NASA’s new Artemis moon rocket blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on its debut flight with three test dummies aboard early Wednesday.
The launch brings the United States a big step closer to putting astronauts back on the lunar surface for the first time since the end of the Apollo program 50 years ago.
The moonshot follows nearly three months of vexing fuel leaks that kept the rocket bouncing between its hangar and the launch pad.
If all goes well with the three-week flight, the rocket will propel an empty crew capsule into a wide orbit around the moon.
The capsule will return to Earth with a splashdown in the Pacific in December.
NASA hopes to send four astronauts around the moon on the next flight, in 2024, and land humans there as early as 2025.
Some information for this report was provided by the Associated Press.