UPDATE: NASA’s Artemis 1 launch has been postponed due to a malfunctioning RS-25 engine on the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. The next available launch window is on Friday, September 2.
Today is a pretty big day for NASA and, I guess, the world at large.
For the first time in 50 years, NASA plans to launch a rocket that can ferry humans to and from the moon.
From 8:33AM local time at NASA’s Cape Canaveral, Florida, complex, the giant Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is scheduled to take off.
That means South Africans can watch the launch take place from 2:33PM our time, provided there are no delays.
CNN reports that “weather conditions remain 80% favourable for a launch at the beginning of the window” running from 8:33AM through to 10:33AM Florida time.
What makes this so special? These basics via The Guardian:
The 1.3m mile Artemis I test mission – slated to last 42 days – is aiming to take the Orion vehicle 40,000 miles past the far side of the moon, departing from the same facility that staged the Apollo lunar missions half a century ago…
For Monday’s debut, the only “crew members” aboard Orion are mannequins meant to let NASA evaluate its next-generation spacesuits and radiation levels – as well as a soft Snoopy toy meant to illustrate zero gravity by floating around the capsule.
That means if something goes wrong, at least you’re not watching any actual people meet their demise. You would still be watching a very costly exercise.
Ahead of the big day, NASA has been unpacking some key questions. This short video may cover some of what you have in mind:
The mannequins have been named – Commander Moonkin Campos, Helga, and Zohar.
A biology experiment carrying seeds, algae, fungi and yeast is tucked inside Orion to measure how life reacts to this radiation as well.
Cameras inside and outside of Orion will share images and video throughout the mission, including live views from the Callisto experiment, which will capture a stream of Commander Moonikin Campos sitting in the commander’s seat…
Expect to see views of Earthrise, similar to what was shared during Apollo 8 for the first time, but with much better cameras and technology.
Should the mission be successful, the rocket and spacecraft will carry astronauts to the moon on Artemis II and Artemis III, slated for 2024 and 2025 respectively.
A successful mission starts with the launch.
NASA TV is carrying the entire process live. A reminder that the launch should take place during the two-hour window starting from 2:33PM our time so some patience may be required.
To keep you entertained throughout, there are planned appearances by the likes of Jack Black and Chris Evans.
There will also be performances of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ by Josh Groban and Herbie Hancock as well as other performances.
Okay, it is time – to the moon!
Should the above stream not work, here’s a backup:
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