NASA's mighty Artemis 1 rocket finally launches

It's now following an elliptical orbit around Earth.

Joe Skipper / reuters

NASA's mighty Artemis 1 rocket has launched for the first time, lighting up the Kennedy Space Center as it powered into space toward the moon. It has passed through key milestones including max Q, solid rocket booster jettison, spacecraft adapter separation and SLS first stage separation without issue. All four primary solar arrays have also deployed, so the flight is nominal around 30 minutes after launch.

Artemis is now following an elliptical orbit around Earth, which will become more circular ahead of the trans-lunar injection burn that will take it toward the moon.

The original post is below.

NASA is once again preparing to launch Artemis 1 after technical issues and hurricanes upended previous attempts. The next launch window for the uncrewed test flight around the moon will be open for two hours, starting at 1:04AM ET on November 16th. In case NASA has to scrub it once again, the agency has scheduled another backup launch window, which opens at 1:45AM on November 19th.

The agency had penciled in a launch attempt for November 14th, but Hurricane Nicole forced a slight delay to those plans. NASA kept the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft on the launch pad as the hurricane battered the Kennedy Space Center. They sustained minor damage, but not enough to force a lengthier delay.

NASA first tried to send Artemis 1 into space on August 29th, but engine issues and a hydrogen fuel leak forced the agency to scrub the initial launch attempts. The next stab at a launch in late September didn't work out either. NASA took the SLS and Orion back to the Vehicle Assembly Building to protect them from Hurricane Ian. Here's hoping NASA can finally send them on their way this time.

You can watch a livestream of the latest launch attempt below. Alternatively, you can watch the launch in virtual reality. If you happen to be in Florida or the south east region of Georgia, you may be able to see the SLS and Orion soar into the skies by going outside, if conditions are favorable enough.

Update 11/16/2022 2:25AM ET: And, liftoff! Artemis has launched toward the moon, with the mission running nominally so far, about a half hour into launch. The post has been updated with the most recent information.