ARTEMIS 1 LAUNCH LIVE: NASA Space Launch System rocket and uncrewed Orion capsule to blast off


ARTEMIS 1 LAUNCH LIVE: Launch time delayed as NASA engineers investigate engine problems and crack in the body of Space Launch System rocket – due to blast off on 42-day journey around the moon today

NASA is preparing the launch of the unmanned Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule as part of the agency’s Artemis I mission

Today marks the start of humanity’s return to the surface of the Moon for the first time since 1972, with the rocket set to land in three years’ time.

The mission will see an uncrewed Orion spacecraft circle the moon and return to Earth after a 42-day, 1.3 miIlion-mile voyage.

If all goes to plan, another flight will follow in 2024 – this time with astronauts on board – before human boots once again grace the lunar surface a year later as part of NASA’s ambitious $93 billion (£63 billion) Artemis programme.

People in campervans have been arriving at Cape Canaveral over the weekend, all vying for the best view of the enormous rocket’s lift-off.

Over 200,000 people are expected to line the beaches and causeways around the Kennedy Space Center to watch the launch, while millions more around the world will tune in on television.

MailOnline will be providing live updates of the launch in the blog below: