Hurricane Forecast Leads NASA to Put Moon Rocket Inside

Launch could be delayed until November
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 26, 2022 4:51 PM CDT
Hurricane Forecast Leads NASA to Put Moon Rocket Inside
In this photo provided by NASA, Crawler Transporter-2 is seen outside the gates at Launch Pad 39B as teams configure systems for rolling NASA's moon rocket back to the Vehicle Assembly Building.   (Joel Kowsky/NASA via AP)

Hurricane Ian is prompting NASA to move its moon rocket off the launch pad and into shelter, adding weeks of delay to the lunar-orbiting test flight. Mission managers decided Monday to return the rocket to its Kennedy Space Center hangar. The four-mile trip will begin late Monday night and could take as long as 12 hours. The space center remained on the fringes of the hurricane's cone of uncertainty, the AP reports. With the latest forecast showing no improvement, managers decided to play it safe. NASA already had delayed this week's planned launch attempt because of the approaching storm.

NASA isn't speculating when the next launch attempt might be, but it could be off until November. Managers will assess their options once the 322-foot Space Launch System rocket is safely back in the hangar. A pair of launch attempts were thwarted by hydrogen fuel leaks and other technical trouble. The $4.1 billion test flight will kick off NASA's first return to the moon since the Apollo moonshots of the 1960s and '70s. No one will be inside the crew capsule for the debut launch. Astronauts will strap in for the second mission in 2024, leading to a two-person moon landing in 2025.

(More NASA stories.)

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