If Artemis I launches as planned on Monday morning from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, it will mark the first time in 50 years that a spacecraft has headed toward the moon.
This is an unmanned mission, but if all goes well with this launch — planned for sometime between 7:33 a.m. and 9:33 a.m. central time — Artemis II will follow, probably in 2024, and will carry the first woman and next man to land on the moon.
It’s big stuff in the space world, and Huntsville’s Marshall Space Flight Center has played a big role in Artemis I. The Space Launch System — the rocket that will launch the Orion spacecraft to the moon — was developed at Marshall, and a number of companies either based in Alabama or with large presences here, including Boeing, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Northrop Grumman and the United Launch Alliance, helped build it.
NASA will have live coverage before, during and after the launch on its website and NASA TV. The coverage begins at 11 p.m. Sunday.
Orion will spend 42 days in flight, traveling to the moon, looping around it and returning to Earth, a trip of about 1.3 million miles. NASA says the capsule will splash down off the coast of San Diego on Oct. 10.