NASA will launch the latest mission to the moon late on Tuesday, February 13 (or early on Wednesday, February 14, depending on where you live). As part of its Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, the company Intuitive Machines will launch its first lunar lander, with the aim of delivering science payloads to the surface of the moon.
The launch will be live-streamed by NASA, and we have the details on how to watch below.
The launch will use a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and will take place from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Intuitive Machines’s lander is called the Nova-C and will carry commercial payloads, as well as NASA science experiments to the moon. It is aiming to land in an area near the moon’s south pole called Malapert A, a small crater next to the larger Malapert crater. This is close to one of the landing sites being considered for NASA’s planned Artemis III crewed mission to the moon.
The NASA payloads on board include an experiment regarding the plasma environment on the moon’s surface and a set of four cameras to image the lander’s engine plume as it descends onto the surface. The commercial payloads include tests of thermal materials and a camera.
The first commercial lunar landing attempt under the CLPS program, run by Astrobotic, failed to reach the moon and burned up in Earth’s atmosphere, so all eyes are on this second launch to see if it will have more success.
The launch will be live-streamed by NASA, and will be available for viewing via NASA TV. There are a few ways you can watch the channel, but the easiest is to go to NASA’s YouTube channel or to use the video embedded above. You can also use the NASA+ app, which is available for iOS, Android, and various other devices to watch the live stream.
Coverage of the launch begins at 12:15 a.m. ET on Wednesday, February 14 (9:15 p.m. PT on Tuesday, February 13). The launch itself is scheduled for just before 1 a.m. ET (or 10 p.m. PT), though NASA warns that the coverage may change “based on real-time operational activities.” For the latest news, you can also check out NASA’s Artemis blog or its X (formerly Twitter) account.