NASA is set to carry out the historic launch of its super-heavy lunar rocket for the first time on Monday. Here’s how and when you can watch it live.
The Space Launch System (SLS) is the most powerful rocket ever created. It is, for all intents and purposes, the modern equivalent of the mighty Saturn V rocket that sent the first humans to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s.
Nations around the world have once again set their sights on putting their boots on the Moon, and NASA hopes SLS will be instrumental in getting humans back to the Moon in the coming decades as part of the Artemis Program.
However, launching an untested rocket is a risky endeavor, so before it can safely launch a human crew into orbit, and well beyond, NASA has to prove that it can actually fly.
When is the launch happening?
The first uncrewed flight of the SLS, known as Artemis 1, will take place a few days from now. Monday, August 29.
The rocket launched to Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Spaceflight Center in Florida on August 17 atop a leviathan tracker, and by all indications the SLS is well on track for launch.
NASA completed its Flight Readiness Review on the 22nd, giving the rocket the green light to take off, and according to the most recent reports, there is a 70 percent chance that weather conditions will remain favorable during the two-year launch window. hours.
In other words, after a decade of planning and engineering, it may finally be time to light the largest candle on Earth, and here’s how you can see it live.
How to watch the launch live online
NASA is set to provide live coverage of the August 29 launch throughout the day on its NASA TV channel on the official website or through its YouTube channel.
Hardcore space nerds can tune in early from 9pm Pacific / 12am Eastern / 5am UK onwards to watch coverage of the propellant load, in which the gigantic tanks housed inside the core stage of the SLS are filled with 730,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.
Full launch coverage will begin at 3:30 p.m. Pacific / 6:30 a.m. Eastern / 11 a.m. UK and will provide build-up and coverage of the launch window, which opens at 5:33 a.m. Pacific / 8:33 a.m. Eastern / 1:33 p.m. UK. Assuming liftoff is successful, the transmission will continue to follow the massive rocket as it moves away from Earth’s atmosphere, detaching and deflecting the upper portion of the spacecraft, including the Orion crew capsule, on a rendezvous trajectory with Moon.
At 9 a.m. Pacific / 12 p.m. Eastern / 5 p.m. UK, NASA TV will present a post-launch press conference, followed by around 1 p.m. Pacific / 4 p.m. Eastern / 9 p.m. Assuming all goes according to plan, viewers who tune in at 2:30 p.m. Pacific / 5:30 p.m. Eastern / 10:30 p.m. UK will be rewarded with views of Earth captured from the Orion capsule on their way. to the moon.
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Make no mistake, this is a historically important launch, the success or failure of which will help shape the trajectory of NASA’s lunar exploration plans for decades to come.
An enormous amount of money has been invested in the creation of the SLS, whose launch and development, as is usual in space exploration, has been plagued by multiple delays and budget increases.
It’s also worth noting that, in a modern space age environment where SpaceX is innovating the use of reusable rockets like the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and the upcoming Starship, which have been phenomenally successful, the SLS is a unique rocket. and ready. It’s completely non-reusable, and considering that each launch is priced at around $4.1 billion US, it’s fair to say that NASA will be desperate to see the rocket perform impressively on its first outing.
The standard set of pre-launch checks will be a nervy affair, but if mission operators are satisfied and the go-ahead is finally given, it will be a historic sight to behold. After all, it’s not often that you witness a 320-foot-tall rocket weighing 5.75 million pounds and throwing out 8.8 million pounds of thrust as it struggles to escape Earth’s gravitational influence.
Under perfect conditions, the launch could occur very close to the opening of the launch window. Similarly, if there is bad weather or problems in the lower range, NASA will not hesitate to make the most of the two-hour launch opportunity or to ground the rocket entirely. It’s still far from a sure thing.
Regardless, along the way we can expect constant feedback from the NASA team, both before and during launch, discussing the capabilities of the rocket. We’re also sure to get interviews with its creators discussing the goals and challenges surrounding the Artemis-1 mission.
As a bonus, the broadcast will also include appearances by celebrities Keke Palmer, Jack Black and Chris Evans, along with musical performances by Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock and the Philadelphia Orchestra accompanied by Yo-Yo Ma and conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
In short, NASA Really he wants people to enjoy the inaugural launch of his very, very expensive rocket.
Throughout the mission, you’ll be able to track the exact location of the Orion capsule and key mission statistics through NASA’s Artemis Real-time Orbit Website (AROW), which will be online. on August 28.
Anthony Wood is a freelance writer at IGN