[UPDATE: NASA scrubbed its first launch attempt on Monday after engineers discovered an issue with one of the rocket’s engines shortly before launch. It’s now aiming to launch on Saturday, September 3 — details below]
NASA is about to perform the first-ever launch of its next-generation rocket and spacecraft in a highly anticipated lunar mission, and you can watch the entire event online.
Following a failed launch attempt on Monday, the Artemis I mission is now scheduled to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, September 3.
The flight will usher in a new era of space exploration as NASA eyes lengthy crewed stays on the moon and the first astronaut voyage to Mars.
Saturday’s launch involves the 98-meter-tall Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket NASA has ever built, and the Orion spacecraft, the space agency’s next-generation crew capsule.
The SLS rocket will send the crew-less Orion vehicle on a 42-day test flight that will see it perform a fly-by of the moon, taking the capsule within 62 miles of the lunar surface. It will then return to Earth for a splashdown off the coast of California.
A successful Artemis I mission will pave the way for Artemis II, which will take the same route, only this time, with astronauts on board. Then, as early as 2025, Artemis III will endeavor to put the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface in what will be the first astronaut lunar landing since the final Apollo mission in 1972.
If you’re not lucky enough to be able to head to the Space Coast to watch the launch in person, then simply find a comfy seat at home and watch it from there instead.
The launch of Artemis I from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida is currently scheduled for 2:17 p.m. ET on Saturday, September 3. Coverage of the build-up, including the rocket’s fueling process, will begin at 12:15 p.m. ET.
You can watch a livestream of the event by using the video player embedded at the top of this page or by heading to NASA Live TV, which will carry the same feed.
Besides what promises to be a spectacular rocket launch, the livestream will also cover the rocket’s core stage separation, Orion’s solar wing deployment, and various burns and maneuvers that will take place in the 90 minutes or so after the SLS lifts off. After that, this handy online tool will let you track Orion’s progress during its six-week journey to the moon and back.
If, for whatever reason, NASA is unable to launch on Saturday, another opportunity will be on September 5.
We’ll be sure to update this article with any changes to the schedule just as soon as we hear about them.
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