SpaceX To Launch NASA’s Lunar Flashlight Mission: When And Where To Watch?

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SpaceX To Launch NASA’s Lunar Flashlight Mission: Livestream Details
Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

SpaceX is all set to put NASA’s Lunar Flashlight satellite into orbit. Not just that, SpaceX will also be carrying the HAKUTO-R Mission 1, Japan’s first privately led mission to land on the Moon.

 

The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the missions will take off from the Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday, November 30, and space enthusiasts will be able to watch the event online. Here’s everything you should know about the launch.

When And Where To Watch The Launch?

SpaceX will be trying to launch its Falcon 9 rocket at 3:39 AM ET (2:09 PM IST) on Wednesday, November 30. Space enthusiasts will be able to watch the launch and early stages of the launch through the video player embedded above, or they can head to SpaceX’s official YouTube channel. The coverage of the launch will kick off 15 minutes before the takeoff.

If the space company fails to launch the rocket on time, it will be aiming for another opportunity on Thursday, December 1, at 3:37 a.m. ET (2:07 PM IST). You can also check out SpaceX’s official Twitter account for all the updates on the status of the launch.

Briefcase-Sized Satellite Looking For Water Ice

The Lunar Flashlight satellite will leverage its lasers to hunt for water ice on the dark side of the Moon’s South Pole, and explore other places that haven’t seen the light of day in billions of years.

During its three-month mission, the briefcase-sized satellite will make use of a reflectometer that comprises four lasers emitting near-infrared light in wavelengths that can be absorbed by water ice, as per NASA.

“Should the lasers hit bare rock or regolith (broken rock and dust), the light will reflect back to the spacecraft. But if the target absorbs the light, that would indicate the presence of water ice. The greater the absorption, the more ice there may be,” NASA said.

How Will Lunar Water Help?

Lunar water is believed to be one day used for astronauts on long-stay Moon missions. It could even help them create rocket fuel for missions launching from the lunar surface to other planets in our solar system.

If scientists manage to crack the code, such a breakthrough would trim down the cost of space flights significantly, as launching missions from the lunar surface would curb the need for huge rockets and great amounts of fuel.

The launch will also be ferrying Japan’s HAKUTO-R lander to space for a lunar landing to deploy government and private payloads to the Moon.

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