How and When to Watch NASA’s Moon Rocket Launch on Saturday

A technical hiccup kept NASA’s giant moon rocket, the Space Launch System, from getting off the launchpad on Monday.

The launch is scheduled for 2:17 p.m. Eastern time. In the case of unfavorable weather or technical glitches, the liftoff can be pushed back by as much as two hours, to 4:17 p.m.

NASA Television’s online coverage of the Artemis I launch begins at 5:45 a.m., when a commentator will describe the process of filling the rocket’s giant propellant tanks. 

Forecasts show that there is a 60 percent chance of favorable weather at the beginning of the launch window, and the odds improve to 80 percent by the end of the two-hour time slot.

If Artemis I gets off the ground, coverage will continue for about two hours after liftoff through what is known as the trans-lunar injection engine firing to push the Orion spacecraft out of low-Earth orbit on a trajectory to the moon.

If the launch is postponed again, NASA may also try to lift off on Monday, Sept. 5 or Tuesday, Sept. 6. Current forecasts give a 70 percent chance of favorable weather on Monday.

At a news conference on Thursday, mission officials said analysis of other data had convinced them that the temperature sensor was faulty and that the engine actually was sufficiently cold.

The Space Launch system’s cargo on Monday is Orion, a capsule that is designed for trips of multiple weeks beyond low-Earth orbit. It will not have a crew aboard for this flight but can carry up to four astronauts.

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