(Washington, DC)—Today, Artemis I, the first integrated Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion crew vehicle, successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, beginning its four to six-week mission. The Artemis I mission is an uncrewed flight test that will demonstrate the performance of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft that will eventually carry astronauts to and from deep space destinations. The mission will test our capabilities to orbit the Moon and return to Earth and will build a foundation for future human exploration of deep space. 

“Today’s Artemis I launch success is a big step forward for human space exploration,” said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). “Thanks to the hard work of everyone at NASA and their partners, we are one step closer to achieving our goal of returning American astronauts to the Moon. As Chairwoman of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, I was thrilled to witness this long-awaited milestone today. I have been a steadfast supporter of our human space exploration program, and I look forward to our nation’s return to the Moon in preparation for future human missions to Mars. Artemis I is an extraordinary product of American ingenuity and collaboration. Every state in the U.S. has had a part in helping to build Artemis, and their efforts will help to ensure we remain leaders in space exploration. Congratulations to NASA, its employees, and its international and contractor partners on this launch success. I wish you all the best of luck and look forward to watching this mission unfold.”

“Today is a historic occasion,” said Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK). “For the first time in more than a generation, we launched an American ship to the Moon. It’s the first step towards returning Americans to the Moon and eventually beginning our crewed journey to Mars. The Artemis program has been a high priority for the Science Committee, and I’m so proud to see it come to fruition. American leadership in space is so much bigger than just hitting milestones. It enables scientific research, drives technological innovation, and provides inspiration for our next generation of scientists and engineers. American space leadership ensures exploration is conducted openly and in collaboration with our allies, and it allows scientific discoveries to be shared globally. Artemis I is the start of the next era of human space exploration, and I’m incredibly proud of NASA and the many talented people who made this launch possible.”

“The successful launch of Artemis I is an incredible, historic moment for NASA and for the United States,” said Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairman Don Beyer (D-VA). “I still remember the sense of wonder and awe we felt as a nation watching the exploits of the Mercury Seven, the progress of Project Gemini, and the incredible achievements of the Apollo program. NASA and our space program are providing that sense of wonder all over again with Artemis, the Perseverance and Ingenuity missions on Mars, the launch and deployment of the James Webb Space Telescope, and so much more. With today’s launch, Artemis I is on course to complete successful tests of the integrated Space Launch System and the Orion crew module, which will take us back to the Moon and lay the groundwork for the human exploration of Mars. I send my profound thanks and congratulations to all at NASA and their partners whose tireless efforts over more than a decade made this possible, and look forward to continued work in Congress to support their work.”

“Over 60 years ago, America launched the most daring exploration program mankind had ever seen, cementing our leadership in space,” said Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Ranking Member Brian Babin (R-TX). “Today, we once again capture the world’s attention by venturing back to the Moon with the pursuit of going even further, where no one has gone before. Our successful launch of Artemis I is a remarkable feat made possible by so many brilliant minds across the country, including hard-working men and women at Johnson Space Center. As a longtime supporter of the Artemis program, I want to congratulate everyone involved in this launch and wish you a successful mission. Today, we go to the Moon. Tomorrow, to Mars and beyond.”