NASA will take one giant leap back toward the moon today.
The delayed launch of the Artemis rocket is set for 11:17 a.m. Pacific time/2:17 p.m. Eastern time from Cape Canaveral. This is an unmanned test flight, and Artemis I will send the Orion capsule on a 37-day journey to the moon, where the capsule will be in orbit.
Today’s launch will be broadcast live on NASA Television, the NASA app and www.nasagov.live.
NASA had to scrub Monday morning’s launch of the rocket because of technical issues, but expressed optimism about today’s launch.
“Meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force Launch Delta 45 predict 60% favorable weather conditions, improving throughout the window,” according to NASA.
The Artemis program is designed to put the first woman and the first person of color on the moon. And it marks the first time humans are returning to the moon since the last Apollo mission there in 1972.
If Artemis I succeeds, then astronauts will fly in Artemis II no earlier than 2024.
Sometime after 2025, Artemis III would put two astronauts on the moon, according to NASA’s plans.
While today’s Artemis flight is unmanned, the capsule isn’t empty. On board is a plush Snoopy, Legos and three test dummies called Commander Moonikin Campos, Helga and Zohar, along with research payloads.