NASA has released video captured by a camera aboard the Space Launch System lunar rocket showing a fiery separation of the rocket’s two strap-on boosters shortly after launch.
The camera, attached to the core stage of the 100-meter rocket, filmed the two solid-fuel boosters that helped lift the rocket off the ground during its milestone launch on November 16, falling off, flaming. The separation occurred two minutes and 11 seconds after the rocket lifted off into the night from a Kennedy Space Center launch pad at 1:47 a.m. EST (0647 GMT).
The successful launch came after several delays due to technical difficulties and bad weather in Florida, less than a week after the rocket survived a 75 mph (120 km/h) lashing by sustained winds during Tropical Storm Nicole.
Related: NASA’s Artemis 1 Moon Mission: Live Updates
The successful launch marked the beginning of the Artemis 1 missionwhat is testing NASA’s Orion spaceship on a debut uncrewed tour to the Moon before it is allowed to carry astronauts. The mission has been successful so far without any significant problems. On Wednesday (November 23), NASA briefly lost contact with Orion for unknown reasons, but the problem was resolved after 47 minutes.
The two boosters were the first parts of the rocket to separate after launch. Just a minute later, SLS fell off the fairing that protected the Orion during launch and the launch abort system. The rocket’s giant core stage fell off eight minutes after launch, leaving only the upper stage attached to Orion, which was able to spread its solar wings at the time. Nearly an hour after launch, Orion ditched the upper stage and single-handedly embarked on its milestone journey to the moon.
Since then, the capsule has performed three burns using the main engine to put itself on a trajectory to enter a high orbit around Earth’s natural satellite on Saturday (Nov. 25). Along the way, the capsule made one close pass above the lunar surfacewatch the moon from an altitude of only 130 kilometers.
On Tuesday (Nov. 26), Orion surpasses the record for greatest distance from Soil achieved by a human-rated spacecraft. The record of 248,655 miles (400,171 km) was set by the Apollo 13 mission in 1970 during a rescue mission helping the crew return home after an onboard explosion made the original moon landing mission impossible. On Monday (Nov. 26), Orion will set a new record at 268,554 miles (432,194 km) from Earth. The capsule will return to Earth on Dec. 11, crashing into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California.