Humans haven’t set foot on the Moon since 1972, but on Monday, Aug. 29, NASA is scheduled to start the process of getting people back there.
The Artemis 1, an unmanned rocket, is set to blast off from Kennedy Space Center on a 42-day mission to the Moon and back. This is a test mission that will put both the booster and the Orion capsule, which will eventually carry astronauts through its paces. It’s a way for NASA to learn what it does and doesn’t know.
Hoping to watch the first step in the return to the Moon or want to know more? We’ve got the details.
What time will Artemis 1 take off?
Weather permitting, the Artemis 1 mission is scheduled to lift off sometime during a two-hour launch window that opens on Monday at 8:33 a.m. ET. Showers are predicted early in the day, according to The Weather Channel.
If the launch has to be scrubbed, the next window opens at lunchtime on Friday, September 2.
Can I watch the Artemis 1 launch on television?
NASA TV will carry the launch live, with celebrity appearances from Chris Evans and Jack Black. Coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m. ET. Major cable news networks are also likely to cover the launch and some broadcast networks could briefly break into programming.
How do I watch the Artemis 1 launch online?
There are several online options for space fans to watch. NASA will begin live coverage at 6:30 a.m. ET (with Spanish language coverage beginning an hour later). You can watch on any of the following feeds:
If you really can’t wait for the launch, you can watch NASA load the rocket with fuel starting at 12:00 a.m. ET.
What makes Artemis 1 unique?
This will be the biggest liftoff in a long, long time and the 322-foot SLS has been billed as the most powerful rocket ever. The two solid rocket boosters and core stage are filled with 733,000 gallons of propellant, which will push the Orion orbiter out of the atmosphere and into orbit. An upper stage will send it on its way to the moon.
Orion is unmanned, but will have three dummies on board to test what humans will have to endure in the flight in terms of g-force and radiation.
What happens when the Orion orbiter reaches the moon?
After it completes a full orbit around the earth, Orion will head on a trajectory that will put it in lunar orbit. After a trip of one to two weeks, it will, at times, fly 60 miles over the Moon’s surface transmitting what are expected to be stunning photos. It will also fly 40,000 miles past the moon, gathering data.
The entire mission is expected to last between 26 and 42 days.
When will NASA send humans back to the moon?
If all goes according to plan, the Artemis 2 mission will send astronauts into lunar orbit in 2024. In either 2025 or 2026, the Artemis 3 mission will land on the lunar South Pole, with the assistance of SpaceX’s Starship, returning humans to the surface.
The moon, of course, isn’t the final destination. NASA hopes, long-term, to learn the best ways to live, work and survive in hostile outer space conditions. That will make crewed missions to Mars feasible by the mid-2030s.
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