In a high-risk test flight next week, NASA’s long-awaited moon rocket makes its debut years late and billions over budget. 50 years after NASA’s famed Apollo moonshots, a 322-foot rocket will launch a crew capsule into a far-flung lunar orbit. NASA aims to land two people on the moon by the end of 2025 if all proceeds well in the next few years. Astronauts could strap in as soon as 2024 for a trip around the moon.
From NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, liftoff is scheduled for Monday morning. NASA officials warn that the six-week test flight is risky and could be cut short if something goes wrong. There is a price tag of more than $4 billion for this mission alone. From the program’s inception a decade ago until a 2025 lunar landing, costs have risen to $93 billion, according to the Associated Press.