NASA's Orion spacecraft atop the Space Launch System moon rocket, with its European service module. Photographer Stephen Clark
The first unpiloted mission for NASA's Artemis lunar programme will test the function of a human-rated spacecraft travelling more than 40,000 miles beyond the far side
All of this is being done to collect data and boost confidence in NASA's new 322-foot-tall (98-meter) Space Launch System moon rocket
The first Artemis mission, Artemis 1, is scheduled to launch Saturday from Florida's Kennedy Space Center during a two-hour launch window that begins at 2:17 p.m.
"We're stressing and testing this thing in ways you'd never do with humans on board, and that's the point," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said.
The first launch attempt for the Artemis 1 mission was cancelled on Monday due to a number of technical issues
including a now-resolved hydrogen leak and data indicating that one of the rocket's main engines was not cooling down as designed