It will be “difficult” to make a new launch attempt in October for NASA’s massive new rocket to the moon, a US space agency official said on Tuesday, whose November launch is now considered likely.
The SLS, the most powerful rocket ever designed by NASA, had to be returned overnight Monday through Tuesday in its assembly building, for protection before Hurricane Ian reached Florida.
The next possible launch periods – determined by the positions of the Earth and the Moon – run from October 17 to 31, and then from November 12 to 27.
“We know the earliest date will be late October, but we’ll probably do that in mid-November,” NASA chief Bill Nelson told CNN.
At a press conference on Monday, NASA Associate Administrator Jim Frey was also asked about the rocket’s chances of attempting to take off in October.
He replied, “I do not mean that it is no longer on the table.” “But it will be difficult.”
After the hurricane passes, NASA will have to take the time to change the batteries of the rocket’s self-destruct system, a complex process that will be carried out in the assembly building.
Then, raising the 98-meter rocket and moving it to the launch pad, before it is configured to prepare it for takeoff, will also take days.
This setback thus greatly delays the launch of the highly anticipated Artemis 1 mission.
The two launches were canceled at the last minute, the end of August and the beginning of September, due to technical problems, including a leak when filling the rocket’s tanks with fuel.
Fifty years after the last mission of the Apollo program, Artémis 1 should be used to verify that the Orion capsule, located on top of the rocket, is safe to carry a crew to the moon in the future.
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