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The first step toward returning to the Moon

SLS rocket takes off from Florida launchpad on November 16


At 1:47 a.m. local time on November 16, the Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket in use today, took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA, launching the Orion spacecraft on a trip around the moon. After entering Earth’s orbit, Orion detached itself from the launch system and activated its own engines to enter a trajectory towards the planet’s natural satellite. On a trip expected to last nearly 26 days, the spacecraft will circle the Moon a few times before returning to Earth and landing in the Pacific Ocean on December 11. The unmanned Orion mission is the first stage of NASA’s Artemis program, which plans to take human beings back to the Moon within the next few years. The last time an astronaut stepped foot on the Moon was in December 1972.