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No damage to moon rocket from Hurricane Ian, Artemis-1 to launch in November

India Today logo India Today 03-10-2022 India Today Web Desk
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With Hurricane Ian gone, Nasa has confirmed that there has been no damage to the Artemis-1 rocket from the Category-4 storm that wreaked havoc in Florida and Cuba last week. Initial inspection of the Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft revealed no damage to flight hardware and facilities.

Nasa said that the rocket is in good shape with only minor water intrusion identified in a few locations, as engineers extend access platforms around the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to prepare for additional inspections.

The American space agency is now planning to launch the mission to the Moon in November after two scrubbed attempts and foregoing the third in September this year. "Engineers will prepare for additional inspections and start preparing for the next launch attempt, including retesting the flight termination system," Nasa said in a blog update.

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The mission, which has been repeatedly delayed, due to budgetary and technical issues could launch to the Moon in November. Nasa said that there are launch opportunities throughout the month, during which the massive rocket can lift off on a trajectory to the lunar world.

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The Space Launch System rocket should have blasted off a month ago, but was delayed twice. (Photo: Nasa)

The launch window opens up on November 12 and closes on November 27, and the space agency will assess the scope of work to perform while in the VAB and identify a specific date for the next launch attempt.

"Focusing efforts on the November launch period allows time for employees at Kennedy to address the needs of their families and homes after the storm and for teams to identify additional checkouts needed before returning to the pad for launch," Nasa added.

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The spacecraft was rolled back into the hangar after Hurricane Ian barrelled towards the coast of Florida. The Space Launch System rocket should have blasted off a month ago, but was delayed twice by fuel leaks and engine issues.

Once in space, the crew capsule atop the rocket will aim for lunar orbit with three test dummies, a crucial dress rehearsal before astronauts climb aboard in 2024. The last time a capsule flew to the moon was during NASA's Apollo 17 lunar landing in 1972.

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