NASA’s Artemis missions will kick off a new era of space exploration. The space agency is set to launch the first of these missions, Artemis I, within the next few weeks. Like all of its launches, space lovers will be able to tune in and watch the Artemis I launch live as it happens.
NASA originally planned to complete the debut launch of its Space Launch System on Monday, August 19. The launch was grounded due to trouble with one of the engines. NASA is now shooting to launch the rocket before the end of September.
Watch the Artemis I launch live on NASA TV
Currently, NASA hopes to launch Artemis I near the end of the month, on September 23 or 27. The space agency says that it needs to hit a few requirements and ensure that a hydrogen fuel leak is completely fixed before it’s ready. If neither of those days work, it may need to push the next launch attempt back to October.
This is notably several days later than the space agency’s original backup launch date of Friday, September 2. Unfortunately, an ongoing leak caused that attempt to be scrubbed, and now we’ll need to wait a couple of additional weeks for the next attempt. NASA should share exact details closer to the launch attempt.
If weather conditions allow, though, NASA’s Artemis I will liftoff and begin its 40-day journey around the Moon.
It’s a historic launch for the space agency, and one that will no doubt be long remembered for the new era of exploration it begins. You can watch the Artemis I launch on NASA TV, on NASA’s website, and on YouTube. If the launch is delayed past the end of September, it will need to wait until October sometime.
We reached out to former NASA Administrator Professor Sean O’Keefe to discuss the importance of the Artemis I launch and what it means for NASA and humanity.
“What makes Artemis unique is its versatility to be used to explore a range of potential destinations,” O’Keefe told BGR. “Over the decades since the end of the Apollo age, human expeditions have been localized to Low Earth Orbit to about 300 miles off the surface of the Earth and circumnavigating our planet much like thousands of satellites and other spacecraft have done.”
He continued, “Artemis opens a whole new range of opportunities to develop the lunar surface for potential outposts to explore resources that have been discovered as well as utilize assets we’ve known are on the Moon for new applications. In time, the capacity to assemble sustaining capabilities on the Moon presents new possibilities to launch from the lunar surface which is far simpler than from the Earth.”
After the Artemis I launch, the spacecraft will carry Orion and the rest of its payload into orbit. From there, Orion will enter what NASA calls a distant retrograde orbit of the Moon. This will carry the spacecraft 40,000 miles beyond the Moon. Its orbit will take it further than any spacecraft intended to carry humans has ever gone.
This entire mission will be a true test to see how well Orion can withstand prolonged exposure to space. If all goes successfully, then NASA plans to send humans up in the Orion capsule in 2024. That mission will follow a similar trajectory as this first. However, the third Artemis mission will hopefully see human boots back on the lunar surface. That mission is slated for late 2025.
NASA has a lot riding on a successful Artemis I launch, as it will act as a precursor for the space agency’s upcoming exploration missions. For now, unfortunately, we’ll have to remain in a holding pattern to see how the launch goes, and how well Orion holds up once it breaks away and begins the major leg of its journey around the Moon.