Launch of NASA rocket to the Moon postponed to November 16
The Artemis1 mission rocket is ready for liftoff from Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
The curse continues for the Artemis 1 space mission. Launch of NASA's new moon rocket has been pushed back to Wednesday, November 16 at the earliest, due to Storm Nicole, which is expected to hit Florida in mid week, NASA announced Tuesday.
Liftoff was previously scheduled in less than a week, on November 14, but NASA said in a statement that it wants to allow its employees to meet the needs of their families in the face of this storm, which is expected to continue. #x27;be intensified into a hurricane upon landfall.
After its passage, NASA will also need enough logistical time to return the rocket to its launch configuration, she added.
On November 16, the firing window will open at 1:04 a.m. local time, but this new date is suspended on safe conditions for employees to return to work, as well as post-pass inspections. of the storm, NASA said.
If necessary, another fallback date had previously been set for November 19. NASA also said Tuesday it is working on possible additional launch opportunities.
The storm, which is currently over the Atlantic Ocean, is expected to develop into a hurricane on Wednesday near the Bahamas, before reaching Florida on Wednesday night or Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Center. hurricanes (NHC).
A hurricane warning has been issued on the coast in the Kennedy Space Center area, where the rocket is on its launch pad.
< p class="e-p">Named SLS, it is designed to withstand winds of 74.4 knots, or approximately 137 km/h.
Current forecasts predict that the biggest risks on the launch pad are strong winds, which are not expected to exceed SLS's design, NASA reassured. The rocket is designed to withstand heavy rain.
Nicole's sustained winds reached 100 km/h on Tuesday afternoon, with higher gusts, according to the NHC. And the storm is expected to strengthen further.
This summer, two take-off attempts were canceled at the last moment, due to technical problems when filling the rocket's tanks with fuel.
Then the 98 meter high machine had to be returned at the end of September to its assembly building, a few kilometers away, to be protected from another hurricane, Ian.
The rocket, whose value is estimated at several billion dollars, has only been back on its launch pad for a few days.
The Artemis 1 test mission, without an astronaut on board, is to mark the very first flight of the great American program back to the Moon.
The Artemis program should make it possible to take the first woman and the first person of color to the Moon, in 2025 at the earliest.
NASA also wants to establish a lasting human presence there, including the construction of a space station in orbit around the Moon.
For the American space agency, this is a step that should then allow a first trip to Mars.