A storm delays NASA’s Artemis Moon rocket launch – again

Artemis 1


NASA postponed Friday’s launch attempt for a mission to the Moon and Mars, but again due to a major storm approaching Florida. But the space agency won’t be returning the towering Space Launch System (SLS) Rocket back to the hangar this time.

Last Friday, NASA rolled the 321-foot (97-meter) SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft onto the launch pad as it prepared. Released on Monday, November 14 from the Kennedy Space Center.

The storm behind this Artemis launch delay is Tropical Storm Nicola, which is expected to make landfall on Florida’s southeast coast Thursday morning as a Category 1 hurricane. The Kennedy Space Center is also located. on the southeast coast but is the expected path north of Nicola, likely to crash into West Palm Beach, about 150 miles south of Kennedy.

Although Hurricane Ian hit the southwest coast of Florida, farther from Kennedy than Nicole expected, Ian was a Category 4 hurricane from which parts of Florida were still recovering. NASA in that case chose Roll the SLS rocket back to the hangar to shield it from damage. That will be the third Artemis launch.

At this stage, NASA has chosen not to return the SLS to the hangar after Sunday assessed the safest option was to keep it and Orion secured at the base.

Although it only took a mile (6.4 km) from the hangar to Launch Pad 39B, last Friday’s deployment took 9 hours to complete, according to CNN.

Type 1 Hurricanes carry winds of 74 to 95 mph. According to NASA, the SLS rocket is designed to “withstand winds of 85 mph (74.4 knots) at 60 feet with structural margins.”

“Current forecasts predict the biggest risk at the launch pad is high winds that do not exceed the SLS design. The rocket is designed to withstand heavy rain at the launch pad and the spacecraft’s hatches have been secured. to prevent water from entering”. NASA said in a blog post.

In anticipation of the storm, NASA shut down the Orion, SLS core stage, temporary cryogenic engine stage, and boosters. It also installed a cardboard plate on the window of the launch cancellation system, retracting the mobile launcher’s crew-access arm. Teams have also secured devices that can become debris.

NASA’s next launch window is at 1:04 a.m. EST on Wednesday, November 16. It has a fallback date of Saturday, November 19.

The Artemis I mission will eventually send NASA’s new rocket and spacecraft, unmanned, around the moon as a test run ahead of a human-led mission within the next decade.


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