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NASA Sets New Artemis I Launch Date, Says Hurricane Ian Didn’t Harm Hardware


NASA’s Artemis I moon launch, stalled by Hurricane Ian, has a new target for takeoff. The launch window for step one of NASA’s plan to get humans back on the moon now opens Nov. 12 and closes Nov. 27, the space agency said Friday. 

The news comes after the pending storm caused NASA to scrub the latest Artemis I Iaunch, which had been scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 2. As Hurricane Ian threatened to travel north across Cuba and into Florida, bringing extreme winds and rain to the launch pad’s vicinity, NASA on Monday rolled its monster Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule back indoors to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. 

The lethal hurricane made landfall in Florida on Wednesday, bringing with it catastrophic storm surge, winds and flooding and causing  widespread power outages and ripping homes from their foundations

Initial inspections Friday to assess potential impacts of the hurricane to Artemis I flight hardware showed no damage, NASA said. “Facilities are in good shape with only minor water intrusion identified in a few locations,” the space agency said in a statement. 

Next up, teams will complete post-storm recovery operations, which will include further inspections and retesting the flight termination system. The new November date, NASA said, will also give Kennedy employees time to address what their families and homes need post-storm. 

The hurricane-related rollback follows two other launch delays, the first due to an engine problem and the second because of a hydrogen leak.

Hurricane Ian has been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, but dangerous storm surge continues along the coast of the Carolinas on Friday evening.



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