Up to 400,000 people could attend the launch of Artemis 1 towards the Moon in Florida – FRANCE 24 English

First modification: 09/02/2022 – 23:46 Last modification: 09/02/2022 – 23:44 Cocoa Beach (United States) (AFP) – Space lovers gather in Florida in the hope of witnessing the launch of the new NASA rocket to the Moon, scheduled for 2:17 p.m. (6:17 p.m. GMT) on Saturday as part of the Artemis 1 mission of the SLS rocket, the most powerful in the world. The Kennedy Space Center, from where the rocket must take off, will be closed to the public, but spectators will be able to see it rise from nearby beaches. “I remember some moon landings when I was very young,” during the Apollo program, Alberto Tirado said Friday, consulted by AFP in Cocoa Beach. The launch, initially scheduled for Monday, was canceled at the last minute due to technical problems. The authorities had then expected some 100,000 or 200,000 spectators. The number of tourists who traveled is yet to be confirmed, but it could “double” this weekend, Don Walker, responsible for Brevard County, told AFP. that the audience for the launch will be between 200,000 and 400,000 people,” he said. SpaceX’s first manned launch in 2020 attracted some 220,000 people, in the midst of a pandemic. The fact that the launch takes place over a long weekend due to the Monday’s Labor Day holiday, as well as its historic character, contributes to the expected success of attendance, explained Meagan Happel of Florida’s space coast tourism office. Attendees were asked to travel early to avoid traffic jams, as that nearby hotels have been booked for weeks and available parking spaces will be scarce. The Artemis 1 mission is an unmanned test flight. The rocket-powered Orion capsule will spend a few weeks in space, venturing as far as 40,000 miles behind the Moon, farther than any habitable spacecraft has done so far. © 2022 AFP