Following the retirement of the space shuttle program in 2011, NASA was ordered by Congress to develop a new human space exploration program to return to the moon, permanently, and use it as a staging point for future Mars missions. The new program is named Artemis, after Apollo's twin sister and goddess of the moon in Greek Mythology, and the first moon mission is Artemis-1.

Artemis is not Apollo, the technology is 50 years better and the missions will be longer, with more crew, with modern vehicles, and with a space station orbiting the moon that astronauts can use to go to and from the lunar surface. But before all that is Artemis-1, an uncrewed flight test of the new SLS rocket and Orion Spacecraft.

The month-long mission will put Orion through its paces and test everything, to make sure it all works as NASA intends, sending the spacecraft into orbit around the moon from 62 miles above the surface to over 40,000, before bringing Orion back to Earth for a 25,000 mph reentry thought the atmosphere and gentle parachute splashdown off the coast of Southern California. 

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