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NASA’s Artemis I mission: everything to know about the big launch

The Space Launch System is finally ready for its big debut.

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NASA’s oft-delayed Space Launch System, or SLS, is finally ready for launch. The megarocket is designed to launch vehicles into deep space, and its first mission is called Artemis I. NASA is sending an uncrewed Orion space capsule deep into space and into a long orbit around the Moon before coming back to Earth.

It’s taken an extremely long time for the SLS to get to this point. It was scheduled to take off on its debut flight on August 29th, 2022, but its big entrance has since been scrubbed twice, rescheduled multiple times, and faced down two hurricanes. It was originally supposed to launch in 2017 but has suffered mishaps and mismanagement, leading to many delays. It’s also vastly over budget; developing the rocket cost a stunning $11 billion, and it will cost an estimated $4.1 billion per launch.

The rocket is designed to usher in a new generation of deep space exploration and may eventually carry human explorers farther into space than we’ve ever gone before. But first, it will have to get off the ground. Check back here for the latest stories as SLS launches and the Artemis I mission gets underway.