NASA’s new megarocket for the Moon will be returned to its hangar to be protected from a hurricane, the US space agency said on Monday, September 26, an operation that indefinitely postpones the takeoff of the long-awaited Artemis 1 mission, already postponed several times. . NASA officials “We met Monday morning and made this decision based on the latest Hurricane Ian forecast”NASA wrote in a blog post.
The 98-meter-tall rocket is currently on its launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The complex maneuver to make it return to the gigantic assembly building, a few kilometers away, should begin at 11 pm (5 am in France). The rocket will be transported on a huge platform rolling very slowly, to avoid vibrations that could damage it as much as possible.
After reviewing the forecast for #Ian, we will be taking our #Artemis I vehicle back to the Vehicle Assembly Building for… https://t.co/mr68Yz1eNB
he stirs “Good decision” so that the equipment and the rocket remain ” in safety “NASA associate administrator Jim Free tweeted. Hurricane Ian, currently south of Cuba, is expected to move toward Florida later this week across the Gulf of Mexico.
No new date has been given
But now there won’t be time to get the rocket out before the end of the current launch period, which runs until October 4. NASA has given no indication of a future launch date.
The next possible take-off period is October 17-31, with one possible take-off per day (except October 24-26 and 28). The next one is from November 12 to 27 (except 20, 21 and 26). After two takeoff attempts canceled at the last moment a few weeks ago, in particular due to a fuel leak during the filling of the rocket’s tanks, this new setback is very unpleasant for NASA.
Fifty years after the last mission of the Apollo program, Artémis 1 is to be used to verify that the Orion capsule, on top of the rocket, is safe to transport a crew to the Moon in the future.