NASA's powerful new Space Launch System moon rocket rolled to the launch pad on Tuesday, ready to fly its first mission to the moon.

Standing taller than the Statue of Liberty and crowned with an Orion spaceship, the 23 story rocket was hoisted atop a crawler and rolled 4 miles through the dark to launch Pad 39B.

The trek took over 10 hours, starting at about 10 p.m. and lasting until about 3 a.m. The technicians were waiting for a storm to hit.

It took over ten hours for the rocket to reach the launchpad.
It took over ten hours for the rocket to reach the launchpad on August 17.
NASA/Joel Kowsky

NASA wanted to reestablish its presence on the moon. The goal of the Artemis program is to establish permanent bases on the moon and eventually send humans to Mars.

NASA wants to put boots on the lunar surface for the first time in 42 years in order to kick start the program.

The rocket is due to roar to life and scream through the Florida skies as soon as August 29.

The spaceship should fly a wide loop around the moon and plummet to the ocean on October 10.

NASA’s Space Launch System rocketas it is rolled up the ramp at Launch Pad 39B, on August 17, 2022, at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The moon rocket as it is rolled up the ramp and arrives at Launch Pad 39B on August 17.
NASA/Joel Kowsky

I'm a test. NASA needs to prove that SLS and Orion can do the job before astronauts are put on board.

Four car-sized engines and two rocket boosters should give the rocket enough thrust to push the spaceship all the way around the moon.

Artemis I will test the rocket and capsule's capabilities for carrying astronauts on a trip to the moon, even though there will be no one on board.

Bill Nelson, NASA's administrator, said at a press conference on August 3 that the Artemis generation is now underway. This is a new generation of astronauts and we were in the Apollo generation. We're here, folks, we're gazing up at the moon, dreaming of the day we'll return to the moon. The journey starts with Artemis I.

illustration show orange space launch system rocket lifting off
An illustration of the Space Launch System lifting off from the launchpad in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Four astronauts will be sent on the same lunar roundabout if the spaceship completes its mission. Artemis III would carry astronauts to the moon and land them on the moon.

The Artemis program is just the beginning. NASA wants to send astronauts to Mars eventually.