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NASA Delay Launch Of Artemis I Moon Rocket As It Sits On Launchpad To Ride Out Storm Nicole

Updated: Nov 8, 2022

As Subtropical Storm Nicole targets Central Florida's east coast, NASA has announced today, Tuesday that it has decided to re-target the launch for the Artemis I mission to Wednesday, November 16, pending safe conditions for employees to return to work.


NASA had been targeting November 14 at 12:07 a.m. to launch the SLS and Orion without astronauts on the Artemis 1 test flight around the moon and back.


This will be the third try in four months. Two previous launches ended in scrubs due to technical issues.


NASA Delay Launch Of Artemis I Moon Rocket As It Sits On Launchpad To Ride Out Storm Nicole

Earlier today, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center had announced that it plans to keep its Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft sitting on the launch pad despite Storm Nicole targeting the Space Coast in the coming days.


"Based on current forecast data, managers have determined the Space Launch System rocket and Orion will remain at Launch Pad 39B," the agency said.


It's only been around a month since NASA was forced to move the SLS moon rocket and Orion capsule back into the Vehicle Assembly Building hangar due to Hurricane Ian, and the 322-foot-tall launch vehicle has only just arrived back at the Kennedy Space Center launchpad on November 4.


NASA Delay Launch Of Artemis I Moon Rocket As It Sits On Launchpad To Ride Out Storm Nicole

Leaving a $4.1 billion rocket outside as a hurricane approaches is a risky strategy, but as Tropical Nicole's wind strength increases the space agency's primary concern from tropical systems is winds.


Much of the rocket's structure is pretty robust, but there are sensitive elements prone to damage from debris and wearing effects due to high winds inside a tropical system.


But, the process of rolling the Artemis I mission four miles back to the Vehicle Assembly Building and launch pad, means that NASA simply has no time to move inside the protective confines of the Vehicle Assembly Building.


Asked whether NASA really had no choice but to remain at the pad, a spokesperson for the agency, Rachel Kraft, was non-committal. "The team reviewed the forecast and determined the rocket will remain at the pad," she said on Monday.



NASA Delay Launch Of Artemis I Moon Rocket As It Sits On Launchpad To Ride Out Storm Nicole



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