October 3, 2022

How and when to watch NASA’s Artemis I moon launch on Saturday

NASA’s giant moon rocket, the Space Launch System, did not lift off from the launch pad on Monday due to a technical glitch. So NASA will try again on Saturday, hoping its engineers have solved the problem. Here’s what you need to know about a second attempt to get started Artemis I mission.

The launch is scheduled for 2:17 PM ET. In case of inclement weather or technical problems, it will be pushed back by two hours to 4:17 PM.

NASA TelevisionOnline coverage of the Artemis I launch begins at 5:45 a.m., when a commentator will describe the process of filling the rocket’s giant propellant tanks. You can watch in the video player embedded above.

Engineers work to fix stubborn leak in hydrogen fuel line Several attempts they made in hopes of sealing the leak failed.

The agency’s full coverage is scheduled to begin at 12:15 p.m., but may be delayed if the launch time is pushed back.

Coverage in Spanish It is scheduled to start at 1 p.m

Forecasts show a 60 percent chance of favorable weather at the start of the launch window, with the odds improving to 80 percent by the end of the two-hour window.

You can subscribe to The Times’ Space and Astronomy Calendar to get a reminder About initiation and other events in your personal calendar.

Once Artemis I gets off the ground, coverage will continue for about two hours after liftoff, known as the trans-lunar injection engine firing to propel the Orion spacecraft from low-Earth orbit to the moon.

If the launch is postponed again, NASA could try to lift off on Monday, September 5 or Tuesday, September 6. Current forecasts give a 70 percent chance of favorable weather on Monday.

If the rocket doesn’t get off the ground by Tuesday, NASA will have to roll it back to the Vehicle Assembly Building, a giant garage for servicing the rockets. A launch attempt after that could be in September or October.

The launch was halted on Monday because a sensor indicated that one of the rocket’s four main-stage engines was insufficiently cooled, part of the preparation required before ignition.

Temperatures in three engines were nearing the target of minus 420 degrees Fahrenheit, and the fourth was about 40 degrees warmer, said John Honeycutt, the program manager overseeing the development of the Space Launch System rocket. If the engine was too hot, it would be shut down during lifting.

At a news conference Thursday, mission officials said analysis of other data led them to believe the temperature sensor was faulty and that the engine was indeed cold enough.

For astronauts to go to the moon, they need a big rocket. Ever since the Saturn V took NASA astronauts to the moon in the 1960s and 1970s, that rocket has been the space launch system. Waiting on the pad for Monday’s launch, the man stands 322 feet tall and weighs 5.5 million pounds when filled with propellants.

The rocket, known as SLS, bears some visual similarities to retired space shuttles. It’s by design: To facilitate the development of its new moon rocket, NASA reused its 1970s space shuttle technology.

The Space Launch System’s cargo on Monday was Orion, a capsule designed to travel several weeks beyond low Earth orbit. The spacecraft will not have a crew, but will be able to carry four astronauts. If this flight is successful, a quartet of astronauts will travel on the next mission, Artemis II.

After departure, several events occur in rapid succession.

Two minutes after liftoff, the two skinny side boosters attached to the space launch system’s massive center stage eject their solid rocket fuel and plunge into the Atlantic Ocean.

Eight minutes into the flight, the core stage’s four engines shut down. That stage would then be abandoned, and the rocket’s second stage and the Orion capsule (which would carry future astronauts) would then remain in space on their own.

About an hour and a half after launch, the second stage will fire again for about 18 minutes, known as the trans-lunar injection. That is, the second phase will push Orion on a course to the Moon. After the engine burns out, Orion will separate from the second stage.

On day 6, Orion will begin orbiting the moon, moving toward what is known as a distant retrograde orbit.

The exact length of the work varies depending on the publication date. If Artemis I launches Saturday, Orion will leave deep retrograde orbit on the 27th, and on the 33rd, it will begin its journey back to Earth. The splashdown will take place on October 11, marking the end of the 38-day mission.

Why repeat what NASA did half a century ago?

NASA officials argue that Moon missions are central to its human spaceflight program From 1969 to 1972, the Apollo moon landings were simply not made.

“This is the future of NASA landing the first woman and the first man on the moon,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said during a news conference this month. “And on these increasingly complex missions, astronauts will live and work in deep space and develop the science and technology to send the first humans to Mars.”

NASA hopes to encourage private companies interested in pursuing a sustainable business of flying scientific instruments and other payloads to the moon and encourage students to enter science and engineering fields.

For scientists, the renewed focus on the moon promises a wealth of new data in the coming years. There is particular interest in the amount of water ice on the Moon, which could be used to provide water and oxygen to astronauts in the future and to fuel missions deep into space.

Scientists don’t know how much water there is or how easy it is to extract water from the surrounding rock and soil. Future work will help address that question.