NASA's Space Launch System rocket lifts off on Wednesday morning from Kennedy Space Center.
Enlarge / NASA's Space Launch System rocket lifts off on Wednesday morning from Kennedy Space Center.

The skies were clear during the early hours of Wednesday, as the Artemis I mission prepared to lift off.

There were nine and eight seconds.

The constellation was named after the new deep space vehicle by NASA.

There are seven, six, and five.

The half moon was the location of the Artemis I mission.

There are four, three, two and one.

The night lights came not from the stars but from the moon. The rocket roared to life as its boosters pushed it upward. The exhaust from the rocket was reminiscent of Jack's giant beanstalk. The sound and fury of the Space Launch System could be heard after liftoff.

It was deafening for a short time. It was gone at that point.

The rocket pushed onward and upward, sending the capsule and module to the moon. For the first time in more than 50 years, a vehicle capable of carrying humans is on its way back to the moon. Four astronauts will be on the next flight.

A big win

This is the first time in a long time that NASA's human spaceflight program tasted success.

The last time the US space agency launched an Orbital rocket was in 2011. Since 1981 NASA has not flown a new rocket into space. NASA flew its first new rocket in more than 40 years on Wednesday.


The space agency has been quite lean since the space shuttle retired. With the end of the shuttle and the end of NASA's ability to put astronauts into space, the agency had to fight a perception that it had shut down. The Americans were not helped when they realized that the only way for them to reach space was by launching on a Russian rocket.

Over the last decade, NASA has come under fire for its deep space vehicles for humans, which were over budget and behind schedule. They were and this was due to NASA's management. NASA only had to answer the critics by putting their heads down, working harder, and flying safely.

The agency, which was once the darling of the world, had a mid-life crisis due to all of this. NASA's struggles and delays since the end of the shuttle exposed the reality that NASA is not the same agency that was able to land humans on the Moon in less than a decade.

Going to stay

More than 50 years ago, the agency had to explain why it was going back to the Moon. We've been there and done that. The Artemis II mission is similar to Apollo 8. The Artemis III mission will not be the same as Apollo 11.


This is not the same as previous times. There is a chance that there is ice at the South Pole. The agency has a plan to conduct long sorties on the moon. NASA wants to do all of the lunar exploration more sustainable with the help of commercial space companies. It may be possible for its astronauts to learn more about the lunar environment and living in deep space as they spend time on the moon.

When you have a rocket that looks like the Saturn V and a spaceship that looks like an Apollo capsule, it's hard to explain.

It will be simpler to explain. NASA had to talk about its deep space exploration program for a dozen years. Rather than telling people what you're going to do, it's easier to show them what you can do. NASA can point to this mission as the first step in its plan. It is more powerful than the 8.8 million pounds of thrust that went off the launch pad.

If everything goes according to plan, it will take about 25.5 days in space, testing out the system on the service module, and its ability to survive a long duration spaceflight before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.

The space agency is back.