednesday on its way to the moon.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Artemis 1's lift-off had been delayed by two hurricanes that swept across the Florida launchpad over recent months.

The 1.3 million mile journey to the moon and back is set to take 25 days. Artemis 1 will land again on December 11.

NASA launches Artemis, its biggest ever rocket

The 100-metre tall Artemis 1 has no astronauts on board, although it does have three mannequins and a Snoopy soft toy, as well as life-preservation equipment to be tested in space.

Part of the rocket, the most powerful ever with 8.8 million pounds of thrust, will come just 100km from the surface of the moon at its closest.

Artemis I Launches After Several Failed Attempts
Artemis I Launches After Several Failed Attempts. Picture: Getty
Artemis I Launch
Artemis I Launch. Picture: Getty

The rocket will be the first deep-space, crew-capable mission in about 50 years - and, if successful, will pave the way for two further manned missions.

Nasa plans for Artemis 2 and Artemis 3 to take human astronauts to and from the moon.

Artemis 3, originally scheduled for 2025 but now expected to slip back, will be the first crewed lunar landing since 1972, when Apollo 17 touched down on the moon.

Artemis 3 will bring the first female astronaut to the moon, with the Apollo missions only crewed by men.

NASA Prepares For Belated Launch Of Artemis I Orion Spacecraft
NASA Prepares For Belated Launch Of Artemis I Orion Spacecraft. Picture: Getty
NASA Prepares For Belated Launch Of Artemis I Orion Spacecraft
NASA Prepares For Belated Launch Of Artemis I Orion Spacecraft. Picture: Getty

Later Artemis missions will also be crewed by the first astronaut who is a person of colour, Nasa said.

One of the key issues Nasa wants to learn with the unmanned mission is whether the heat shield can cope with the extremely high temperatures when it re-enters the atmosphere.

The shield on its underside must cope with temperatures approaching 3,000 degrees celsius.

Artemis 1 was given the go-ahead at 1.47am local time (6.47am UK time) on Wednesday.

NASA Prepares For Belated Launch Of Artemis I Orion Spacecraft
NASA Prepares For Belated Launch Of Artemis I Orion Spacecraft. Picture: Getty
People watch the rocket lift off
People watch the rocket lift off. Picture: Getty

Speaking after the lift-off, Nasa administrator Bill Nelson said: "That's the biggest flame I've ever seen. It's the most acoustical shockwave that I have ever experienced."

Wednesday's launch comes after abortive lift-off attempts in August and September that were scrapped because of treatment malfunctions. Then Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole in October and November forced Nasa to push the launch back further.

Jim Free, Nasa’s associate administrator for exploration systems development, said: “Even at the final decision poll there was discussion about, ‘Hey, let’s make sure we’re understanding and talking through all the issues.’

"I can tell you that the team absolutely did that. The group that cares the most about this rocket is the group making those decisions. I would never expect, nor have I ever heard, any overconfidence or cavalier nature.”

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

The Israeli Iron Dome air defence system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran

Israel hails ‘success’ in blocking Iran’s unprecedented attack

Rishi Sunak confirmed a number of Iranian drones attacking Israel were shot down by RAF jets.

RAF jets shot down ‘a number’ of Iranian drones attacking Israel, Rishi Sunak says

A demonstrator waves Iranian and Palestinian flags during an anti-Israeli gathering at the Felestin (Palestine) Square in Tehran, Iran

What is the fallout from Iran’s attack on Israel?

Disability advocate Charlotte Anderson advises people on how to apply for PIP.

YouTuber who fills out PIP applications for £650 each says she has ‘only ever lost one claim in six years’

Planning documents show the owners of the pub want to rebuild it in a new location.

Owners of Crooked House agree to rebuild ‘Britain’s wonkiest pub’ - providing it's in a new location

Joe Biden has reaffirmed the US's commitment to defending Israel's security.

Biden reaffirms ‘ironclad support' of Israel as he plans G7 meeting to coordinate ‘diplomatic response to Iran attack’

The IDF said over 300 weapons were fired by Iran.

‘Together we will win’: Netanyahu vows to fight off attacks from Iran after over 300 drones and missiles fired at Israel

Israeli's military have fought off a massive Iranian drone and missile attack - downing more than 200 weapons launched by the hostile state with the help of ace RAF pilots.

Israel fights off massive Iran attack - downing over 200 missiles and drones with help of RAF

Plans have been drawn up for an evacuation of Brits from the Middle East. Defence Secretary Grant Shapps (l) and protesters outside the British Embassy in Tehran (r)

Brits living in the Middle East could be rescued by the Royal Marines in 'Dunkirk-style' evacuation

The knifeman who killed six people in a rampage at a Sydney shopping centre has been named as 40-year-old Joel Cauchi (left)

Pictured: Sydney knifeman, 40, who killed six people before being shot dead by brave policewoman

Iranian drones and missiles have arrived in Israel with explosions in the skies - as officials warn of a "significant response" to the massive attack.

Explosions in skies and sirens across Jerusalem amid Iranian attack - as Israel warns of 'significant response'

USS Bataan which is heading to the Eastern Mediterranean (main) and Joe Biden (r)

US sends amphibious warship and 2,500 Marines into the Eastern Mediterranean after Iran attacks Israel

US and UK forces are helping defend Israel from Iranian drones and missiles after a massive attack was launched.

British and American jets 'shoot down Iranian drones' as Rishi Sunak slams Iran for 'reckless' attack against Israel

President Biden is holding an emergency national security meeting as the US prepares its response to Iran's drone and missile attack on Israel.

President Biden holds high-stakes emergency meeting as Iran launches full-scale attack on Israel

Iron Dome Rocket Interceptions of Hamas Rockets- Southern Israel- Night Attack On Ashdod City

Israel closes airspace as it braces for Iranian drone attack

Iranian attack drones are 'en route to Israel', according to an Israeli Defence Force spokesperson.

Iran launches massive drone and missile attack on Israel as war in Middle East escalates