After technical setbacks and nasty weather scrubbed several launch dates earlier this year, NASA was finally able to take the first small step in its $93 billion giant leap that it hopes will send astronauts back to the moon. Space experts say the successful launch of Artemis I was possible thanks to a renewed – and overdue – public interest in the space program driven by competition from China and private investment from billionaires such as Elon Musk.
The world's most powerful rocket lifted off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center at 1:47 a.m. on Wednesday, launching an unmanned – for now – astronaut capsule, called Orion, on a planned course to fly past the Moon and back over the next 26 days. The module is scheduled to splash down in the Pacific Ocean near California on Dec. 11, marking a major milestone for the stumbling space agency.
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