Artemis 1’s SLS rocket brought back to the hangar to protect it from Hurricane Ian

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Artemis 1’s SLS rocket brought back to the hangar to protect it from Hurricane Ian

A new obstacle stands before the launch of the mission Artemis 1 of the NASA. This time it has nothing to do with technical issues. Florida is preparing to be hit by hurricane ian which is expected to bring powerful storms and heavy rain to the state. Faced with this, the American space agency decided to suspend all operations.

The teams working on the Artemis 1 mission have made the decision to return the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion capsule to the hangar. The purpose of this maneuver is to protect the launcher and the ship against the unleashing of the elements.

Space Launch System
Credits NASA/Joel Kowsky

The launch of the Artemis 1 mission is highly anticipated. This will be the mission that will begin on Artemis program whose goal is to bring NASA astronauts back to the Moon. Artemis 1 will be an unmanned mission, but it will serve as a test for subsequent missions that will carry passengers.

A path strewn with pitfalls

With this new suspension, the waiting time before seeing blast off the SLS rocket for the first time will be further extended. Indeed, the launch of the mission was originally scheduled to take place last August, but a problem with one of the engines forced officials to postpone it.

NASA wanted to retry takeoff around the beginning of September, but a hydrogen leak prevented the launch. The American space agency then decided to make the necessary repairs and to conduct tests. These were carried out the week of September 19 and the agency obtained good results.

After these latest tests, officials wanted to choose another date for the launch. The day of September 27 was particularly considered. However, with the arrival of a tropical depression in the Caribbean Sea, technicians began preparations for an eventual return to the hangar.

Avoid the worst

The final decision regarding the return of the SLS rocket to the VAB or Vehicle Assembly Building was taken on Monday, September 26 based on the latest forecast for Hurricane Ian. According to NASA, this decision was made not only to protect the rocket and the capsule, but also so that the employees could take care of their families. So, late Monday evening, the rocket began the 6.4 km journey to the VAB.

For the moment, NASA has not yet published a schedule for the rest of the operations. Let’s hope in any case that the hurricane will not cause material damage at the level of the launch base, but above all, that it will not cause any victims.

SOURCE: newatlas

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