NASA's massive moon mission is back at the pad for its departure from Earth.
The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket topped with an Orion spacecraft rolled out from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida a little before midnight EDT (0400 GMT) on Friday (Nov. 4).
Artemis 1 is scheduled for a Nov. 14 launch date to the moon after numerous attempts before. NASA officials said in a pre-rollout press conference Wednesday (Nov. 13) that they have overcome the glitches that plagued previous attempts.
Fisheye view of Artemis 1 leaving shelter
The Artemis 1 stack departs the NASA Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly Building on Nov. 4, 2022.
Rocket in a door
Artemis 1's stack is framed by the doorway of NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center on Nov. 4, 2022.
Artemis 1 has left the building
Artemis 1 emerges from NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center on Nov. 4, 2022.
Something in the water
Reflections of the Artemis 1 stack (right) and NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building (left) glow in the water at the Kennedy Space Center during rollout Nov. 4, 2022.
NASA's Artemis 1 stack glows in the dark during rollout at the Kennedy Space Center on Nov. 4, 2022.
Moving towards the light
NASA's Artemis 1 stack is backdropped by artificial light glow during rollout at the Kennedy Space Center on Nov. 4, 2022.
All along the watch towers
NASA's Artemis 1 stack approaches the launch towers of Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center on Nov. 4, 2022.
Scaffolding holding the Artemis 1 stack to its crawler is visible during rollout at the NASA Kennedy Space Center on Nov. 4, 2022.
Don't stop, it will soon be here
Launch pad lights illuminate the Artemis 1 stack as it rolls on to Launch Pad 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Nov. 4, 2022.
Running up that hill
NASA's Artemis 1 stack gradually climbs on to Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center on Nov. 4, 2022.
The long and winding road
Crushed gravel at NASA's Kennedy Space Center marks the roadway where Artemis 1 traveled on its way to the launch pad on Nov. 4, 2022.
"If we weren't confident, we wouldn't roll out. If we weren't confident, we wouldn't start the countdown when we do so. We're confident moving forward," said Jim Free, associate administrator of the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C, at the press conference.
Artemis 1 has now concluded its fourth journey to the pad, after having made excursions in March and June for prelaunch fueling tests and a third one in mid-August to try to head to space. Various issues with past launches prevented it from making it to the moon, and the stack last returned to the VAB in late September to shelter from Hurricane Ian and for minor maintenance, repairs and tests.
The mission will be the first flight for the SLS and the second for Orion, with Artemis 1 putting an uncrewed spacecraft around the moon and back. If all goes well, Artemis 2 will launch astronauts around the moon in 2024 or so, and Artemis 3 will send astronauts to the surface for a landing mission after another year or two.
Elizabeth Howell is the co-author of "Why Am I Taller?" (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book about space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.
Get the Space.com Newsletter
Breaking space news, the latest updates on rocket launches, skywatching events and more!
Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace