After completion of the successful test of the SLS launch vehicle‘s fuel system, NASA hoped to launch the Artemis 1 mission to the moon on September 27. However, this will not happen due to Tropical Storm Ian, reports Engadget.
A storm formed over the central part of the Caribbean on Friday evening. Forecasters expect Ian to strengthen into a hurricane, reach Cuba and head toward Florida’s Gulf Coast by Sunday. . As of Saturday, it was unclear where Ian will make landfall once it arrives on the mainland. There’s also uncertainty about just how strong of a storm the state should expect, but the current above-average warmth of ocean waters in the eastern Gulf Coast is not a good sign.
In anticipation of Ian becoming a hurricane, NASA has decided to prepare the SLS for a rollback to the safety of the Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building. If the forecast worsens, the collapse will begin at night or on Monday morning. This plan gives NASA the flexibility to conduct another launch attempt if weather conditions change.
If Artemis 1 is unable to fly by October 3rd, the next closest launch opportunity will be October 17th. The rollback to the VAB will mean NASA will also be able to test the rocket’s termination system batteries. This will give NASA more flexibility between October 17 and 31.