One Year Ago: Artemis I Lifts Off

NASA's Space Launch System lifts off from the launch pad, illuminating the ground with a bright white light that bounces off of clouds of smoke. Pictured on the left side of this image is the liquid hydrogen "flare stack" where vented liquid hydrogen is burned off safely.
NASA / Kevin Davis and Chris Coleman

In this photo, NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), carrying the Orion spacecraft, lifts off the pad at Launch Complex 39B at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 1:47 a.m. EST on Nov. 16, 2022. Set on a path to the Moon, this officially began the Artemis I mission.

Over the course of 25.5 days, Orion performed two lunar flybys, coming within 80 miles (129 kilometers) of the lunar surface. At its farthest distance during the mission, Orion traveled nearly 270,000 miles (435,000 kilometers) from our home planet. On Dec. 11, 2022, NASA’s Orion spacecraft successfully completed a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean at 12:40 p.m. EST as the final major milestone of the Artemis I mission.

Artemis I was the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration at the Moon and future missions to Mars. Following the success of Artemis I, humans will fly around the Moon on Artemis II.

Image Credit: NASA/Kevin Davis and Chris Coleman

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