NASA’s Artemis programme aims to establish a presence on the moon in order to get ready for expeditions to Mars, five decades after the agency’s last manned lunar mission.
In order to get it ready for its first launch, the American space agency Nasa has rolled out its enormous new Moon rocket.
The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which is scheduled to launch on August 29th, was shifted to Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Future missions will transport people back to the lunar surface for the first time in more than 50 years. The initial launch is a test with no crew aboard.
The over 100m (328ft) tall SLS was transported to the pad by a massive tractor.
It began moving from its assembly plant at Kennedy just before twilight on Tuesday (local time), and it was finished travelling the 6.7 kilometres (4.2 miles) by just before dawn on Wednesday.
Elon Musk, an American space entrepreneur, is constructing an even bigger vehicle at his research and development facility in Texas while Nasa is working on the SLS.
He calls it the Starship, and it will be used in upcoming Artemis missions to connect with Orion and transport astronauts to the Moon’s surface.
Starship has not yet made its first flight, like SLS. Because Starship was created to be completely reusable, it should run at a much lower cost than SLS.
The first four SLS flights would each cost more than $4 billion to complete, according to a recent evaluation by the Office of Inspector General, which audits NASA programmes. This kind of money was deemed to be “unsustainable.”