NASA has postponed the launch of its new moon rocket Artemis I for “several weeks” due to concerns about a tropical storm expected to become a major hurricane.
The delay is the third in the past month to befall the space agency’s flagship lunar shuttle, which was scheduled to take part in an unmanned test flight on Sept. 9.
Hydrogen fuel leaks and other technical issues are said to have caused earlier cancellations.
Tropical Storm Ian, which is currently rumbling somewhere in the Caribbean, is expected to become a hurricane by Monday and slam into Florida’s Gulf Coast by Thursday.
But the entire state is within a cone that marks the likely path of the storm’s center, including NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
Given the uncertainty of the forecast, NASA on Saturday canceled a launch attempt scheduled for Tuesday and instead prepared a 322-foot (98-meter) tall rocket that could return to its hangar. decided to
Managers will decide on Sunday whether to carry it off the launch pad.
If the rocket remains on the launch pad, NASA can attempt an October 2nd launch. This will be the last opportunity before the two week blackout period.
But a rollback to late Sunday or early Monday could delay the test flight significantly, pushing it into November.
“We won’t launch until we think it’s right,” said NASA chief Bill Nelson, adding that such delays “are just part of the space business.”
“When you’re ready, let’s go. Especially on test flights, we’re going to focus on this and test it, test its heat shield, and make sure it’s correct before we put four humans on top of it.
‘However, [next launch] The window opens in early October, but I think it will be like mid-October,” he added.
The move comes as the space agency seeks to send another crew of astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972, demonstrating progress in space travel during that time.
The current 38-day mission, which traverses 40,000 miles across the moon and back, is uncrewed, but a second test flight, scheduled for 2024, will need to be successful before astronauts can board it.
If both of these flights pass a test run, it will pave the way for astronauts to join a two-man moon landing scheduled for late 2025.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/09/24/why-nasa-has-postponed-their-latest-moon-rocket-launch-in-florida-17443371/ Why NASA Delayed Its Latest Moon Rocket Launch In Florida