50 years after Apollo, Artemis I lifts off

One small step has been made in the return to the moon as Artemis I blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Wednesday.

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The lift off was successful after several delays, including hydrogen fuel leaks, system issues and two hurricanes, pushed back the missions, CBS News reported.

Originally, the Artemis mission was supposed to launch in 2017.

The project also went over budget by billions of dollars, The Associated Press reported.

The rocket fired at 1:47 a.m. with about 15,000 people watching at the site and in less than two hours, its planned escape from the Earth’s orbit happened to send the Orion capsule to the moon, CBS News reported.

The launch was delayed for about 43 minutes after a leak was found in a hydrogen valve and because of an issue that interrupted radar tracking data, according to CBS News.

The rocket will be in space for the next three weeks with test dummies taking the place of astronauts. The crew capsule will fly in a wide orbit around the moon by Monday before it splashes down in the Pacific in December, the AP reported.

The program was named Artemis after Apollo’s twin sister from mythology, appropriate since this is the first time NASA has attempted to return to the moon since the end of the Apollo missions in 1975.

NASA said the reason it is going back to the moon is “for scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new generation of explorers: the Artemis Generation. While maintaining American leadership in exploration, we will build a global alliance and explore deep space for the benefit of all.”

Artemis II is targeted to send four astronauts to circle the moon in 2024 and plans to land there in 2025 during the Artemis III mission, with extended plans of building a base on the moon in the late 2030s or early 2040s.

The current mission will last 25 days, which is what NASA expects will be the durationwhen astronauts are on board.

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