Watch NASA's Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft return to Earth in these free webcasts

Update for Dec. 11, 4:30 pm ET: NASA's Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft successfully splashed down today, Dec. 11, and appears in good shape as recovery teams work to retrieve the spacecraft. You can see NASA's recovery teams at work above without commentary. It is expected to take up to 6 hours to get Orion inside its recovery ship. Read our full splashdown story.

NASA's Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft is returning to Earth from the moon on its historic uncrewed test flight and you can see live views and mission updates from NASA right now for free. Splashdown is set for Sunday, Dec. 11. 

The Artemis 1 mission launched on Nov. 16 at 1:47 a.m. EST (0647 GMT) from Pad 39B of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida to fly a 25-day test flight around the moon and back. The mission will return to Earth on Dec. 11, with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean at 12:40 p.m. EST (1740 GMT)

NASA and IBM are offering live views from Orion as its communications bandwidth allows, with NASA hosting press conferences during the flight during mission milestones. The Artemis 1 mission marks the first test flight of the Space Launch System megarocket with its Orion spacecraft.

Related: NASA's Artemis 1 moon mission: Live updates 

SLS model 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 for a 1:200 scale version of NASA's moon megarocket. Read more about it.

The last time a rocket this powerful thundered off a KSC pad was back in 1973 when a Saturn V moon rocket carried Skylab into orbit, marking the end of the Apollo era, so this month's event should be quite a show.

Related: NASA's Artemis 1 moon mission: Live updates 

NASA is delivering comprehensive coverage of prelaunch, launch and postlaunch activities for Artemis 1. The uncrewed dress rehearsal around the moon will clear the trail for a crewed moon-bound flight test with 2024's Artemis 2, and an actual lunar landing by 2025 as part of Artemis 3.

Those lucky enough to be joining the Artemis 1 spectacle in Florida were treated to the shock and awe of 8.8 million pounds of thrust fighting gravity and propelling the sleek SLS rocket and Orion space capsule into the heavens. For the rest of us, NASA released a schedule for the free livestream broadcast to watch the mission  from the safety and comfort of our own homes. 

Live event coverage will air on courtesy of NASA Television, the NASA mobile app, and the agency's official website, with prelaunch activities to be streamed as well.

Sure, it might not provide the same epic experience that the Earth-shuddering blastoff will offer, but it's the next best thing and you don't have to worry about the heat, parking hassles, or huge crowds.  

On launch day, a live broadcast of the festivities included celebrity appearances by Jack Black, Chris Evans, and Keke Palmer, as well as a patriotic performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" courtesy of Josh Groban and Herbie Hancock. We also heard a rendition of "America the Beautiful" played by The Philadelphia Orchestra and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Here's a rundown of the upcoming Artemis 1activities following to liftoff.

Dec. 11: 11 a.m. EST - Artemis 1 splashdown coverage begins

With the Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft returning to Earth on Dec. 11, NASA will chronicle its reentry and splashdown in a live broadcast that will cover the final hours of the mission. 

The NASA webcast will begin at 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT) and then run continuously through splashdown.

Dec. 11: 12:40 pm ET - Artemis 1 splashdown

At 12:40 p.m. EST (1740 GMT), the Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft is expected to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean of the western coast of Baja California. 

The splashdown target zone is about 300 miles south of NASA's original target off the coast of San Diego. It was moved do to bad weather at the primary zone. 

Dec. 11: NET 3:30 pm ET - Artemis 1 post-splashdown press conference

After splashdown, NASA will hold a press conference at 3:30 p.m. EST (2030 GMT) to discuss the Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft's return to Earth, its performance and the next steps for the Artemis program. 

Participants will include:

  • Bill Nelson, NASA administrator
  • Jim Free, NASA associate administrator for the Exploration System Development Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Vanessa Wyche, director, Johnson
  • Janet Petro, director, Kennedy
  • Mike Sarafin, mission manager, NASA Headquarters
  • Howard Hu, Orion Program manager, Johnson
  • Emily Nelson, chief flight director, Johnson
  • Melissa Jones, recovery director, Kennedy

Dec. 11: 6 pm ET- Artemis 1 mission highlights video

NASA will end its Artemis 1 splashdown day with a premiere at 6 p.m. EST (2300 GMT) of mission highlights from the test flight to the moon. The highlight presentation is expected to be the final entry in NASA's Artemis All-Access series of videos chronicling the mission. 

Dec. 12: 3 p.m. ET - NASA Science Live: Artemis Returns to Earth

The NASA Science Live team will host a special episode at 3 p.m. EST (2000 GMT) on Dec. 12 to discuss the science performed on the uncrewed Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft and how it will help future exploration of the moon and deep space.

On Wednesday, Nov. 30, NASA will hold a press conference at 5 p.m. EST (2200 GMT) to discuss Orion's upcoming departure from its distant retrograde orbit around the moon. 

The briefing will offer an update on the Artemis 1 Orion mission to date and preview the spacecraft's distant retrograde orbit departure burn, which is currently scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 1, at 4:53 p.m. EST (2153 GMT). 

Previous Artemis 1 briefings

NASA's Artemis 1 mission has been delayed for months and saw two launch attempts on Aug. 29 and Sept. 3 that were foiled by technical issues and weather. For this latest campaign targeting a Nov. 16 launch, NASA has held two briefings about the status of the Artemis 1 vehicle and its Orion spacecraft. 

