NASA delays Artemis launch due to threat of Tropical Storm Ian in Florida

NASA/Kim Shiflett

NASA has canceled plans to launch the Artemis I mission to the Moon due to the threat of a tropical storm. 

The rocket had been scheduled to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on September 27, 2022, but will be postponed as the storm, dubbed ‘Storm Ian’, is expected to approach Florida. 

However, NASA is continuing to closely monitor the forecast associated with Tropical Storm Ian while conducting final preparations to allow for rolling back the Artemis I Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft to the Vehicle Assembly Building. 

NASA still has a potential backup opportunity to blast off to the Moon as early as October 2, 2022. 

NASA waved off two previous launch attempts, one on August 29 due to a faulty temperature sensor, and one on September 3 due to a liquid hydrogen leak at an interface between the rocket and mobile launcher. 

The Artemis I mission is the first flight of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, intended to test both Orion and the Space Launch System (SLS) ahead of the crewed launch. The spacecraft is composed of the European Service Module manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space and the Crew Module designed by Lockheed Martin.   

With Artemis II, the space agency plans to launch the first crewed mission around the Moon, sending astronauts aboard Orion further into space than any humans have ever traveled before, roughly 40,000 miles past the Moon, before returning home.   

The next mission, Artemis III, is planned to be the first crewed lunar landing since Apollo 17 in 1972 and would see the first woman and person of color land on the Moon. The initial roadmap aimed to land astronauts on the Moon by the end of 2024 but has been formally pushed back until at least 2025.  

The Artemis program is the first step in NASA’s next phase of human space exploration, with plans to establish a sustainable presence on the Moon to prepare for missions to Mars. 

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