Florida’s incoming Tropical Storm Nicole has deterred NASA’s mega moon rocket as the space agency attempts to launch the Artemis 1 mission around the moon.
NASA was scheduled to launch the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft early Monday morning, just after midnight but delayed the launch due to Tropical Storm Nicole, which is expected to make landfall on Florida’s Atlantic Coast on Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.
The space agency was initially targeting Monday, Nov. 14 for the third launch attempt but is now looking to Wednesday, Nov. 16, “pending safe conditions for employees to return to work, as well as inspections after the storm has passed,” NASA said in a statement Tuesday evening.
Nov. 16 would offer a two-hour launch window that opens at 1:04 am ET.
On Monday, NASA said it is planning on keeping the SLC and Orion spacecraft on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center as the hurricane rolls through.
The SLS rocket is designed to withstand 85 mph (74.4 knots) winds at the 60-foot level with a structural margin.
“The rocket is designed to withstand heavy rains at the launch pad and the spacecraft hatches have been secured to prevent water intrusion,” the statement adds.
NASA said it will continue to monitor Tropical Storm Nicole and will proceed with next week’s planned launch, pending safe conditions for employees to return to work, as well as inspections after the storm has passed.