Saturday, November 26, 2022
Home SCIENCE Hurricane forces NASA's moon rocket into shelter; launch pending

Hurricane forces NASA’s moon rocket into shelter; launch pending

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida. (AP) — Hurricane Ian is forcing NASA to move its lunar rocket off the launch pad and into shelter, adding weeks to the delay to the lunar-orbiting test flight.

Mission managers decided Monday to return the rocket to its hangar at the Kennedy Space Center. The four-mile trip will begin Monday night and could take up to 12 hours.

The space center remained outside the hurricane’s cone of uncertainty. Since the latest forecast shows no improvement, the managers decided to play it safe. NASA had already delayed the launch attempt planned for this week due to the approaching storm.

NASA isn’t speculating when the next launch attempt might be, but it could be out until November. Managers will assess their options once the 322-foot (98-meter) Space Launch System rocket is back in the hangar.

A couple of launch attempts were suspected of leaking hydrogen fuel and other technical problems.

The $4.1 billion test flight will kick off NASA’s return to the moon since the Apollo lunar launches of the 1960s and 1970s. No one will be inside the crew capsule for the debut launch. The astronauts will team up for the second mission in 2024, leading to a two-person moon landing in 2025.

Meanwhile, NASA and SpaceX are still targeting an October 1. 3 launch of a crew from the US, Russia and Japan to the International Space Station. But managers acknowledged the flight could be delayed as Kennedy prepares for the hurricane and its aftermath.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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