EXPLAINER: NASA tests new moon rocket, 50 years after Apollo

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This combination of photos shows the Saturn V rocket with Apollo 12's spacecraft aboard on the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in 1969, left. At right is NASA's new moon rocket for the Artemis program with the Orion spacecraft on top at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on March 18, 2022. Liftoff for the first Artemis mission is set for Monday, Aug. 29, 2022. (AP Photo)


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA’s new moon rocket makes its debut next week in a high-stakes test flight before astronauts get on top. The 322-foot rocket will attempt to send an empty crew capsule into a far-flung lunar orbit. If all goes well, astronauts could strap in as soon as 2024. Liftoff from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center is set for Monday morning.

The launch comes 50 years after NASA’s famed Apollo moonshots.


The price tag for this single mission exceeds $4 billion. The entire program will have set NASA back $93 billion by the time astronauts are back on the moon.