NASA has been forced to pull its Artemis I moon rocket off the launch pad as Hurricane Ian approaches.
According to NASA, the rocket will be moved back into its engineering workshop to protect it from the storm. Hurricane Ian is currently moving through the Gulf of Mexico, and is expected to make landfall in Florida on Tuesday (Sept. 27).
Ahead of Hurricane Ian, our #Artemis I Moon rocket and spacecraft were rolled back from the pad and secured inside @NASAKennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building. In a teleconference at 2pm ET (18:00 UTC), NASA leadership will discuss the decision to roll back: https://t.co/rn7zVQfhOi https://t.co/a5qd21vM6S
— NASA (@NASA) September 27, 2022
Meteorologists have forecast high winds and heavy rain for the Kennedy Space Center.To protect the multi-billion-dollar rocket, NASA plans to use a massive tractor known as the Crawler Transporter to slowly haul it back into the Vehicle Assembly Building. The decision will likely push the rocket’s maiden flight back to November, the latest in a number of delays since its was initially supposed to launch at the end of August.
NASA’s Artemis mission is the first in a series of missions meant to return humans to the surface of the moon. The initial uncrewed flight will be a safety demonstration of the ship’s hardware.The next scheduled launch will carry astronauts on a loop around the moon in 2024. In late 2025, the Artemis-III mission is scheduled to return astronauts to the lunar surface.