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NASA opts to move Artemis I rocket inside as Hurricane Ian approaches

NASA Artemis Rocket Test
Posted at 7:02 AM, Sep 26, 2022

After NASA called off Tuesday’s planned launch of the Artemis I mission as Hurricane Ian approaches Florida, the agency said Monday it has decided to move the mission's Space Launch System rocket and uncrewed Orion spacecraft back to the Vehicle Assembly Building.

By rolling the spacecraft and rocket back into a safer environment, NASA will be unable to start the mission during its next planned launch window on Oct. 2. NASA will begin moving the rocket to the Vehicle Assembly Building around 11 p.m. ET Monday.

Although Hurricane Ian is not expected to come ashore until Thursday, the hurricane’s outer bands might have created adverse conditions for the spacecraft had officials moved forward with Tuesday's launch.

The Artemis I mission has been delayed multiple times since officials first tried to launch it Aug. 29. The spacecraft most recently had issues with a hydrogen leak that required NASA to reseal a tank. After performing bleed tests on the tank last week, NASA planned on moving forward with Tuesday’s launch before Hurricane Ian’s development.

The next Artemis mission isn't scheduled until 2024. While Artemis I will be unmanned, Artemis II will send four astronauts on a flyby of the moon. Artemis III is expected to include a crewed mission to the moon's surface.