Update 9:02 am ET: The Artemis I launch has been postponed due to an engine issue. Friday is the next possible launch day.
It’s a big day for fans of space exploration. Artemis I is set to take off from Cape Canaveral in Florida for a 42-day test flight around the moon and back.
The ship will be uncrewed — barring some testing manikins and a plush Snoopy toy — but this is just the first precursor to the main event, with NASA intending to send humans to the moon’s south pole by the end of 2025. That, in turn, is preparation for the longer-term goal of putting humans on Mars.
The event itself will be quite the celebration, with celebrity appearances from Jack Black, Chris Evans, Keke Palmer and a performance of The Star-Spangled Banner by Josh Groban and Herbie Hancock all scheduled.
But even if you’re in Florida, you won’t be able to watch it in person unless you’ve already got tickets to the visitor center, as the event has been sold out for some time. Fortunately, NASA has made the Artemis I launch available to watch online, and you can even do so in VR to replicate the experience of being there — albeit without the heat from the thrusters warming you up.
Here’s how to watch the Artemis I moon launch live online.
When is the Artemis I moon launch?
Artemis I is due to liftoff on Monday August 29, between 8:33 a.m ET and 10:33 a.m ET.
As of this morning CNN reports that there has been an issue with one of the four engines, but it's still possible that Artemis I will hit the launch window.
If the launch is delayed for any reason, the next available launch date is Friday September 2. But the US Space Force is confident it will go ahead as scheduled, forecasting an 80% chance of favorable conditions.
How to watch the Artemis I moon launch live online
Footage of the fueling begins at 12 a.m ET, while coverage of the launch in English will begin at 6:30 a.m ET.
“Launch coverage will continue through translunar injection and spacecraft separation, setting Orion [the six-person deep-space exploration capsule] on its path to the Moon,” NASA explains.
After the launch, you can stick around for a post-launch news conference around 12 p.m ET. At 4 p.m ET, we should get coverage of Orion’s “first outbound trajectory correction burn”, and then 90 minutes later we’ll get coverage of the capsule’s “first imagery of the Earth.”
How to watch the Artemis I moon launch in VR
If you have a Meta Quest 2 headset, you can go and watch the event as if you were there.
First, you need the Oculus Horizon Worlds app. Once downloaded, Meta says you need to “travel to the Venues Hub” and then “head to the building for Artemis Ascending”. Alternatively, you can search for the Artemis event from the main menu, apparently, but Meta does suggest you need to RSVP here to attend either way.
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Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.