NASA’s Artemis 1 mission is finally headed towards the Moon

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NASA’s SLS takes off on its first flight. | NASA

With a roar that lit up the night sky, NASA sent its colossal next-generation rocket soaring into space for the first time on Wednesday. The Space Launch System rocket, or SLS, took off at 1:47AM ET from Cape Canaveral, Florida, signaling the start of a bold new era for the US government’s space program.

It also marks a major success for NASA’s Artemis program to return to the Moon, which has been plagued by years of delays, development mishaps, and billions of dollars in budget overruns. During the past few months both hurricanes and technical difficulties caused launch delays — including two scrubs. Then, tonight, engineers managed to fix both an intermittent hydrogen leak and a “bad ethernet switch” in the hours just before launch.

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