The agency plans to launch the most powerful rocket ever built on Jan. 17, according to NASA. It will be the first launch of the Space Launch System, which they plan to use for non-commercial human spaceflight.
It is the centerpiece of the Artemis program, a new mission to land on the moon. During this first launch, however, only the liquid-fueled engines in the rocket’s core will be tested, without the solid-fuel boosters that will one day propel the SLS into orbit.
At 98 meters tall, the SLS is a head shorter than the 10-meter Saturn V rockets that took astronauts to the moon in the 1960s and 1970s. But this rocket is much more powerful, giving 15 percent more thrust on takeoff and ascent. The SLS will be able to deliver more than 27 tons of cargo to the moon, far more than the 24 tons on the powerful space shuttles.