Launch of NASA's new mega-rocket to the Moon, for the long-awaited Artemis 1 test mission, will not be able to take place on Tuesday, due to the formation of a storm, announced the US space agency on Saturday.
Under the threat of Tropical Storm Ian, currently south of Jamaica, NASA must prepare the rocket to return to the shelter of its assembly building.
The storm is expected to strengthen in hurricane over the next few days and ascend via the Gulf of Mexico towards Florida, where the Kennedy Space Center is located from where the rocket is to take off.
“On Saturday morning, the crews decided to forego preparing for the Tuesday liftoff date, to allow them to configure the systems to transport the rocket…into the assembly building,” NASA wrote on a blog post.
The final decision to retract the rocket, however, will be made on Sunday, “to allow more data and analysis to be gathered” as the weather forecast becomes clearer, he said. -she adds. If it takes place, the operation would then begin “late Sunday or early Monday morning”.
The current firing period, which extends until October 4, would then be missed.
If it is finally decided that the rocket can remain on its launch pad, NASA did not specify whether the previously announced fallback date of October 2 could still be considered for liftoff.
The orange and white SLS rocket, 98 meters high, can withstand wind gusts of up to 137 km/h on its launch pad.
For the complex maneuver of routing the rocket to its assembly building, the sustained wind speed must not exceed 75 km/h.
After two failed launch attempts a few weeks ago due to technical problems, this new counter- This is a bad time for NASA.
Artemis is its flagship new program, which will allow humans to return to the Moon, and take the first woman and the first person of color there.
< p>Fifty years after the last mission of the Apollo program, Artemis 1 must be used to verify that the Orion capsule, at the top of the rocket, is safe for trans carry a crew to the Moon in the future.