NASA’s Artemis I launch to the Moon: How to watch the third liftoff attempt

NASA’s ambitious, Dear and the complex moon rocket, Artemis I, has had a rough ride. NASA had to wipe out the first launch attempt due to a troublesome engine problem. On the second attempt, a pesky hydrogen leak kept the rocket grounded until repairs could be made. After September 21 tests cleared Artemis for a third attempt, NASA scientists circled September 27 for launch. But that, too, was called off when a tropical storm hit the Florida coast.

Needless to say it has been a bumpy road for Artemis.

Currently, NASA has a backup launch day of October 2, but with Tropical Storm Ian set to become the fifth major hurricane of the 2022 season, there’s no guarantee that date will be reached either. NASA may even roll the rocket back from the launch pad to protect it. Ian is expected to make landfall in the United States on Thursday, just days before that launch window opens.

“So when will this bloody thing be launched?” you might ask. Well, it’s unclear right now, but whatever happens, you’ll want to follow live to see how the saga unfolds. And when that day comes, CNET will have all the details (and host a livestream!) right here.

To be clear, this mission won’t have astronauts on board, but its success very much depends on its success, including the prospect of landing people on the moon in the near future. (It’s planned for 2025.) Come launch day, Artemis I is 32 stage rocket will blast off from Earth and propel a spiky, relatively small white spacecraft named Orion into lunar orbit.

Orion is filled to the brim with things like Amazon-Alexa, TV character Shaun the Sheep, mannequins, miniature satellites and above all, tons of navigation and data collection equipment. These special instruments within Orion will track vital information about the spacecraft’s trajectory, safety, radiation absorption (and more) that will essentially plot the routes for future missions – missions with a human crew like 2025’s Artemis II and Artemis III. Think of Artemis I as a crucial flight test and proof-of-principle mission.

A flawless launch could mark the beginning of NASA’s years of modern lunar exploration. It will be a tense day with a breathless countdown, especially given the initial attempts at a forbidden launch, but also shrouded in an air of wonder and excitement. In other words, it’s going to be huge.

Artemis I rocket and Orion capsule on the launch pad.  In the foreground, a banner reads

The “We Are Going” banner, seen near the Artemis I rocket on the launch pad, is signed by NASA workers involved in the lunar mission.

Joel Kowsky/NASA

How to watch the launch of Artemis I

Once NASA officially announces the next launch window for the Artemis I mission, you can connect directly to the NASA app, NASA website, or NASA TV. We will publish the start time of the future window for the following global time zones.

  • Brazil.
  • UK.
  • South Africa.
  • Russia.
  • United Arab Emirates.
  • India.
  • China.
  • Japan.
  • Australia.

You’ll also find all the action live on CNET Highlights, our YouTube channel, by simply clicking play below.

Artemis I Launch Sequence

If you are into technical details, here is the game plan for Artemis I.

In a way, takeoff is the the simplest part. And I’m not exaggerating.

The SLS team is the first.

After the countdown, the SLS will ascend through the Earth’s atmosphere. In two minutes, all of its solid propellant, located in the boosters of the rocket, will be consumed and these boosters will be jettisoned. After 8 minutes, all its liquid fuel, located in the central stage, will be used up and this stage will be jettisoned. Then, for about 18 minutes, Orion and the rocket’s upper stage will circle our planet on its own. Once this is complete, Orion will take about 12 minutes to deploy its solar panels and turn off the battery.

At this point, as Sarafin says, the rocket has done its job. Orion is on his way.

This diagram shows the stages at which the SLS rocket stages will jettison and Orion will propel forward during ascent.

A diagram showing what the ascension of Artemis I will look like.

NASA; screenshot by Monisha Ravisetti/CNET

The Orion team takes over.

“We really don’t have time to catch our breath,” Artemis I senior flight director Rick LaBrode said at a news conference Aug. 5. Orion’s trajectory pretty much relies on a multitude of precise maneuvers that will lead him along the intricate path described below.

A diagram showing how Orion will fly to the moon, around the moon and back.  Several gravitational assists are present during the journey and certain checkpoints are defined where translunar injections and departures will take place.

Orion’s trajectory around the moon and back is described here. Along the way, 10 cubesats will be deployed.

NASA; screenshot by Monisha Ravisetti/CNET

Eventually, the craft will approach the lunar surface, getting closer to just 60 miles above the ground, and conduct a bunch of science experiments to test things like lunar gravity, radiation hazard, and maybe- be even take a few photos like a recreation of Earthrise from 1968. The satellites inside Orion will deploy along the way, capture physical data, and when all is said and done, the brave little spacecraft will return on our planet and will crash off the coast of San Diego.

Pick up Orion, extract the data, and Artemis I is done. The whole thing should last six weeks.

If NASA manages to avoid any problems along the way, it won’t be long before we find ourselves scouring the internet for tips on how to watch the Artemis II launch. And far in the future, we may be reflecting on Monday as we sit back and watch a rocket heading not just for the moon, but for Mars.

OK, I’m moving on.

For now, the goal is a flawless takeoff for Artemis I, something that seems to be getting more complicated day by day.

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