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Inside NASA's attempt to take humanity back to the moon

• https://www.cnet.com

When you're standing a few miles from a rocket launch, it's hard not to feel like a part of history.

On July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11 mission to the moon launched atop a Saturn V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. 

That was 50 years ago.

It was a launch that represented a triumph of human achievement and engineering, a frighteningly dangerous foray into the unknown.

It's a moment that feels otherworldly, an event normally experienced via grainy archival footage and crackly audio recordings, but now, half a century later, NASA is planning to go back to the moon. And at the space agency's latest launch, I got a front row seat to the awesome promise of space travel.

I got to watch a rocket take off live and in person.

Turns out, it doesn't matter whether you're experiencing the very first manned mission to the moon in the 1960s or the next step in space discovery in 2019 -- a sonic boom is still the best sound you'll ever hear.

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Orion's Ascent Abort 2 test rocket, the day before launch, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Claire Reilly/CNET

In the early hours of Ju;y 2, NASA conducted the Ascent Abort 2 (AA-2) test flight at Cape Canaveral. The launch was the final test flight for the Artemis mission, which is set to send the first woman and the next man to the lunar surface aboard the Orion spacecraft in 2024.

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