NASA is abandoning the attempt to launch its new lunar rocket on Tuesday due to fears of an upcoming tropical storm Florida It could become a major hurricane.
It’s the third delay last month for the lunar test flight featuring models but no astronauts, and it’s a follow-up to the Apollo moon landing program half a century ago.
Hydrogen fuel leaks and other technical issues caused previous scrubs.
Currently flaunting in the Caribbean, Tropical Storm Ian is expected to turn into a hurricane by Monday It hits the Florida Gulf Coast on Thursday.
However, the entire state in the cone shows the likely path of the center of the storm, including NASA’s Kennedy space center.
Given the expected uncertainty, NASA decided Saturday to abandon Tuesday’s planned launch attempt and prepare the 322-foot (98-meter) rocket for possible return to the hangar. On Sunday, managers will decide whether to take it off the launch pad.
If the rocket remains on the platform, NASA may attempt to launch it on October 2, the last chance before a two-week blackout period. But a pullback late Sunday or early Monday would likely mean a long delay for the test flight, possibly pushing it into November.
Artemis I, the unmanned test flight, marks a major turning point for NASA’s post-Apollo human spaceflight program, after decades focused on low Earth orbit with space shuttles and the International Space Station.
Named after the goddess who was the twin sister of Apollo in ancient Greek mythology, Artemis will head to the moon, as the starting point for a future journey to Mars. The Space Launch System rocket is the most powerful rocket NASA has ever built.
Assuming its first test flight goes well, astronauts will board it for the next mission in 2024, resulting in a two-person moon landing in 2025.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report
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