NASA’s Artemis 1 mission will reach the Moon’s neighborhood on Monday morning (November 21), and you can follow the epic action live.
Artemis 1The unmanned Orion capsule has been sailing towards the moon since Wednesday morning (November 16), when It was launched atop NASA’s giant Space Launch System (SLS) missile.
Orion You will finally arrive the moon Monday morning, it will be skimming just 80 miles (130 kilometers) above the lunar surface at 7:44 a.m. EDT (1244 GMT), if all goes according to plan. During this close approach, the capsule would fire its main engine in an “auto-flight afterburner,” which would put it on course to enter lunar orbit four days later.
Members of the Artemis 1 team will explain and discuss the crucial maneuver during the webcast starting Monday at 7:15 AM EST (1215 GMT). Watch it live here on Space.com, courtesy of NASA, or directly through the space agency (Opens in a new tab).
Related: Stunning views of NASA’s Artemis 1 moon rocket debut (photos)
Live updates: NASA’s Artemis 1 lunar mission
Artemis 1 is NASA’s first mission Artemis program for lunar exploration, which aims to establish a manned research base on the moon by the end of 2020, among other goals. The takeoff of Artemis 1 also marked the debut of the SLS, The most powerful rocket ever successfully launched.
Monday’s burn will begin another important maneuver on November 25: the firing of an engine designed to put Orion into a distant retrograde orbit (DRO) around the Moon. The capsule will remain on DRO — a stable trajectory that takes it as far as 40,000 miles (64,000 km) from the lunar surface — until December 1, when another engine burns out that will send the capsule back toward Earth.
Orion will come home on December 11, and hit Earth’s atmosphere at breakneck speeds before eventually plunging softly into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California.
If all goes well with Artemis 1, NASA will be free to start preparing Artemis 2which will send astronauts around the moon in 2024 or thereabouts.
In 2025, the agency plans to launch Artemis 3, which would place the boots near the lunar south pole, the site of the envisioned research base. Artemis 3 will be the first manned lunar landing since the final Apollo mission in 1972, and the first time ever to put a woman and a person of color on the moon.
Mike Wall is the author of “Abroad (Opens in a new tab)Book (Major Grand Publishers, 2018; illustration by Carl Tate), a book about the search for aliens. Follow him on Twitter @tweet (Opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @tweet (Opens in a new tab) or Facebook (Opens in a new tab).
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