The latest planned Artemis I launch window is 69 minutes long, opening 2022-11-14T00:07:00−05:00, which if used will lead to a launch in complete darkness. I'm interested in the possibility of observing the launch from a relatively long distance away. To work out if anything will be visible to an observer we need to know:

  • If there will be a line of sight from the observer to the SLS
    • Any bounds there are on the trajectory the launch will follow will thus be useful
  • How bright the SLS exhaust will be, and whether this changes along its trajectory
    • From this we can make some estimate of whether an observer with direct line of sight is near enough to see it by naked eye or with some magnification

My personal interest in this is the possibility of observing the launch from on board a flight that departs Nassau (some 490km from the KSC) shortly before the launch window opens. This seems to be in the realms of possibility given by this answer but I don't know how much difference the engineering of the SLS compared to the STS or launching for lunar orbit rather than earth orbit might make to the trajectory and/or brightness of the upcoming launch. Any details that contribute to predicting the visibility from any location would be welcome.



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