NASA’s Artemis I rocket is reported to be safe after a small fire broke out inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at Kennedy Space Center, Florida on September 27, 2022.
At approximately 11:45pm today, a fire was reported in the Vehicle Assembly Building. Employees were evacuated, and there are no reported injuries. The VAB is fire safe, and the Artemis I vehicle was not at risk. We will provide updates as we have them.— NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (@NASAKennedy) September 27, 2022
The news comes just days after the rocket was rolled back into the VAB storage to protect it from the threat of Hurricane Ian.
The rocket had been scheduled to launch from the Kennedy Space Center on September 27, 2022, but was postponed as the hurricane is expected to approach Florida.
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.