MOREHEAD, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Artemis One rocket launch has been in the works for years, but we'll have to wait at least four more days after Monday's launch was scrubbed.
It was upsetting for the people who packed Morehead State University's Space Science Center Star Theatre for a watch party.
"You feel a little bit of disappointment but at the same time, I would rather air on the side of caution," MSU professor, Dr. Elijah Jensen, said.
Dr. Jensen said launch delays are somewhat common. Jensen, who has a background in the aerospace industry, said all five space missions he has been part of had a delay.
When Artemis One does launch, Jensen explained it will have MSU's Lunar IceCube satellite on board.
"It's about the size of a shoebox," he said.
The satellite was built by a team of scientists and MSU students, faculty, and staff in MSU's "clean room".
"I loved every second of it," senior Noah Patrick, who worked on the satellite. "It was phenomenal. Honestly, the opportunity is unlike any other."
Once Artemis One does launch, Jensen said Lunar IceCube will be ejected from the rocket once in Earth's orbit.
Then, he explained it will take about six months to get to the moon via plasma drive propulsion. During this process and beyond, it will be controlled by a dish on the MSU campus.
Once Lunar IceCube gets to the moon, it will orbit looking for frozen water, or ice.
The goal is to lay the groundwork to build a base on the moon for further exploration.
"We can use that as a jumping-off point so we can go to Mars and work our way out further into the solar system," Jensen said.
This project is not only an exciting but also a welcome distraction for students like Noah Patrick who is from Menifee County, which had parts damaged in the July floods.
MSU reports about half of its student body comes from impacted counties.
"Honestly I feel like this launch can get us out of this rut that we're having a push us toward the future," said Patrick.
"We're providing an outlet for people's creativity and for things that a lot of students who come into this program never thought they'd be able to achieve," Jensen said.
It's providing a burst of inspiration for a region that has been through so much. Now, they'll look to the skies for the rescheduled launch Friday.
NASA funded MSU's $24 million Lunar IceCube project.