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NASA's Artemis rocket lifts off on test flight to moon

Three-week journey will take crewless Orion capsule around Earth's neighbor

NASA's next-generation moon rocket, the Space Launch System, with the Orion crew capsule, lifts off at Cape Canaveral, Florida, in the U.S. on Nov. 16.   © Reuters

CAPE CANAVERAL, U.S. (Reuters) -- NASA's towering next-generation moon rocket blasted off from Florida early on Wednesday on its debut flight, a crewless voyage inaugurating the U.S. space agency's Artemis exploration program 50 years after the final Apollo moon mission.

The 32-story Space Launch System (SLS) rocket surged off the launch pad from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral at 1:47 a.m. EST (0647 GMT), to send its Orion capsule on a three-week test journey around the moon and back without astronauts aboard.

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