News & Politics

3 Big Launches Set to Happen This Week (Aside From Trump’s Campaign)

A rocket, six train stations, and two new books plan to take off.

A rendering of the Artemis 1 rocket launch. Courtesy of NASA.

If the rumors are true and former President Donald Trump officially announces his 2024 bid for the presidency tomorrow, then the launch of his campaign will likely dominate headlines—potentially overshadowing three other important launches set to happen this week. Here’s what to watch for:

NASA’s Space Launch System rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photograph courtesy of NASA/Joel Kowsky.

Launch #1: NASA’s Artemis 1 Rocket

If the weather cooperates and all goes well, NASA will launch its Artemis 1 moon rocket early Wednesday morning between 1:04 a.m. and 3:04 a.m. EST. The Space Launch System Rocket will send the Orion spacecraft 280,000 miles from earth plus 40,000 miles past the far side of the moon—setting the stage for crewed “deep space exploration” in the future.

“During this flight, Orion will launch atop the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown,” states NASA in a press release. “Orion will stay in space longer than any human spacecraft has without docking to a space station and return home faster and hotter than ever before.”

The tentative launch comes after technical failures forced NASA to abort its original launch date in August. If Wednesday’s launch is successful, Orion will return, splashing into the earth’s ocean, on Dec. 11.

Metro 7000 series
Photograph courtesy of TriggerPhoto via iStock/Getty Images Plus.

Launch #2: WMATA’s Silver Line Extension

Following four years of construction delays, WMATA’s six new stations along the Silver Line extension will finally open tomorrow. The $3 billion, 11.5-mile extension will provide a long-awaited affordable rail route directly to Dulles International Airport—a goal that’s been in the works for decades.

In addition to the airport station—which is a five-minute walk from baggage claim—the five other new stops include Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Loudoun Gateway, and Ashburn. According to WMATA, nearly half a million people live within five miles of the new stations.

Photograph courtesy of Penguin Random House/Brianna Kusilek.

Launch #3: Michelle Obama’s Book and Mike Pence’s Book

You can expect two new books from two familiar faces: Michelle Obama and Mike Pence. A follow-up to her bestselling memoir Becoming, Obama’s new book, The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain, will land into readers’ hands tomorrow. The book provides “practical wisdom and powerful strategies for staying hopeful and balanced in uncertain times,” according to its publisher Penguin Random House, which has printed 2.75 million first copies of the book.

Meanwhile, Simon and Schuster will also release Mike Pence’s new autobiography So Help Me God tomorrow. In it, Pence looks back on his own career to explain how he, the son a blue-collar family in Indiana, became the right-hand man of a brash real estate mogul-turned-President. “At around 500 pages, Pence’s book, like other memoirs by establishment Republicans who threw their lot in with the Trump administration, is exceedingly long—perhaps because he realizes at some level that he has a lot of explaining to do,” writes the New York Times in a review.

Jessica Ruf
Assistant Editor