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 (opens in new tab) 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.