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NASA has returned the massive Artemis I giant moon rocket to its hangar, called the Vehicle Assembly Building, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to protect it from Hurricane Ian.
The Hurricane makes landfall in western Cuba Early Tuesday. Category 3 storm heading toward Florida.
The move, which expired at 9:15 a.m. ET Tuesday, is delaying Third launch attempt For the Artemis I mission, which is scheduled to send an unmanned capsule around the Moon, for at least a few weeks.
The setback will likely push NASA’s next attempt in November, although late October may still be an option for the highly anticipated launch.
“We know the earliest it can start is late October, but we’ll most likely go to the window in mid-November,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson told CNN.
“Managers Established To retract based on the latest weather forecasts associated with Hurricane Ian, which did not show an improvement in forecast conditions for the Kennedy area. The decision allows employees time to meet the needs of their families and protect the integrated missile and spacecraft system,” NASA noted in its report. Artemis Blog.
The rocket, called the Space Launch System or SLS, made the slow 4 mile (6.4 km) journey to the maintenance building beginning at 11:21 p.m. ET on Monday.
NASA reported that Tuesday morning the Vehicle Assembly Building, the high-rise building that houses the rocket, was evacuated.
At approximately 11:45 pm today, a fire was reported in the Vehicle Assembly Building. Staff were evacuated, and no injuries were reported. The VAB is fire safe, and the Artemis I vehicle was not in danger tweet From the Kennedy Space Center.
The fire occurred in a 40-volt electrical panel on a side wall south of High Bay Three, Janet Petro, director of the Kennedy Space Center, said.
They do not yet know whether the cause of the accident was a circuit breaker or a short circuit. There were only a few people inside at that time.
“It was a good distance from the actual car itself,” Pietro said at a press conference. “We will conduct an investigation and provide updates as we have them.”
The NASA team at Kennedy is securing facilities, equipment, and preparations are underway to prevent any objects from escaping into projectiles. HURCON, or hurricane status, is a scale used by the United States Armed Forces to indicate an emergency situation as a hurricane approaches. The center is currently in HURCON 3, which is announced when harmful winds are likely to occur within 48 hours. Petro expects the position on Wednesday to be at HURCON 2, a level that indicates the potential for damaging winds within 24 hours.
The team will report to the center to weather the storm, while non-essential personnel leave.
“After the storm has passed, the teams will conduct impact inspections at the center and develop a future plan for the next launch attempt, including replacing the batteries for the primary stage flight termination system and retesting the system to ensure that it can terminate the flight if necessary for public safety in the event of an emergency during launch. ‘, according to an update in Artemis Blog.
There are 20 limited life items that the Artemis team will evaluate while the missile stack is in the maintenance building, said Jim Frey, associate administrator for NASA’s Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate.
The overall goal of NASA’s Artemis program is to return humans to the moon for the first time in half a century. The Artemis I mission – which is expected to be the first of many – will lay the initial foundation, testing the rocket, spacecraft and all its subsystems to ensure they are safe enough for astronauts to fly.
But launching this first mission proved to be a daunting endeavor. Agency was already Established Over the weekend, the third launch attempt, previously scheduled for Tuesday, September 27, was postponed due to weather concerns. The question as of Monday morning was whether the mission team would need to roll the rocket into a shelter as Hurricane Ian headed toward Florida.
With that decision made, NASA focused on returning the nearly $4 billion SLS rocket to the nearby Vehicle Assembly Building, a structure massive enough to house the vehicle sitting upright. The missile made the flight by slow crawling, riding on top of a moving platform called Crawler-Transporter 2.
Technical problems thwarted the first two attempts to take the SLS rocket off the ground for the Artemis I mission. The main challenge was a series of leaks that surfaced as teams attempted to fill the rocket with super-cooled liquid hydrogen fuel. The expedition team worked on these issues and conducted a test last week. Although the tests didn’t quite go according to plan, NASA deemed them a success, saying they “accomplished all of our primary goals.”
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