Artemis 1 is a historic mission, the first flight of the SLS rocket that will return humans to the Moon. For now, the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft are uncrewed, as this test mission will fly around the Moon and prove the systems that will carry humans in a few years time.
The rocket took flight at 1:47 a.m. ET on Wednesday, November 16. After previous attempts faced hydrogen leaks and delays, the sign of an intermittent hydrogen leak during the countdown put a slight damper on the otherwise cheerful mood at the Launch Complex 39 Press Site.
But NASA persevered, sending the red team out to the pad to fix the leak. With another issue addressed (this one a bad ethernet switch on the ground), NASA polled go for launch.
Liftoff of Artemis 1
Remote camera view of SLS
In addition to the picture of liftoff captured at the press site, we had sound-activated cameras set around the launchpad days in advance to capture the moment.
Artemis was an incredibly bright launch – with its five-segment SRBs basically turning night into day.
We still have some remote cameras out at the launch pad. The opportunity for media to pick up cameras inside the fence at LC-39B has been delayed for some ongoing pad-safeing operations.
SLS engine shots
In addition to these shots which are exposed relatively brightly – allowing the rocket and foreground to be seen due to the light of the flame – we had cameras set to capture detail in the flame itself. We call these engine shots. I had one camera set for a remote engine shot, and I had one video camera with me at the press site capturing a similar exposure. Jared Sanders captured an engine shot of SLS in flight from the press site as well.
Much later in flight, after SLS had arced over to follow the curvature of the Earth, the two SRBs that provided the majority of the rocket’s thrust had done their job. They were then separated from the rest of the rocket as the four RS-25 engines continued to power SLS.
Unlike with the shuttle, these SRBs will not be recovered and refurbished. They, along with the core stage and RS-25 engines, will fall into the ocean.
While we were able to capture these photos on-site, our Joe Wakefield was also able to capture excellent photos from a public viewing area – right near Max Brewer bridge.
Did you watch the SLS launch in person, or did you watch NASA’s coverage? Let us know in the comments, and if you happened to capture any photos of your own, we’d love to see them! Tag us on Twitter if you have photos you’d like us to see!