NASA's colossal next-generation rocketship was set for its long-awaited debut launch on Monday on an uncrewed, six-week test flight around the moon and back, marking the first mission of the space agency's Artemis program, successor to Apollo.
The 32-story-tall, two-stage Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and its Orion crew capsule were due for blast-off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, during a two-hour launch window opening at 8:33 a.m. EDT (1233 GMT).
The maiden voyage of the SLS-Orion, a mission dubbed Artemis I, is intended to put the 5.75-million-pound vehicle through its paces in a rigorous demonstration flight, pushing its design limits, before NASA deems it reliable enough to carry astronauts.
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