NASA Delays Next Moon Rocket Launch Attempt By 2 Days Due To Tropical Storm Nicole

NASA has delayed the next attempt to launch the giant Moon rocket carrying Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission by two days to November 16 due to Tropical Storm Nicole.

As the tropical storm continues to increase in strength and moved west, Hurricane warnings were issued for the north-western Bahamas and a 200-mile stretch of the Florida coast.

The re-scheduled launch is pending safe conditions for employees to return to work, as well as inspections after the storm has passed, NASA said.

The Kennedy Space Center in Florida, from where the rocket is set to launch, is in a HURCON (Hurricane Condition) III status.

Current forecasts predict the greatest risk at the launch pad is high winds that is not expected to exceed the SLS design. The rocket is designed to withstand heavy rains at the launch pad and the spacecraft hatches have been secured to prevent water intrusion.

Two previous attempts to launch the 322-foot-tall stack, consisting of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, failed due to technical glitches, while a third launch attempt was cancelled following adverse weather conditions due to Hurricane Ian.

The fourth launch attempt was originally scheduled for November 14.

As per the revised plan, a two-hour launch window opens at 1:04 a.m. EST on November 16, and would result in a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on December 11, according to the U.S. space agency. If needed, NASA has a back-up launch opportunity on November 19, and will coordinate with the U.S. Space Force for additional launch opportunities.

The Artemis I test flight with no crew on board is aimed at laying the foundation for a sustained long-term human presence on and around the Moon.

Artemis 2 and 3 missions aim to send astronauts back to the lunar surface for the first time after half a century.

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