NASA’s SLS rocket was returned to its hangar with the Orion spacecraft in time for Hurricane Ian to arrive. A core team is now said to remain there to watch the violent storm pass through, with the rest making their way to safety. As soon as the storm has passed, it should be checked how the rocket is doing. NASA will then try the next launch attempt at the end of October at the earliest, but probably not until mid-November. NASA boss Bill Nelson told CNN.
Incident during return transport
The transport of the rocket back from the launch pad to the Vehicle Assembly Building was interrupted by an incident on Tuesday. A fire broke out in a control cabinet in the building, but it was quickly extinguished. Nevertheless, the personnel on site had to be temporarily evacuated. Nobody was injured. According to NASA, there was no risk for the rocket and the spacecraft.
NASA decided on Monday to bring the Space Launch System back into the hangar after Tropical Storm Ian turned into a hurricane. It is currently heading for the east coast of Florida, where life-threatening flooding is expected. He will then hit the west coast with the Kennedy Space Center. In the meantime, it is certain that wind speeds of over 60 km/h will be reached there, and heavy precipitation is also being forecast. After Ian passed through Cuba, the power went out all over Cuba on Wednesday night.
NASA wants to start its Artemis moon program with Artemis-1, the SLS, which has never been launched, is supposed to shoot the Orion space capsule to the moon. The capsule will then orbit this for several weeks before returning to Earth. The US space agency wants to test the technology that will be used to bring people to the moon again in a few years – but this time not just for short visits.
After two aborted launch attempts on August 29th and September 3rd, NASA actually wanted to make another launch attempt yesterday, Tuesday. An important test for this had worked last week. But then the approaching storm had intervened and the launch attempt had been cancelled. If the giant rocket could have stayed on the launch pad, a launch attempt on the alternative date, October 2, would have been possible.
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