When and Where Can You See NASA's Giant Rocket Launch to the Moon?

 When and Where Can You See NASA's Giant Rocket Launch to the Moon?

When and Where Can You See NASA's Giant Rocket Launch to the Moon?

The second stage will fire for approximately 18 minutes after launch, in what is known as a trans-lunar injection. That is, the second stage will direct Orion toward the moon. Orion will separate from the second stage after the engine burns.


On Day 6, Orion will begin its orbit around the moon, heading toward a distant retrograde orbit.


The mission's exact duration varies depending on the launch date. If Artemis I launches on Saturday, Orion will leave the distant retrograde orbit on Day 27 and begin its journey back to Earth on Day 33. Splashdown will take place on October 11, capping off a 38-day mission.

The four core stage engines will shut down eight minutes into the flight. That stage will then detach, leaving the rocket's second stage and the Orion capsule (which will carry astronauts in the future) alone in space.

The launch was aborted on Monday after a sensor detected that one of the rocket's four core-stage engines had not been sufficiently chilled, as part of the pre-ignition preparations.


Three of the engines' temperatures were approaching the target of minus 420 degrees Fahrenheit, while the fourth appeared to be about 40 degrees warmer, according to John Honeycutt, the program manager in charge of the Space Launch System rocket's development. If the engine became too hot during liftoff, it could have shut down.


At a news conference on Thursday, mission officials said that analysis of other data had convinced them that the temperature sensor was faulty and that the engine was actually cold enough.


What exactly are the Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft?

A large rocket is required to transport astronauts to the moon. That rocket is the Space Launch System, the most powerful since Saturn V took NASA astronauts to the moon in the 1960s and 1970s. The one awaiting launch on Monday is 322 feet tall and weighs 5.5 million pounds when filled with propellants.


The rocket, known as S.L.S., resembles the retired space shuttles in appearance. This is intentional: NASA reused much of its space shuttle technology from the 1970s to simplify the development of its new moon rocket.


On Monday, the Space Launch System's cargo is Orion, a capsule designed for multi-week trips beyond low-Earth orbit. This flight will be without a crew, but it can carry up to four astronauts. If this mission is successful, a quartet of astronauts will travel on the Artemis II mission.


What takes place during the flight?

Following liftoff, a series of events will occur in rapid succession.


Just over two minutes after taking off, the two skinny side boosters attached to the massive core stage of the Space Launch System will run out of solid rocket fuel and plummet into the Atlantic Ocean.

You can subscribe to The Times' space and astronomy calendar to get a reminder about the launch and other events on your personal calendar.


If Artemis I is successful, coverage will continue for about two hours after liftoff, as the trans-lunar injection engine fires to propel the Orion spacecraft out of low-Earth orbit and onto a trajectory to the moon.


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If the launch is postponed again, NASA may try to launch on Monday, September 5 or Tuesday, September 6. According to current forecasts, there is a 70% chance of good weather on Monday.


If the rocket does not take off by Tuesday, NASA will have to return it to the Vehicle Assembly Building, which is essentially a giant garage for rocket servicing. Following that, a launch attempt could take place later in September or in October.

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