NASA’S Artemis Moon Rocket One week before its subsequent scheduled liftoff attempt, Artemis I has returned to the launch pad. For the time being, it won’t move.
However, as teams keep an eye on the hazards posed by a building tropical storm, things may alter.
Related: What is NASA’s Artemis 3 mission in 2024?
The Artemis I Rocket
The 322-foot-tall rocket was photographed by NASA on Friday, November 4, at both the start and completion of its nine-hour voyage across 4.2 miles inside NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
They show the meticulous effort of the Exploration Ground Systems team of the space agency as they moved Artemis I. Team members are currently getting ready for Tropical Storm Nicole, and the space agency is planning to leave Artemis I at the launch pad for the time being.
Related: Artemis 1 Moon Mission: NASA Eyes November For SLS Rocket Launch Attempt
What Is The Objective Of SLS?
On November 3, at 11:17 p.m. Eastern, the rocket’s Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion capsule began their journey from the facility’s Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to Launchpad 39B.
On Wednesday, November 16, the heavy-lift SLS and the Orion will be heading for the Moon to conduct their first joint test flight. Tuesday night, as Nicole started to get stronger, NASA revealed this revised launch time.
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The Artemis I mission will fly to the Moon and back as part of an uncrewed demonstration with ramifications for future lunar human exploration if it launches safely on Wednesday.
NASA Kennedy officials write in both image descriptions on the space agency’s Flickr account, “During the flight, Orion will launch atop the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any human-rated spacecraft has ever flown, paving the way for human deep space exploration and demonstrating our commitment and capability to extend human presence to the Moon and beyond.”
The size of the images suggests that NASA makes a significant effort whenever the rocket’s location needs to be changed. Ground teams might be required to relocate Artemis I once more as Tropical Storm Nicole weather reports change.
On Friday, November 4, at 8:30 a.m. Eastern, the rocket arrived at the launchpad for the first time since September 26, when Hurricane Ian forced staff to leave and protect the rocket. Nicole also caused a Hurricane Condition, or HURCON, state at KSC like Ian did.
NASA is collaborating with the National Hurricane Center and the U.S. Space Force to monitor Subtropical Storm Nicole, according to a post on Artemis I blog on Monday, November 7. Since then, the storm has become a Tropical Storm.
The Artemis blog posted a statement on Tuesday, November 8 that read, “NASA is continuing to monitor Tropical Storm Nicole and has decided to re-target a launch for the Artemis I mission for Wednesday, Nov. 16.
This decision is subject to whether it is safe for employees to return to work and whether there have been any inspections after the storm has passed. The workers will be able to attend to their personal requirements and those of their homes if the intended launch date is changed, and there will be enough logistical time for the launch to resume after the storm.