March 22, 2023
NASA's Moon rocket launch has been delayed again, this time due to a storm

NASA’s Moon rocket launch has been delayed again, this time due to a storm

This NASA brochure photo shows the Moon as it rises behind NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

NASA rescheduled its long-delayed uncrewed mission to the moon again on Tuesday as Tropical Storm Nicole raced toward Florida’s east coast, officials said.

A launch attempt, which had been scheduled for November 14, will now take place on November 16, Jim Free, a senior US space agency official, said on Twitter.

It is the third delay of the long-awaited release in as many months.

“Our people are the most important aspect of our mission,” wrote Free, who is NASA’s Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Development. “Adjusting the target launch date for #Artemis I prioritizes worker safety and allows our team to respond to the needs of their families and homes.”

The Atlantic storm was expected to strengthen into a hurricane Wednesday near the Bahamas before making landfall in Florida either later that afternoon or early Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

A hurricane warning has been issued near the Kennedy Space Center, where the rocket – NASA’s most powerful ever – is about to launch.

With Nicole strengthening, NASA… has decided to retarget a launch for the Artemis I mission for Wednesday, November 16, pending safe conditions for workers to return to work, as well as inspections after it passes storm. ” the agency said in a statement Tuesday night.

NASA added that a launch that would take place during a two-hour window that opens at 1:04 a.m. EST (0604 GMT) on November 16 will lead to a launch on Friday, December 11.

An alternate release date has been set for November 19.

NASA said it would leave the giant SLS rocket on the launch pad, where it had been placed several days before.

After two launch attempts this summer due to technical problems, the rocket had to be returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building to protect it from Hurricane Ian.

Last week, the 322-foot (98-meter) rocket was launched again on a giant platform known as a carrier crawler designed to minimize vibration.

Earlier Tuesday, Nicole had sustained winds near 65 mph (100 kilometers per hour) with higher gusts and were expected to strengthen further, the NHC said.

Some experts have expressed concern that the missile, estimated to cost several billion dollars, could be damaged by hurricane debris if left exposed.

“In terms of staying on the cushion, we want to see peak winds less than 74.1 knots, and that’s the key requirement we’re looking at,” said chief rocket engineer John Blevins.

The SLS rocket is designed to withstand winds of 85 miles per hour (74.4 knots) at the 60-foot level with a structural margin, NASA said. It is also designed to withstand heavy rainfall on the launch pad, and the spacecraft’s hatches are secured to prevent water ingress.

The uncrewed mission, called Artemis 1, will bring the United States one step closer to returning astronauts to the Moon five decades after humans last walked on the lunar surface.

The purpose of Artemis 1, named after Apollo’s twin sister, is to test the SLS rocket and the Orion crew capsule that sits on top.

The mannequins stand in for astronauts on the mission and will record acceleration, vibration and radiation levels.

© 2022 AFP

Reference: NASA Moon rocket launch delayed again, this time by storm (2022, November 9) Retrieved November 9, 2022, from .html

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