On Saturday, NASA’s ambitious, expensive and intricate Artemis program is poised to commence. Fifty years after the agency , Artemis I could be heading to lunar orbit, at last.
Here’s that window start time around the world. Get your snacks ready.
After countdown, the SLS will ascend through Earth’s atmosphere. In two minutes, all its solid propellant, located in the rocket’s boosters, will be consumed and those boosters will be jettisoned. After 8 minutes, all its liquid fuel, located in the core stage, will be used and that stage will be jettisoned. Then, for about the next 18 minutes, Orion and the rocket’s upper stage will take a lap around our planet all alone. Once that’s complete, Orion will take about 12 minutes to deploy its solar arrays and get off battery power.
How to watch the Artemis I launch
Team SLS is up first.
Already, NASA has started to heighten anticipation for Artemis I’s journey to space — evident by the incredible turnout for Monday morning’s attempt. Briefings were held daily until Monday’s liftoff attempt, for instance, about things like the role of industry in advancing human exploration, lunar mission management, the way Artemis is poised to lead to Mars excursions and just general road-to-the-stars commentary.
- USA: 11:17 a.m. PT / 2:17 p.m. ET
- Brazil: 3:17 p.m. (Federal District)
- UK: 7:17 p.m.
- South Africa: 8:17 p.m.
- Russia: 9:17 p.m. (Moscow)
- UAE: 10:17 p.m.
- India: 11:47 p.m.
- China: Sunday, 2:17 a.m.
- Japan: Sunday, 3:17 a.m.
- Australia: Sunday, 4:17 a.m. (AEST)
Team Orion steps up to the plate.
The road to launching Artemis I
In a way, liftoff is the easiest part. And I’m not exaggerating.
On Saturday, NASA plans to host a live broadcast of the Artemis I event and you’ll be able to watch on the NASA app, NASA website or NASA TV directly.
At that point, as Sarafin puts it, the rocket has done its job. Orion is en route.
Artemis I’s launch sequence
A flawless launch could mark the beginning of NASA’s modern moon exploration years. It’s going to be a tense day with a nail-biting countdown, especially considering the first failed launch attempt, but one also shrouded in an air of wonder and excitement. In other words, it’s going to be huge.
If NASA manages to avoid any blips along the way, it won’t be long before we find ourselves scouring the internet for info on how to watch the launch of Artemis II. And far into the future, perhaps we’ll reflect on Monday as we sit back and watch a rocket barrel toward not just the moon, but Mars.
For now, you can admire the Artemis I SLS rocket topped with Orion chilling on the launchpad. Here’s a constant livestream of it during its final moments on Earth.
To be clear, this liftoff won’t have astronauts onboard — but there’s a lot riding on its success, including the prospect of landing people on the moon sometime in the near future. (That’s planned for 2025). Come launch day, Artemis I’s will blast off from Earth and propel a pointy, relatively small, white spacecraft named Orion into lunar orbit.
A full schedule of those meetings, streamed on NASA TV, can be found here.
You’ll also find all the action live on CNET Highlights, our YouTube channel, by simply clicking play just below. It’s that easy.
The launch window itself opens at 11:17 a.m. PT / 2:17 p.m. ET, and it’ll stay open for two hours. Somewhere within that range, the mega moon rocket, which NASA calls the “most powerful rocket in the world,” will head toward the stars. Orion is filled to the brim with things like Amazon Alexa, TV character Shaun the Sheep, mannequins, miniature satellites and most importantly, 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 much more) that’ll essentially map out the routes of future missions — missions with a human crew like Artemis II and 2025’s Artemis III. Think of Artemis I as a crucial flight test and proof-of-principle mission.
Eventually, the craft will approach the lunar surface, getting as close as just 60 miles above ground, and conduct a bunch of science experiments to test things like lunar gravity, radiation danger, and maybe even snap a few pics like a re-creation of 1968’s Earthrise. The satellites inside Orion will deploy along the way, capture some physics data, and once all is said and done, the brave little spacecraft will return to our planet and splashdown off the coast of San Diego.
Pick up Orion, extract the data and Artemis I is complete. The whole thing is expected to take six weeks.