NASA’s Artemis moon mission likely delayed until November

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NASA may have to delay its new Artemis moon mission until November after the rocket carrying the crew craft was moved out of the path of Hurricane Dorian. The mission, named after the Greek goddess of the moon and twin sister to Apollo in mythology, has already been delayed three times since President Trump first announced the project in December 2017. Now it seems the launch will likely be postponed once more as NASA works to protect its rocket from damage by Dorian, which NASA says remains on track to pass close enough to Cape Canaveral on September 3rd that there could be potential impacts to launch preparations at Kennedy Space Center.

It will take a little while longer for NASA to make its much anticipated return to the moon.

The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which was scheduled to launch the Artemis I mission, was hauled back into the enormous Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center for safety as Hurricane Ian approached Florida.

Since the middle of August, the Orion capsule has been perched atop the towering rocket on the launch pad. Over the past month, NASA has had to cancel several launches due to technical issues.

As of right present, NASA believes that the best chance for the next Artemis I launch would be in November. Jim Free, an assistant administrator for NASA, stated in a news conference on Tuesday that the organisation plans to work on the rocket while it is in the VAB and replace parts that have a “limited life item.”

It’s a challenge to ask yourself, “Can we get in there, get [the job done], and go back out there for another launch attempt?” Free said. We don’t want to leave too soon and end ourselves in a position where we might not have finished all the limited life goods we wanted to.

“Limited life” for the rocket and capsule refers to components like batteries or fuel tanks that must be frequently recharged or inspected.

The SLS and Orion spacecraft would make their official debuts on the Artemis I mission, which would involve a voyage around the moon that would take more than a month. As the first mission of the Artemis lunar programme, it begins NASA’s much anticipated return to the moon’s surface. By the third Artemis mission in 2025, the agency hopes to send astronauts to the moon.

Notably, this first mission is billions of dollars over budget and five years behind schedule. The Artemis programme has already spent more than $40 billion, a large portion of which went into the building of SLS and Orion. The system costs $4.1 billion to deploy each time.

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