Blood Moon rises over Artemis 1 megarocket preparing for launch in stunning photos

several images of a red moon rising above a launch tower beside artemis 1, seen at a distance
A timelapse of the Blood Moon eclipse on Nov. 8, 2022, over the Artemis 1 rocket parked at Launch Pad 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Image credit: United Launch Alliance)

There was a Blood Moon on the rise recently, beckoning NASA's rocket to join it in space.

Last week's Blood Moon total lunar eclipse was visible over the Artemis 1 rocket on Nov. 8, making for an epic view of the mission's eventual destination. Artemis 1 is scheduled to fly around the moon following a launch no earlier than Wednesday (Nov. 16) at 1:04 a.m. EST (0604), with the Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket hefting the Orion spacecraft for a round-the-moon journey.

Both NASA and United Launch Alliance, which built the SLS, captured footage of the ruddy moon rising over the NASA Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39B, where Artemis 1 is awaiting final approval for its launch.

NASA will provide an update on Monday (Nov. 14) around 6 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) on whether the agency is prepared to proceed into the final countdown. You can listen to the teleconference at Space.com and follow live updates about the mission.

Related: NASA delays Artemis 1 moon launch to Nov. 16 due to Tropical Storm Nicole

NASA SLS rocket kit!

Estes NASA SLS Model Rocket

(Image credit: Amazon)

You can launch a Space Launch System of your own with this Estes NASA SLS model rocket (opens in new tab) for a 1:200 scale version of NASA's moon megarocket. Read more about it.

It has been a difficult week for the rocket, which was left on the launch pad as Tropical Storm Nicole, which arrived as a hurricane, swept through coastal Florida. Agency officials have maintained the rocket is safe to fly, despite having been subject to high winds and experiencing some minor damage during the storm.

The Artemis 1 stack has been back and forth between Launch Pad 39B and the Vehicle Assembly Building several times due to issues such as fuel leaks and the approach of another hurricane, Hurricane Ian. When the launch occurs, it will be the first mission in NASA's Artemis program of lunar exploration.

A washed-out view of the Artemis 1 moon megarocket on Launch Pad 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Nov. 8, 2022, with the Blood Moon overhead. (Image credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Artemis aims to put boots on the moon in the 2020s. The current schedule calls for Artemis 2 launching in 2024 with astronauts on board to fly around the moon and Artemis 3 putting astronauts on the surface in 2025 or 2026.

Artemis 1 is expected to last 26 days if it launches on Wednesday. Orbital dynamics may change the length of the mission if it launches on other days. Current backup dates after Wednesday are Saturday (Nov. 19) and Nov. 25.

Elizabeth Howell is the co-author of "Why Am I Taller (opens in new tab)?" (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book about space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @howellspace (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Facebook (opens in new tab).

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. Elizabeth's reporting includes an exclusive with Office of the Vice-President of the United States, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, 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 (soon) a Bachelor of History from Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. 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