NASA to rollout lunar megarocket to launchpad. Here's how to watch

The mobile launcher for the Artemis I mission, atop crawler-transporter 2, arrives at the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Oct. 30, 2020. The agency will roll the combined Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft out of the VAB atop crawler-transporter 2 to Launch Pad 39B at the NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for testing no earlier than March 2022. 

The mobile launcher for the Artemis I mission, atop crawler-transporter 2, arrives at the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Oct. 30, 2020. The agency will roll the combined Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft out of the VAB atop crawler-transporter 2 to Launch Pad 39B at the NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for testing no earlier than March 2022. 

Kim Shiflett

After more than 50 years, NASA is set to send humans to the moon as part of the Artemis program and people can watch the megarocket rollout live on Thursday.

The first mission will include the rollouts of the Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket and Orion spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. The rollout process will include the legendary crawler which weighs in at 6.6. million lbs. The four-mile stretch from NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building to the launch pad carrying the SLS and Orion will take approximately 11 hours to the SPC launchpad, according to Space.com. 

"If you ever see it up close, its the most phenomenal thing I've seen," quoted Tom Whitmeyer. the associate administrator for exploration systems in Washing D.C., at NASA headquarters in the report. 

For more than five decades the crawler has been carrying equipment for space exploration. The crawler's first design was to carry NASA's Saturn Rocket, which launched all those Apollo missions many years ago.

Engineers and technicians at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida drove Crawler Transporter-2 on March 11, 2022 to the doors of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Soon, it will go inside the VAB where it will carry the Artemis I Moon rocket to launch pad 39B.

Engineers and technicians at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida drove Crawler Transporter-2 on March 11, 2022 to the doors of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Soon, it will go inside the VAB where it will carry the Artemis I Moon rocket to launch pad 39B.

NASA/Chad Siwik

As part of the Artemis moon mission, the first rehearsal for the lunar space program will be on April 3. Team members will load up the fuel tanks and practice the launch countdown procedures leading up to the actual launch for eight to nine days before sending the equipment back to prepare for the official launch date. 

The first launch of Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed mission leading to Artemis 3, a crewed mission sending astronauts around the moon and back to Earth.

The safety missions will assess the performance of the SLS and Orion and see Orion launched beyond the moon on its journey for approximately 26 days and 280,000 miles before heading back to Earth. 

WATCH LIVE:

WHEN: 4 p.m. Thurs., March 17

WHERE: NASA. TV

INFORMATION: The crawler will start its journey carrying the SLS megarocket and Orion spacecraft to the Kennedy Space Center launchpad. 

You can watch the live rollout via NASA TV below.