NASA’s Moon Rocket Launch Will Draw Up To 200,000 Visitors Say Officials!

NASA-SLS-ARTEMIS-KSC-AUGUST-2022
NASA's SLS rocket on the mobile launcher at the KSC yesterday. Image: Joel Kowsky/NASA

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) upcoming maiden launch of the Artemis program is expected to draw huge crowds to the local beach according to estimates released by the city government. The launch will take place from NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida and it will see the massive Space Launch System (SLS) launch the Orion spacecraft on a trajectory that will send the spaceship into a lunar orbit.

Officials from the city of Cocoa, which lies across the Indian River from the KSC which is situated on Merrit Island warned residents about a huge influx of visitors to watch the launch that is currently slated to take place on the 29th of this month. They also shared details such as traffic plans and police duties for a historic day in American spaceflight that will resume missions to the Moon after the Apollo program ended in 1972 and saw NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong become the first human to set foot on the Moon.

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The City of Cocoa Beach government put out a notice for residents yesterday soon after NASA transported its 322 feet tall rocket to the launch pad. The SLS, like most rockets out there, consists of two parts. The lower part is the first stage which uses four engines and two solid rocket boosters to generate a staggering 8.8 million pounds of thrust for liftoff, and the second stage uses a single engine for the remainder of the flight once the rocket has exited most of the Earth's gravity. On top of the SLS is the Orion spacecraft, which is designed to carry astronauts to space stations.

NASA transported the rocket from its Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) in KSC to the launch site yesterday, with the journey taking nearly ten hours. As the rocket made its journey, the Cocoa Beach government put out a notice sharing with locals that it expects launch day to be quite crowded.

The announcement from the Cocoa Beach government informing residents about the NASA launch.

According to officials, the launch will draw up to 200,000 spectators to the area and owing to the high interest in the launch, hotel rooms have already been sold out. Owing to the congestion that is expected because of the large number of visitors, local police will be monitoring the situation. Additionally, those who want to view the launch while coasting in the Indian River that flows between the KSC and the beach will be able to do so courtesy of the five cruise ships that will be in port on the launch day.

Other details in the announcement include peak traffic times and routes after the launch.

The launch is officially dubbed Artemis 1 by NASA, and it is the first of at least five missions that will take off from the KSC. Its primary aim is to test and evaluate the Orion spacecraft in a variety of areas such as communications, radiation tolerance and the ability to withstand the extreme temperatures of reentering the Earth's atmosphere.

After Artemis 1, Artemis 2 will become the first rocket to send humans to the Moon in the 21st century, with the astronauts initially set to perform a flyby of the Moon before returning to Earth. The Orion capsule does not have the capability to land on the lunar surface, and Artemis 3, which will be the first to send a crew for a surface mission will use SpaceX's Starship to land on the Moon after the astronauts have made their way to NASA's space station on Orion.

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