NASA's next big moon mission was spotted from space.
The Earth imagery provider Planet captured a stunning view of the Artemis 1 stacked Space Launch System (SLS) moon rocket and its Orion spacecraft on the launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
"Good luck to the team as they prepare to launch their most powerful rocket yet that will send an unpiloted Orion crew capsule around the moon," wrote Planet in a tweet about the SkySat video, recorded on Thursday (Aug. 25).
Good luck to the @NASA team as they prepare to launch their most powerful rocket yet that will send an unpiloted Orion crew capsule around the moon! SkySat video captured the launch vehicle on pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center on August 25, 2022. Ad astra 🚀🌕 pic.twitter.com/GdExCyRutKAugust 26, 2022
Artemis 1 is scheduled to launch from Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center at 8:33 a.m. EDT (1233 GMT) at the start of a two-hour window for liftoff. There's an 80% chance of good weather at launch time. You can watch the launch live online Monday starting at at 6:30 a.m. EDT (1030 GMT).
Artemis 1 will send the sensor-filled Orion spacecraft around the moon for an approximately 42-day mission (the length of the mission depends on the launch timing.) It's a shakedown mission to ensure the spacecraft and rocket are ready to carry humans for future missions.
NASA is working to get Artemis 1 flying well to prepare for future human missions. It plans to launch the Artemis 2 mission in 2024, with four missions on board. That mission will be followed by Artemis 3, the first crewed lunar landing, in 2025 or 2026 if all goes well.
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Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace