As a result of the latest weather predictions regarding Hurricane Ian, NASA managers met on the morning of September 26 and made the decision to roll Artemis 1 back into the Vehicle Assembly Building to protect the rocket from the impending storm, an operation which commenced at 11 pm EDT that evening.
As stated in a press release, “NASA has continued to rely on the most up to date information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Space Force, and the National Hurricane Center throughout its evaluations and continues to closely monitor conditions for the Kennedy area.”
With this most recent event, NASA now envisions the next opportunity to launch Artemis 1 in November. This comes after multiple scrubbed launch attempts occurring on August 29 and again on September 3, both due to mechanical issues.
As of this writing, Hurricane Ian is slowly making its way up Florida’s southwest coast with current estimates stating the storm could increase to a Category 4. This comes after Ian made landfall in Cuba around 4:30 am on September 26 exhibiting maximum winds of 200 kilometers per hour (125 miles per hour). Ian is projected to cross Florida’s mainland traveling southwest to northeast right through Orlando and hit the east coast of the state by Thursday evening, albeit with estimated winds projected to decrease as it traverses the mainland.
Artemis 1 is a mission several years in the making with the goal of landing the first woman and person of color on the Moon’s surface within the next few years. No human has traversed the Moon’s surface since NASA Astronaut Eugene Cernan of Apollo 17 on December 11, 1972. The specific goals of the Artemis 1 will be to conduct a full test of the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion capsule for a monthlong, uncrewed journey around the Moon. If these tests pass, it will be a go for the crewed Artemis 2 mission, currently scheduled for second quarter of 2024.
As always, keep doing science & keep looking up!
Featured Image: Artemis 1 seen sitting at Launch Pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on August 17, 2022. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)