On Monday, NASA’s ambitious, expensive and exhilarating Artemis program is scheduled to commence. At last, Artemis I could be heading to lunar orbit, fifty years after the agency . You want to follow along live — and we have all the details (and a livestream!) right here.
To be clear, this liftoff won’t have astronauts onboard — but there’s a lot riding on its success, including the prospect of landing people on the moon some time in the near future. (It’s currently planned for 2025).
Artemis I’scommissioned for the big day will blast off from Earth and propel a pointy, relatively small, white spacecraft named Orion into lunar orbit.
Orion is filled to the brim with things like Amazon Alexa, TV character Shaun the Sheep, mannequins, miniature satellites and most importantly, tons of navigation and data collection equipment. These special instruments within Orion will track vital information about the spacecraft’s trajectory, safety, radiation absorption (and much more) that’ll essentially map out the routes of future missions — missions with a human crew like Artemis II and 2025’s Artemis III. In short, Artemis I is a crucial flight test and proof-of-principle mission.
A flawless launch next week could mark the beginning of NASA’s modern Apollo years. It’s going to be a tense day with a nail-biting countdown, but one shrouded in an air of wonder and excitement. In other words, it’s going to be huge.
How to watch the Artemis I launch
NASA will host a live broadcast of the Artemis I event on Aug. 29 — the first on a list of three possible launch windows.
Time-wise, the launch window itself opens at 5:33 a.m. PT/8:33 a.m. ET, but it’ll stay open for two hours. Somewhere within that range, the agency’s mega moon rocket, which it calls the “most powerful rocket in the world,” will head toward the stars. You can watch on the NASA app, NASA website, or NASA TV directly.
Here’s that window start time around the world. Get your snacks ready.
- US: 5:33 a.m. PT / 8:33 a.m. ET
- Brazil: 9:33 a.m. (Federal District)
- UK: 1:33 p.m.
- South Africa: 2:33 p.m.
- Russia: 3:33 p.m. (Moscow)
- UAE: 4:33 p.m.
- India: 6:03 p.m.
- China: 8:33 p.m.
- Japan: 9:33 p.m.
- Australia: 10:33 p.m. AEST
You’ll find all the action live on CNET Highlights, our YouTube channel, by simply clicking play just below. It’s that easy.
The road to launching Artemis I
Already, NASA has started to heighten anticipation for Artemis I’s journey to space. Briefings will be held daily until launch day about things like the role of industry in advancing human exploration, lunar mission management, the way Artemis is poised to lead to Mars excursions and just general road-to-liftoff commentary.
A full schedule of those meetings, all of which will be streamed on NASA TV, can be found here.
Then, on Monday, NASA says it will begin broadcasting while loading propellant into the SLS bright and early (dark and early?) at 3:30 a.m. PT/6:30 a.m. ET.
After launch, around 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET — assuming all goes well — the agency intends to cover mission updates with NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, Artemis Mission Manager Mike Sarafin and other important Artemis officials.
At 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET, the livestream will switch to coverage of Orion’s outbound trajectory, hopefully followed by some stellar views of Earth taken by Orion-based cameras as the craft coasts toward our planet’s glowing companion.
Also, throughout the day, prepare yourself for celebrity appearances by Jack Black, Chris Evans and Keke Palmer as well as performances of The Star-Spangled Banner by Josh Groban and Herbie Hancock and America the Beautiful by The Philadelphia Orchestra and Yo-Yo Ma, the latter conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. What. A. Party.
Artemis I’s launch sequence
If you’re into the technical details, here’s the game plan for Artemis I. In a way, liftoff is the easiest part. And I’m not exaggerating.
Team SLS is up first.
After countdown, the SLS will ascend through Earth’s atmosphere. In two minutes, all its solid propellant, located in the rocket’s boosters, will be consumed and those boosters will be jettisoned. After 8 minutes, all its liquid fuel, located in the core stage, will be used and that stage will be jettisoned. Then, for about the next 18 minutes, Orion and the rocket’s upper stage will take a lap around our planet all alone. Once that’s complete, Orion will take about 12 minutes to deploy its solar arrays and get off battery power.
At that point, as Sarafin puts it, the rocket has done its job. Orion is en route.
Team Orion steps up to the plate.
“There’s really no time to catch our breath,” Rick LaBrode, lead Artemis I flight director, said during an Aug. 5 press conference. Orion’s trajectory pretty much relies of a multitude of precise maneuvering that’ll take it along the complex path outlined below.
Eventually, the craft will approach the lunar surface, getting as close as just 60 miles above ground, and conduct a bunch of science experiments to test things like lunar gravity, radiation danger, and maybe even snap a few pics like a re-creation of 1968’s Earthrise. The satellites inside Orion will deploy along the way, capture some physics data, and once all is said and done, the brave little spacecraft will return to our planet and splashdown off the coast of San Diego.
Pick up Orion, extract the data and Artemis I is complete. The whole thing is expected to take six weeks.
If NASA manages to avoid any blips along the way, it won’t be long before we find ourselves scouring the internet for info on how to watch the launch of Artemis II. And far into the future, perhaps we’ll reflect on Monday as we sit back and watch a rocket barrel toward not just the moon, but Mars.
OK, I’m getting ahead of myself.
For now, you can admire the Artemis I SLS rocket topped with Orion chilling on the launchpad. Here’s a constant livestream of it during its final moments on Earth.
Go to Publisher: CNET
Author: Monisha Ravisetti