WAPAKONETA — To help celebrate the first launch of the Artemis I mission, the Armstrong Air & Space Museum will be hosting a small liftoff party in the museum’s STEM Inspiration Center. The museum will open its doors on Monday, Aug. 29, at 8 a.m., with the launch window scheduled between 8:33 a.m. and 10:33 a.m.
Due to the unpredictability of rocket launches, if Artemis I does not launch on Aug. 29, the museum will have another scheduled launch viewing party on the subsequent launch window date until the rocket lifts off. The other launch windows include Friday, Sept. 2, from 12:48 p.m. to 2:48 p.m. and Monday, Sept. 5, from 5:12 p.m. to 6:42 p.m. The museum will open the STEM Inspiration Center doors 30 minutes prior to each launch window start time. Museum officials will also attempt to notify guests via social media if the launch is postponed.
“This is the first launch of the Artemis Program, which is the next chapter for lunar exploration,” said Armstrong Executive Director Dante Centuori. “Our museum staff is excited to watch the launch of Artemis I and hope that members of the community will come out to help celebrate with us.”
For background, Artemis I is an uncrewed lunar orbit test launch, which will have a mission duration of approximately 42 days before returning and splashing down in the Pacific Ocean. NASA will be testing the new SLS rocket and the new Orion spacecraft. Coming in with 8.8 million pounds of thrust, the SLS is the most powerful rocket ever built. The other interesting part of the mission is having crew-capable hardware, which adds to the overall complexity and importance.
During the mission, the Orion spacecraft will separate and make its way to the moon, flying about 60 miles above the lunar surface. If all is successful on Artemis I, NASA will then send a crewed mission on Artemis II. As of now, NASA anticipates returning humans to the lunar surface on Artemis III by 2025. The program will also see the first woman and first person of color to walk on the moon as well.