The Artemis 1 moon rocket gets the space station flyover in a stunning NASA photo
A new serene photo from NASA captured two spacecraft at dusk, one in orbit and one on Earth, as the agency tested its new Artemis 1 moon rocket.
The photo, taken by photographer Joel Kowsky, shows the agency’s Artemis 1 moon rocket, the space launch system’s first booster, as it sat on launch pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 8. Above, a faint streak in the sky is the International Space Station, which orbits 418 km above Earth.
Kowsky took the photo using a 30-second exposure and a Nikon D6 camera, according to a description of the NASA photo. The SLS rocket is a little hard to make out in the image as it is partially obscured by the overexposed reflectors of its launch pad, but the stunning twilight colors ranging from deep pink-orange to night black make up for it.
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NASA took the SLS rocket to the launch pad in March for a critical countdown and refueling test known as a “costume test” ahead of the planned Artemis 1 mission to the moon later this year. The test started on April 1st but did not go smoothly.
NASA attempted to power the rocket three separate times, only to cancel each attempt due to technical problems. A faulty valve on the Artemis 1 stack launch tower is the cause of the last delay.
The Artemis 1 mission is an unmanned test flight that will launch an Orion spacecraft full of experiments and dummies around the moon. If the flight goes well, NASA will launch the first astronauts on an SLS rocket in 2024 on the Artemis 2 mission, which will also fly around the moon. The next mission, Artemis 3, will transport astronauts to land near the moon’s south pole in 2025 or 2026, NASA said.