On Monday, NASA’s ambitious, expensive and exciting Artemis program is scheduled to begin. At long last, Artemis I could be headed for lunar orbit, fifty years after the agency completed the apollo missions. You want to follow it live, and here we have all the details (and a live stream!).
To be clear, this liftoff will not have astronauts on board, but the stakes are high for its success, including the possibility of landing people on the moon in the near future. (It is currently planned for 2025.)
Artemis I 32-story tangerine rocket commissioned for the big day will blast off from Earth and propel a relatively small, white, spiky spacecraft called Orion into lunar orbit.
Orion is packed with things like Amazon Alexa, TV character Shaun the Sheep, mannequins, miniature satellites, and most importantly, tons of navigation and data collection gear. These special instruments inside Orion will track vital information about the spacecraft’s trajectory, safety, radiation absorption (and much more) that will essentially chart the paths of future missions. with a human crew like Artemis II and Artemis III from 2025. In short, Artemis I is a crucial flight test and proof-of-principle mission.
A flawless launch next week could usher in NASA’s modern Apollo years. It’s going to be a tense day with a nail-biting countdown, but shrouded in an air of wonder and excitement. In other words, it’s going to be huge.
How to watch the launch of Artemis I
NASA will host a live broadcast of the Artemis I event on August 29, the first of a list of three possible launch windows.
As for timing, the launch window opens at 5:33am PT/8:33am ET, but will remain open for two hours. Somewhere within that range, the agency’s lunar megarocket, which it calls the “world’s most powerful rocket,” will head for the stars. You can watch it on the NASA app, NASA website, or NASA TV directly.
Here’s the start time for that window around the world. Prepare your sandwiches.
- USA: 5:33 a.m. PT / 8:33 a.m. ET
- Brazil: 9:33 am (Federal District)
- UK: 13:33
- South Africa: 14:33
- Russia: 15:33 (Moscow)
- United Arab Emirates: 4:33 p.m.
- Indian: 18:03
- Chinese: 20:33
- Japan: 21:33
- Australia: 22:33 AEST
You’ll find all the action live on CNET Highlights, our YouTube channel, by simply clicking play just below. It is easy.
The path to launch Artemis I
NASA has already begun building anticipation for Artemis I’s journey into space. Briefings will be held every day leading up to launch day on things like the role of industry in advancing human exploration, lunar mission management, how Artemis is set up to lead excursions to Mars and just general comments on the way to liftoff.
A full schedule of those meetings, all of which will air on NASA TV, can be found here.
Then on Monday, NASA says it will start broadcasting while loading propellant into the SLS bright and early (dark and early?) at 3:30 a.m. Pacific Time / 6:30 a.m. Eastern Time.
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 top Artemis officials.
A 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ETthe live feed will switch to coverage of Orion’s departure trajectory, followed hopefully by some stellar views of Earth taken by Orion-based cameras as the spacecraft sails toward our planet’s glowing companion.
Also, throughout the day, get ready 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 directed by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. What. A party.
Artemis I Launch Sequence
If you care about the technical details, this is the game plan for Artemis I. In a way, liftoff is the easier part. And I’m not exaggerating.
The SLS team is the first.
After the countdown, the SLS will ascend through the Earth’s atmosphere. Within two minutes, all of your solid propellant, located in the rocket’s propellants, will be consumed and those propellants will be jettisoned. After 8 minutes, all of its liquid fuel, located in the core stage, will be used up and that stage will be discarded. Then, for the next 18 minutes, Orion and the rocket’s upper stage will circle our planet alone. Once complete, Orion will take about 12 minutes to deploy its solar panels and disconnect battery power.
At that point, as Sarafin says, the rocket has done its job. Orion is on his way.
The Orion team steps up to home plate.
“There’s really no time to catch your breath,” Rick LaBrode, Artemis I’s chief flight director, said during a news conference on August 5. Orion’s trajectory relies heavily on a multitude of precise maneuvers that will take him down the complex path outlined below.
Eventually, the spacecraft will get closer to the lunar surface, coming within just 60 miles above ground, and will perform a bunch of science experiments to test things like lunar gravity, radiation hazard, and maybe even take some photos as a recreation of 1968 Earthrise. Satellites inside Orion will deploy along the way, capture some physical data, and once all is said and done, the plucky little spacecraft will return to our planet and splash down in front of the San Diego coast.
Collect Orion, extract the data, and Artemis I is complete. Everything is expected to take six weeks.
If NASA manages to avoid any hiccups along the way, it won’t be long before we find ourselves scouring the internet for information on how to watch the launch of Artemis II. And in the distant future, perhaps we’ll reflect on Monday as we sit back and watch a rocket launch not only to the moon, but also to Mars.
Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself.
For now, you can admire the Orion-topped Artemis I SLS rocket cooling off on the launch pad. Here is a constant live stream during his final moments on Earth.