NASA's massive Space Launch System moon rocket, topped with an uncrewed astronaut capsule.

The monster began its hours-long trek to its launchpad Tuesday night, ahead of its first test flight later this month.

The 322-foot-tall (98-meter) rocket is set to launch on its maiden human-free journey to orbit on August 29.

It will be a critical, long-delayed moon demonstration mission for NASA's Artemis programme.

The multibillion-dollar US programme to return humans to the lunar surface as rehearsal for future Mars missions.

Boeing Co. has lead the development of the Space Launch System throughout the last decade.

Around 10 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT), it emerged from its assembly building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

It started its four-mile (6-kilometer) journey to the launchpad.

The rollout will take approximately 11 hours if the speed is less than 1mph (1.6kph).

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