NASA Is Preparing for Its Next Moon Rocket Launch — Here's How You Can Be Part of It

Join the moonshot fun from home.

NASA is set to send a new generation of astronauts to the moon — including the first woman and the first person of color — and the space agency is inviting you along for the ride.

Alright, so you won't literally be joining the astronauts in their spacecraft, but you can still participate in NASA's Artemis moon program from home. To start your "journey," acquire your boarding pass — simply register here to have your name added to a flash drive that will be sent to the moon aboard Artemis I, the first mission in the program, and you'll be issued one. (As of publication, more than 2 million people have already added their names to the list.)

The Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida
The Vehicle Assembly Building is seen before the rollout of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard atop a mobile launcher from High Bay 3, Wednesday, March 16, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Ahead of NASA’s Artemis I flight test, the fully stacked and integrated SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft will undergo a wet dress rehearsal at Launch Complex 39B to verify systems and practice countdown procedures for the first launch. Joel Kowsky/Courtesy of NASA

Currently in its "wet rehearsal" testing phase and due to launch this summer, Artemis I will see the first flight of the new Space Launch System (SLS), the world's most powerful rocket, and the Orion capsule. Though there won't be any astronauts on board, the mission will test the new hardware on a flight around the moon to ensure it's ready for the first crew in 2024.

Artemis I lifting off
An artist’s rendering shows Artemis I lifting off with the world’s most powerful rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS). Courtesy of NASA

After you've received your boarding pass, NASA invites you to share what you'd pack for a moon trip with the hashtag #NASAMoonKit. You might even have the chance to be featured on NASA's social media channels or on the live launch broadcast of Artemis I. For a real challenge, try to pack everything in a bag that's just 5-by-8-by-2 inches — that's all the space real astronauts are given for personal items. (And you thought airlines were strict with carry-ons.) Get inspired by checking out what astronauts really pack for a trip to the moon.

Astronaut with regolith
Courtesy of NASA

As we approach the launch, you can hype yourself up with NASA Moon Tunes, a playlist co-curated with Third Rock Radio with about 13 hours of space-themed music, or with NASA podcasts. You'll also be able share photos on Snapchat with Artemis I filters.

An example of a boarding pass people can print out to get ready for their “trip” with the rocket.
An example of a boarding pass people can print out to get ready for their “trip” with the rocket. Courtesy of NASA

Should all go according to plan with Artemis I this summer, the first crew will launch on Artemis II, currently scheduled for 2024, which will fly around the moon just like Apollo 10. Then, the first lunar landing — akin to Apollo 11 — will take place on Artemis III, tentatively in 2025.

An example of a NASA MoonKit
Each astronaut is allowed a 5” by 8” by 2” (12.7 cm x 20.32 cm x 5.08 cm) volume when they travel to the International Space Station. People can make their own #NASAMoonKit fit into this tight space and show us how you did it with a picture or video, like this example. Courtesy of NASA

Want to stay up to date on all the latest Artemis happenings? Learn more about the program here, and follow the live updates here.

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