Here's a review of those briefings/

Nov. 3: Artemis 1 pre-rollout update

On Nov. 3, NASA held a press conference to discuss the rollout plans for the Artemis 1 moon rocket on Nov. 3. You can listen to a replay above. 

Friday, Nov. 11: NASA Artemis 1 update post-storm

On Friday, Nov. 11, Jim Free, NASA's associate administrator for exploration systems development, held a teleconference to update the public on the status of the Artemis 1 moon rocket following Tropical Storm Nicole. 

Free detailed the repair work and other activities to ensure the Artemis 1 rocket will be ready to launch on Nov. 16.

Sunday, Nov. 13: 7 pm ET - Artemis 1 launch readiness briefing

On Sunday, Nov. 13, NASA will preview its Artemis 1 launch with a prelaunch press conference at the L-2 mark about 48 hours before the scheduled liftoff. 

The press conference will begin at 7 p.m. EST (0000 GMT), with mission managers reporting on whether the Artemis 1 moon rocket is once again ready to fly. It will come after a daylong Mission Management Team meeting. Speaking during the briefing will be:

  • Bill Nelson, NASA administrator  
  • Mike Sarafin, Artemis mission manager, NASA Headquarters 
  • Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, Artemis launch director, Exploration Ground Systems Program, Kennedy 
  • Emily Nelson, chief flight director, NASA Johnson 
  • Melody Lovin, weather officer, U.S. Space Launch Delta 45 

Monday, Nov. 14: 12 pm ET - Artemis 1 prelaunch briefing

NASA will hold a media briefing on Monday, Nov. 14, at 12 p.m. EST (1700 GMT) to review the launch countdown status of the Artemis 1 moon rocket. 

Speaking during this briefing will be:

  • Jeremy Parsons, Exploration Ground Systems Program deputy manager, NASA Kennedy
  • Melody Lovin, weather officer, U.S. Space Launch Delta 45 

Tuesday, Nov. 15: 3:30 pm ET - Artemis 1 fueling coverage begins

The third launch attempt for NASA's Artemis 1 moon mission will actually begin on Tuesday, Nov. 15, when NASA begins to fuel the Space Launch System rocket. That fueling process is expected to begin at 3:30 p.m. EST (2030 GMT)

The core stage of the SLS rocket can hold about 730,000 gallons of super-cold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, so loading that propellant will take up to 3 or 4 hours. 

There is a critical moment to watch for in the fueling: the early chill down of the four main engines on the SLS rocket, something that is vital for the launch to proceed. NASA successfully tested this step in a September fueling test.

Tuesday, Nov. 15: 10:30 pm ET - Full Artemis 1 launch coverage

NASA's full launch coverage webcast for Artemis 1 will begin again on Nov. 15 at 10:30 p.m. EST (0330 GMT).  This part of the agency's webcast will be in English. 

"Coverage will continue through translunar injection and spacecraft separation, setting Orion on its path to the Moon," NASA wrote in a description.

Wednesday, Nov. 16: 12 am ET - Artemis 1 Spanish broadcast

An hour before launch, NASA's  will begin its Spanish-language webcast to chronicle the Artemis 1 mission. It is scheduled to begin at 12 a.m. EST (0500 GMT)

The webcast will run through launch and the first 15 minutes of the mission after liftoff. Following the launch, you can get Spanish-language updates on Artemis 1 through the NASA en Español social media channels.

Wednesday, Nov. 16: 1:04 am ET - Artemis 1 Liftoff

This is the moment of truth for NASA's Artemis 1 mission: the first launch window for the Space Launch System rocket at 1:04 a.m. EST (0604 GMT).

NASA actually has a two-hour window in which to try to launch the SLS booster, so liftoff could occur anytime between 1:04 a.m. to 3:04 a.m. EST (0604-0804 GMT), weather and technical systems permitting.

Wednesday, Nov. 16: 4 am ET - Artemis 1 post-launch briefing

After launch, NASA will hold a post-launch press conference scheduled for no earlier than 1 hour after the launch broadcast ends. NASA is currently targeting this briefing for 4 a.m. EST (0900 GMT) start time for this briefing, but that could change as the day progresses.

Below are the NASA officials scheduled to speak in the briefing.

  • Bill Nelson, NASA administrator  
  • Mike Sarafin, Artemis mission manager, NASA Headquarters 
  • Mike Bolger, Exploration Ground Systems Program manager, Kennedy 
  • John Honeycutt, Space Launch System Program manager, Marshall 
  • Howard Hu, Orion Program manager, NASA’s Johnson Space Center 
  • Emily Nelson, chief flight director, Johnson 

Nov. 16: 8:30 am ET - Orion trajectory burn

If all goes well with the launch, NASA will host a webcast to highlight the first trajectory maneuver to send the Artemis 1 Orion beyond Earth orbit and off to the moon. 

The time of this coverage may change depending on the launch time of the Artemis 1 mission, but it is currently set for 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT).

For a complete rundown of all the talks and activities surrounding Artemis 1's thrilling flight, check out NASA's detailed coverage schedule.

Whether staking out a sweet in-person spot to watch Artemis 1 or taking it all in via NASA's livestream options, it’s destined to be the pyrotechnics show of the year!

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.