Who Can Watch Artemis I Launch From the Ground in Florida?

The first launch of the Artemis mission to return to the moon may provide a late-night light show, if you live in Florida or southeastern Georgia and are willing to stay up late to see it.

The launch opportunity begins at 1:04 a.m. Eastern time, and could happen any time until 3:04 a.m., if it occurs. With the mission lifting off from Kennedy Space Center, rocket watchers on the ground in Florida can spot the space-bound behemoth, which will be visible to the naked eye for up to 70 seconds after it launches. And Florida residents might be able to see it from the comfort of home.

“As long as they have a clear view of the sky in that direction, they should be able to see it across the state,” said Meagan Happel, a spokeswoman for the Space Coast Office of Tourism in Florida.

The visibility will last longer the closer a person is to Cape Canaveral, but you don’t have to be on the coast. According to NASA projections, the moon rocket will shine in the sky almost as far inland as Tallahassee, if weather permits. And skygazers as far north as Savannah, Ga., might also be able to spot the rocket with clear enough skies, though it may only be for a few seconds, said Patti Beiling, a spokeswoman for the Kennedy Space Center.

After those 70 seconds, when the Space Launch System and the Orion capsule reach an altitude of 42,000 feet, they will be out of view.

Despite the launch’s late hour, there are still places to watch liftoff from the ground. Along the Space Coast of Florida, numerous viewing spots are open to the public. However, in the aftermath of Hurricane Nicole, some locations, including popular beaches, have been closed because of storm damage. Night launches are not uncommon, though, and some popular spots were already almost full 12 hours ahead of scheduled liftoff, Ms. Happel said. The darkness may even help, Ms. Beiling said, as “it may be easier to visually locate the rocket in the darkness of the night sky.”

Even if the rocket is not visible where you are within the viewing zone because of weather or obstructions on the ground, the Space Launch System is also set to be the loudest rocket launched on the Space Coast, “with experts predicting it could be heard up to 45 miles away a few minutes after launch,” Ms. Happel said.