The approaching storm might delay the launch of a NASA moon rocket

Marcia Dunn, The Related Press

Printed Friday, September 23, 2022 5:01PM EDT

Final Up to date Friday, September 23, 2022 6:13PM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) – A looming storm might delay NASA’s launch try for its new moon rocket, which has been grounded for weeks operating low on gasoline.

A tropical despair within the southern Caribbean is shifting towards Florida and should develop into a serious hurricane.

Operators stated Friday that the rig was able to blast off on its first check flight, after overcoming hydrogen leaks throughout an oil check earlier within the week. It was the primary time a crew orbited the moon in 50 years; The spacecraft carried mannequins however no astronauts.

The groups will proceed to watch the forecast and resolve earlier than Saturday that not solely will the check flight be delayed, however the rocket shall be pulled from the pad and returned to the hangar. It isn’t clear when the following launch try shall be – whether or not in October or November – or if the rocket should search shelter inside.

The plan is to remain on the launch pad and check out for a liftoff on Sunday, “however there are nonetheless some points of the forecast,” stated Tom Whitmeyer of NASA, deputy administrator for area exploration programs. .

It took three days to get the rocket again into the Kennedy House Middle’s House Shuttle, a 4-mile (6.4 km) journey that took a number of hours.

“I do not suppose we’ll shut,” Whitmeyer advised reporters. “We’re simply going one step at a time.”

The 322-foot (98-meter) rocket can face up to gusts of 85 mph (137 kph) on the bottom, however solely 46 mph (74 kph) whereas underway.

That is the third launch try for the House Launch System rocket, essentially the most highly effective one NASA has ever constructed. Oil spills and different technical issues canceled the primary two assessments, in late August and early September.

Though the hydrogen gasoline had dropped in entrance of the newly put in seals throughout a gown rehearsal on Wednesday, the stream of the steel group was diminished to acceptable ranges by slowing the stream and lowering the stress of traces. That gave the launch crew confidence to go forward with Sunday’s launch try, officers stated.

Directors stated the 30-year-old area shuttle program additionally noticed various hydrogen gasoline leaks and hurricane-related reversals. The primary engines of the sunshine rocket had been upgraded variations of those who flew on board.

As well as, the House Drive has prolonged the certification of batteries on board as a part of the flight security system – not less than firstly of October.

NASA has solely two alternatives to launch the rocket – on Sunday and October 2 – earlier than the beginning of the two-week interval. The subsequent launch interval opens on October 17.

Astronauts will climb aboard for a second check flight across the moon in 2024. A 3rd mission, focused for 2025, will see two astronauts land on the moon. .

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