NASA’s Space Launch System rocket lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday as part of the Artemis mission to explore the Moon in preparation for missions to Mars.

Eight and a half minutes into flight, the core stage completed its mission and separated from the upper stage of the rocket, sending NASA’s Orion spacecraft on its first journey around the Moon.

“Today, this country now has a super-heavy lift launch capability for the first time in 50 years,” said Jim Chilton, senior vice president of Boeing’s Space and Launch division.

“This test flight was a demonstration of engineering innovation, and we are ready to support NASA and their international partners in returning humans to deep space exploration.”

‘Beautiful launch – visually and technically’

“It was an absolutely beautiful launch – visually and technically,” said John Shannon, vice president and programme manager of Boeing’s SLS programme.

“This rocket controls incredible forces while speeding through the atmosphere. It performed the mission as we designed it to do, and we thank our team and partners for all their hard work in making this first launch a success.”
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