NASA's uncrewed Artemis moon mission is due to launch in February, following delays caused by the pandemic and Hurricane Ida

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An artist’s illustration depicts Artemis astronauts on the moon. NASA via AP
  • NASA announced its Artemis 1 uncrewed mission to the moon is aiming for liftoff in February 2022.

  • The flight was originally scheduled to launch in November this year.

  • The mission aims to pave the way for future crewed lunar missions for the first time since 1972.

NASA announced it is aiming to launch its uncrewed flight to the moon in February 2022.

The Artemis 1 mission was originally scheduled to launch in November, but delays caused by the pandemic and Hurricane Ida have led to the postponement.

The US space agency said on Friday it completed stacking the Orion crew capsule atop its Space Launch System rocket, which now stands at 322 feet tall inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Insider's Morgan McFall-Johnsen reported the moon rocket is taller than the Statue of Liberty. The system has to be that large to produce enough thrust to push its Orion spaceship all the way around the moon - 1,000 times farther than the International Space Station.

"It's hard to put into words what this milestone means, not only to us here at Exploration Ground Systems, but to all the incredibly talented people who have worked so hard to help us get to this point," said Mike Bolger, Exploration Ground Systems program manager.

"Our team has demonstrated tremendous dedication preparing for the launch of Artemis I. While there is still work to be done to get to launch, with continued integrated tests and Wet Dress Rehearsal, seeing the fully stacked SLS is certainly a reward for all of us," he added.

According to NASA, the Artemis 1 mission will pave the way for a future flight test involving a crew, before more complex missions with astronauts take place on and around the moon.

The mission is part of the agency's Artemis program, a series of missions to return people to the moon for the first time since 1972. The plan calls for a crewed lunar landing in 2024.

After the uncrewed Artemis 1 flight, Artemis 2 would be the first crewed test of Orion and the SLS rocket, Insider previously reported.

In a lunar flyby, the Orion capsule would carry four astronauts around the moon's far side, which is almost a quarter of a million miles from Earth. That crew would go farther into deep space than any humans before them.

A new study revealed by NASA considered the possibility of building a lunar Wi-Fi network, the agency reported. It comes in an effort to address inadequate internet access across parts of the US and help inform future Artemis missions.

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