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NASA scientists and engineers have spent the last week-and-a-half preparing the giant, 322-feet-tall “Space Launch System” (SLS) rocket for lift-off on Pad 39B. The mission is expected to take around 42 days to complete — looping repeatedly around the Moon — with the Orion spacecraft planned to ultimately splash down in the ocean near Baja, California, on October 10. The craft — bearing three radiation-measuring “phantoms”, including two female torsos and one life-size male manikin — will pass as close to the lunar surface as 62 miles, but also journey out some 40,000 miles beyond the Moon before it returns to Earth. A key goal of the test flight, in fact, will be to test that the heat shield on the “Orion” space capsule is capable of surviving atmospheric re-entry.
NASA press secretary Stephanie Schierholz said: “Artemis I will be an uncrewed flight test.”
The launch, she added, “will provide a foundation for deep-space exploration and demonstrate our commitment to extend human existence to the moon, and on to Mars.”
Artemis I is to be the first in a series of “increasingly complex” lunar missions.
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Good Morning. I’m Ian Randall and I’ll be bringing you the latest on today’s Artemis I mission launch for the next six hours.
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