To the moon--after 50 years, we're finally going back! Watch the first launch of NASA's tallest and most powerful rocket set off to the moon and back in its first test. The mission prepares us to build the Gateway orbitting outpost and eventually establish a permanent lunar base.

  • Rocket: Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, Block 1
  • Boosters: Two solid-fuel, side-mounted booster motors (SRBs)
  • Payload: Orion spacecraft (uncrewed) plus 10 small CubeSats
  • Destination: Distant retrograde orbit (DRO) around our Moon, then back to Earth
  • Launch site: LC-39B, Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, FL
  • Launch window: Aug 29, 2022 8:33 a.m. EDT (1233 GMT) for 120 minutes ...with backup dates on Sept 3 and Sept 5
  • Mission duration: 42 days, 3 hours, 20 minutes
  • Total distance traveled: 1.3 million miles
  • Re-entry speed: 24,500 mph (Mach 32)
  • Splashdown: Oct 10, 2022
  • Splashdown site: Pacific Ocean

Image credit: NASA