Space Launch System • Artemis I
November 12, 2022 at 11:06 a.m. EST
"We are all part of something incredibly special: The first launch of Artemis, the first step in returning our country to the moon and on to Mars. What you have done today will inspire generations to come." - Artemis launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson
An uncrewed test flight around the moon ahead of crewed missions in the coming years as the first step to returning humans to the lunar surface for the first time since 1972.
The inaugural launch of the most powerful NASA rocket ever built, more powerful than the Saturn V, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket generated 8.8 million pounds of thrust at liftoff with an uncrewed Orion spacecraft from Florida's Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39B to a distant retrograde orbit around the Moon for 25.5 days. Orion splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on December 11, 2022.