CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida. NASA’s planned launch of the Artemis 1 lunar mission will light up the sky tonight if all goes according to plan.
The massive 322-foot (98-meter) Space Launch System (SLS) rocket carrying the Orion spacecraft will take off within a two-hour window that opens at 1:04 am EST (0604 GMT), if the current plan will remain in effect. The launch will illuminate the entire Kennedy Space Center here in Florida, but will also be visible hundreds of miles around, according to a map published by NASA. (will open in a new tab) on Monday (November 14).
The map shows that Artemis 1 will be visible in the sky as far away as Savannah, Georgia, about 300 miles (482 kilometers) to the north. To the south, lookouts all the way to Miami should see the rocket if the sky is clear.
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As seen on the visibility map released by NASA, the launch of Artemis 1 will be visible throughout Florida and parts of nearby states. The agency says the fiery plume of the SLS lunar rocket will be visible for up to 70 seconds as it leaves Earth’s atmosphere and sends Orion toward the Moon.
“The rocket and spacecraft will no longer be visible to the naked eye after reaching an altitude of 42,000 feet” (12,800 meters), NASA said in a statement.
(Image credit: NASA) (will open in a new tab)
However, visibility depends on several factors, including weather conditions and the timing of the rocket launch. According to NASA, there is currently an 80% chance of favorable weather conditions for a launch.
When Artemis 1 does launch, it will send the Orion spacecraft on a 25-day journey to and from the moon. Along the way, the SLS ship will deploy 10 small satellites called cubesats that will conduct various science experiments, some of which will pave the way for subsequent Artemis missions.
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