NASA one step closer to returning to moon

The last time an astronaut walked on the moon was in 1972 during Apollo 17 mission, and now almost 50 years later, NASA is getting ready to get boots back on the lunar surface.

"Everyone is proud of where we have gotten to and where we are going," said Cliff Lanham, NASA’s senior vehicle operations manager.

NASA is targeting February for the launch of their powerful space launch system, or SLS. Last Wednesday, engineers stacked the crew capsule on top of its mega launcher at Kennedy Space Center.

The stacking marks the completion of a major milestone for the agency and its countdown to launch. 

"It is important to understand how the hardware works in space before humans get on it. Almost all human space systems have flown in an automated fashion before they put humans on it so we need to make sure the rocket performs as expected before we decide to risk humans," said Dr. Don Platt, an associate professor of space systems at Florida Tech.

It’s all part of the Artemis program. The rocket and capsule combo will take astronauts to the moon one day and NASA thinks it could happen as early as 2024.

"I think everybody has a stake in this and if it is successful it will be a benefit to pretty much all of the country and most of the world as well," said Platt.

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