Tonight (for Australians), NASA’s next-generation mega-rocket is set to blast off on a crucial test flight to the Moon.
The organisation says things remain on track, despite a series of lightning strikes at the launch pad.
If it goes ahead, it will be a giant leap in NASA’s renewed lunar ambitions with the debut launch of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion crew capsule it’s designed to carry.
The empty crew capsule will be sent into lunar orbit, a half-century after NASA’s Apollo program landed 12 astronauts on the moon.
Astronauts could return to the Moon in a few years if this six-week test flight goes well. NASA officials caution, however, that the risks are high and the flight could be cut short.
Today’s two-hour launch window opens at 8:33am EDT on August 29 (that’s 10:33pm AEST tonight).