NASA says it has finished testing its huge moon rocket. The space agency said Thursday it will move the 30-story rocket back to the launch pad in Florida in late August.
A date for the first flight will be set after a leak that popped up during a dress rehearsal is fixed. Earlier this week, NASA fueled the rocket for the first time and pressed ahead with a critical countdown test despite a fuel line leak. The debut flight will hurl an empty Orion capsule to the moon. Astronauts will follow and will attempt to land on the moon no earlier than 2025.
No one will be on board the debut launch that will hurl the Orion crew capsule atop the rocket to the moon and back. The initial flight will be followed by astronauts in 2024, looping around the moon and back. The third mission would attempt to land astronauts on the moon no earlier than 2025, more than a half-century after NASA’s Apollo moonshots.