The historic Artemis I mission took flight in the early hours of Wednesday morning after months of anticipation. The milestone event kicked off a journey that will send an uncrewed spacecraft around the moon, paving the way for NASA to return astronauts to the lunar surface for the first time in half a century, CNN reports.
The towering, 98-meter-tall Space Launch System, or SLS, rocket lit its engines at 1:47 a.m. ET. It emitted up to 4.1 million kilogramsof thrust to haul itself off the launchpad in Florida and into the air, streaking vibrantly across the night sky.
Atop the rocket is the Orion spacecraft, a gumdrop-shaped capsule that broke away from the rocket after reaching space. Orion is designed to carry humans, but its passengers for this test mission are of the inanimate variety, including some mannequins collecting vital data to help future live crews.