NASA moves SLS in-doors ahead of Hurricane Ian’s landfall

  • NASA has had to move the Space Launch System into the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Centre.
  • Hurricane Ian is a category three hurricane with winds reaching speeds of 195km/h.
  • Florida governor Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency and dispatched troops from the National Guard.

Rather than making plans to launch, NASA has had to push its Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft into the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Centre.

This is because of the imminent approach of Hurricane Ian.

The category three hurricane hit Cuba this week causing the country to lose power completely. With winds reaching speeds of 195km/h according to the BBC, the hurricane is expected to hit Florida next.

As you might imagine, moving a rocket isn’t an easy feat and NASA began the process on Monday. The six kilometre journey took most of Monday and the rocket arrived under cover on Tuesday afternoon.

“After the storm has passed, teams will conduct inspections to determine impacts at the center and establish a forward plan for the next launch attempt, including replacing the core stage flight termination system batteries and retesting the system to ensure it can terminate the flight if necessary for public safety in the event of an emergency during launch,” NASA wrote in a blog post.

The moving of the SLS happened just in time as Hurricane Ian is expected to make landfall on Florida’s West Coast at some point on Wednesday. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency and 5 000 National Guard troops have been activated.

Needless to say, the launch date for Artemis 1 is now about as clear as mud. Problems with fuel loading previously pushed the launch date back but with a hurricane on NASA’s doorstep, we now have no idea when the mission will get underway.

You can track the path of the storm over on this useful Google Maps page.


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