Washington: NASA’s new moon rocket arrived at the launch pad on Wednesday ahead of its debut flight in less than two weeks. The 98-meter rocket emerged from its mammoth hangar late Tuesday night, drawing crowds of Kennedy Space Center workers. NASA is aiming for an August 29 liftoff for the lunar test flight. There will be three mannequins – test dummies inside the crew capsule atop the rocket, swarming with sensors to measure radiation and vibration.
The capsule will fly around the moon in a distant orbit for a couple weeks, before heading back for a splashdown in the Pacific. The entire flight should last six weeks.
The flight is the first moonshot in NASA’s Artemis program. The space agency is aiming for a lunar-orbiting flight with astronauts in two years and a lunar landing by a human crew as early as 2025.