Traffic jam Artemis 1 – For Labor Day weekend, there will be many people on Florida’s Space Coast.
An American city might have a crowd of over 50,000 people to witness the launch of NASA’s Artemis 1 lunar rocket this weekend.
Artemis 1 was to launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida’s Brevard on Monday (Aug. 29). Officials from the county said that 100,000 to 200,000 people visited the Space Coast to witness the attempt. However, the launch was canceled due to an issue with the Space Launch System (SLS), rocket’s first stage engine.
The mission team believes that the problem is minor and that it involves a defective temperature sensor. They plan to continue with Saturday’s liftoff attempt at 2:07 p.m. ET (1817 GMT). This is right around Labor Day weekend, which could allow many more people to witness the un crewed launch.
Officials from Brevard County expect a large crowd, possibly twice the number they saw Monday at 200,000 to 400,000. (opens in new tab Thursday) Other Space Coast officials agree with this estimate.
“We are confident that it will be more than whatever number we had Monday because it’s four-ship day, a milestone launch and holiday weekend at the port — some of top reasons visitors come to this area all wrapped up into one day,” Meagan Haappel, public relations manager and film commissioner for Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism told Space.com via email. We are projecting that it will be at least twice our original estimate, depending on how much interest has been.
To put it in perspective, 400,000 people is about the same population as New Orleans and Tampa. This is a large number of people to witness a rocket launch. But this isn’t just any mission. Artemis 1 marks the debut flight for the SLS at 322 feet (98 meters), which is larger than the Saturn V, the legendary rocket that launched the Apollo spacecraft towards the moon half a century ago.
NASA’s Artemis program will launch this weekend, marking the first time that it has launched. It aims to establish an ongoing, sustainable human presence around the moon by 2020.
Artemis 1 will send an Orion capsule, uncrewed, to lunar orbit and return. If all goes according to plan, the main objective is to prove that Orion and SLS are capable of carrying astronauts.
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