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How to watch NASA's Lucy asteroid mission launch this week online

NASA is getting ready to launch a new science spacecraft Saturday (Oct. 16) to study asteroids near Jupiter, and you can watch mission coverage live all week.

Lucy — which will study Trojan asteroids, or asteroids that share the orbit of the giant planet — will fly to space from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. With blast-off targeting 5:34 a.m. EDT (0934 GMT), live launch coverage will begin at 5 a.m. EDT (0900 GMT) on NASA Television, the NASA app, NASA social media channels and here at Space.com.

NASA will also hold several virtual public events along with science and engineering briefings before and after the launch; all briefings will livestream on NASA Television and social media channels. Some briefings will allow for public questions; more details below. All timings are approximate and may shift due to launch events.

Related: Meet the 8 asteroids NASA's Lucy spacecraft will visit

NASA says the public can register to attend the launch virtually to access curated launch resources, a behind-the-scenes look at Lucy, and the chance to earn a virtual guest launch passport stamp. You can also attend the virtual NASA Social for the #LucyMission on Facebook, which in part allows you to talk with NASA team members in real time. 

"Over its 12-year primary mission, Lucy will explore a record-breaking number of asteroids," NASA said in a statement. "The spacecraft will fly by one asteroid in the solar system's main belt, and seven Trojan asteroids. Lucy's path will circle back to Earth three times for gravity assists, which will make it the first spacecraft ever to return to our planet's vicinity from the outer solar system."

Here are more details on the briefings and launch coverage, which will also all be available to watch on Space.com courtesy of NASA.

Wednesday, Oct. 13

1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT): Lucy prelaunch news conference with the following participants:

  • Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator, NASA's science mission directorate.
  • Hal Levison, Lucy principal investigator, Southwest Research Institute.
  • Donya Douglas-Bradshaw, Lucy project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
  • John Elbon, chief operating officer, United Launch Alliance.
  • To be named launch weather officer, 45th Weather Squadron, Space Launch Delta 45, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
  • Omar Baez, Lucy launch director, NASA's launch services program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Members of the public may also ask questions online by using #LucyMission on social media.

Thursday, Oct. 14

10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT): NASA Television live Lucy rollout show, following the mission as it goes to the launch pad.

1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT): Lucy science briefing with the following participants:

  • Adriana Ocampo, Lucy program executive, NASA Headquarters.
  • Cathy Olkin, Lucy deputy principal investigator, Southwest Research Institute.
  • Keith Noll, Lucy project scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
  • Hal Weaver, principal investigator for Lucy's L'LORRI instrument, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.
  • Phil Christensen, principal investigator for Lucy's L'TES instrument, Arizona State University.
  • Dennis Reuter, principal investigator for Lucy's L'Ralph instrument, Goddard.

3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT): Lucy engineering briefing with the following participants:

  • Joan Salute, associate director for flight programs, planetary science division, NASA Headquarters.
  • Jessica Lounsbury, Lucy project systems engineer, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
  • Katie Oakman, Lucy structures and mechanisms lead, Lockheed Martin Space.
  • Coralie Adam, deputy navigation team chief, KinetX Aerospace.

Members of the public may also ask questions using #LucyMission on social media.

Friday, Oct. 15

3:30 p.m. EDT (1930 GMT): NASA Science Live with the following participants:

  • Carly Howett, assistant director of the department of space studies, Southwest Research Institute.
  • Wil Santiago, deep space exploration engineer, Lockheed Martin Space.
  • Donya Douglas-Bradshaw, Lucy project manager, Goddard.
  • Brittine Young, mentor for the NASA Lucy L'SPACE academy.
  • Wilbert Ruperto, ambassador for the NASA Lucy L'SPACE academy.

Members of the public can send questions using #askNASA or posting a comment in the live video chat stream.

Saturday, Oct. 16

5 a.m. EDT (0900 GMT): Lucy launch coverage; launch scheduled no earlier than 5:34 a.m. EDT

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Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell is a contributing writer for Space.com who is one of the few Canadian journalists to report regularly on space exploration. She is the author or co-author of several books on space exploration. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota in Space Studies, and an M.Sc. from the same department. She also holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University in Canada, where she began her space-writing career in 2004. Besides writing, Elizabeth teaches communications at the university and community college level, and for government training schools. To see her latest projects, follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @howellspace.