NASA’s Artemis 1 mission will arrive in the moon’s orbit on Monday (November 21), and you can watch the epic action live.
Since Wednesday morning (Nov. 16), Artemis 1’s uncrewed Orion capsule has been cruising toward the moon atop NASA’s massive Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.
If all goes well, Orion will finally reach the Moon on Monday morning, hovering just 80 miles (130 kilometers) above the lunar surface at 7:44 a.m. EST (1244 GMT). During that close approach, the capsule’s main engine will fire in a “powered flyby burn,” putting it on track to enter lunar orbit four days later.
During a webcast beginning Monday at 7:15 a.m. EST (1215 GMT), Artemis 1 team members will explain and discuss the critical maneuver. You can watch it live directly via the space agency.
Artemis 1 is the first mission in NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program, which aims to establish a crewed research base on the Moon by the end of the 2020s, among other goals. The Artemis 1 launch also marked the debut of the SLS, the most powerful rocket ever successfully launched.
The burn on Monday will pave the way for another critical maneuver on November 25: an engine firing designed to place Orion in a distant retrograde orbit (DRO) around the Moon. The capsule will remain in the DRO — a stable path that will take it up to 40,000 miles (64,000 km) from the lunar surface — until December 1, when another engine burn will send it back to Earth.
On December 11, Orion will return home, hitting into the Earth’s atmosphere at incredible speeds before splashing down softly in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California.
If everything goes according to plan with Artemis 1, NASA will be free to begin preparing for Artemis 2, which will send astronauts orbiting the moon in 2024.
In 2025, the agency plans to launch Artemis 3, which will land near the lunar south pole, where the proposed research base will be located. Artemis 3 will be the first crewed lunar landing mission since the final Apollo mission in 1972, as well as the first to land a woman and a person of color on the Moon.
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