The most potent rocket ever launched by NASA has been postponed owing to a tropical storm that could intensify into a hurricane.
On Tuesday, the Artemis I Moon rocket was scheduled to lift off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. However, tropical storm Ian, which might become a major hurricane early next week and threaten the US state, has intensified. The rocket launch had already been delayed twice.
After a 50-year hiatus, the Space Launch System (SLS) craft will return humans and their supplies to the Moon.
Technical difficulties caused its initial launch to fail at the end of August, and a fuel leak complicated a second attempt at the beginning of September.
The Artemis I team is scheduled to decide on whether to return the rocket to its assembly location on Sunday.
According to NASA, this would “provide for more data gathering and analysis.”
Before trips carrying humans, the space agency plans to send the unmanned Orion capsule around the back of the Moon. NASA anticipates being able to return astronauts to the lunar surface by 2025.
If the SLS needs to be shielded, the current launch window, which expires on October 4, will be missed.
A “step-wise approach” to the decision to roll back retained a launch chance if circumstances improved, according to Jim Free, associate administrator for the agency’s exploration systems development office.
Ian grew stronger as it passed across the Caribbean on Saturday. According to the hurricane center, its estimated route will carry it just south of Jamaica, over western Cuba, and into Florida.
According to predictions, the Florida Keys and South Florida may experience significant rainfall on Monday.