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16th Nov 2022

NASA launches most powerful rocket in history, with Elmo from Love/Hate as witness

Fiona Frawley

image of a rocket being launched alongside a photo of elmo from love hate

“We rise together. Back to the Moon and beyond.”

NASA – that’s the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in case you’re ever asked what it stands for – has once more raised the bar for space travel by launching the most powerful rocket in its history.

The Artemis 1 ‘mega-rocket’ took off at Cape Canaveral in Florida – not long after some other notable hot air emanated from the sunshine state – shortly before 7am Irish time. Destination – the Moon.

‘Why the Moon?’ you ask. Speaking to the Guardian in December of 2021, NASA administrator Bill Nelson explained:

“Because the goal is Mars. What we can do on the moon is learn how to exist and survive in that hostile environment and only be three or four days away from Earth before we venture out and are months and months from Earth. That’s the whole purpose: we go back to the moon, we learn how to live there, we create habitats.”

The unmanned Artemis 1 is 32 storeys tall and will stay in orbit for just over 25 days. The spacecraft finally undertook its journey following previously failed launches in recent months, due to technical problems and two separate hurricanes.

“We rise together,” boomed a NASA announcer as the craft took flight on Wednesday morning. “Back to the Moon and beyond.”

‘Elmo’ at NASA rocket launch

Roughly 100,000 stargazers assembled on the coast to watch the historic event unfold. Among them, a familiar face for fans of Irish gangster drama Love/Hate – none other than actor Laurence Kinlan.

Kinlan, who played Elmo Creed in the show, appeared awestruck by the experience, posting on Twitter prior to the event:

“The space geek inside me is screaming with excitement for tonight. It feels very special to be here for the launch of Artemis I. The most powerful rocket NASA has ever built.

“It will go further than any spacecraft built for humans, 40k miles past the far side of the moon.”

‘A night we’ll never forget’

Once the launch had taken place, Kinlan hailed the once-in-a-lifetime event.

“A night we’ll never forget,” he said. “Photos or videos will never do a NASA rocket launch any justice. Put it on your bucket list. Absolutely incredible.”

He’s come a long way from the mean streets of Dublin, that’s for sure.

This article originally appeared on 
Header image via Shutterstock/RTÉ