Ian is the ninth named tropical storm of the current Atlantic Hurricane season. As late as Friday afternoon, NASA officials were casually dismissing the Caribbean storm system, but they have since realized that Tropical Ian is something to be concerned about.
Ian is the ninth named tropical storm of the current Atlantic Hurricane season.
As late as Friday afternoon, NASA officials were casually dismissing the Caribbean storm system, but they have since realized that Tropical Ian is something to be concerned about.
In a post on its website this morning, NASA said it was going to a launch opportunity and was anticipating the weather forecast for the storm. As NASA prepares for the Artemis 1 mission, in which an uncrewed capsule will attempt a trek to the Moon and back, the megarocket stands at Launch Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA has not yet made a decision about whether or not to return the rocket to the Vehicle Assembly Building in case of a storm. I can't believe that NASA is considering leaving SLS and Orion on the pads. Each launch of the rocket will cost $4 billion, and the entire system cost $50 billion. It is time for NASA to practice what they preach.
The wind gusts at the pad can be as high as 137 kilometers per hour, while the wind gusts at the rollback can be as low as 46 mph. There is a chance that the rocket could be damaged by wind. I think it's better for NASA to not do that.
With Tuesday's launch postponed, teams are now configuring systems in preparation for an eventual rollback; engineers will make a decision on Sunday. It would start early Monday morning if a roll back happens.
It is possible that Ian could reach Kennedy Space Center. There is a chance of storm winds hitting the area on Tuesday. It will take about two days for SLS to arrive at the VAB. NASA needs to make sure that its employees are safe and able to seek shelter if and when the storm strikes.
The agency is taking a step-wise approach to its decision making process to allow the agency to protect its employees by completing a safe roll in time for them to address the needs of their families while also protecting for the option to press ahead with another launch opportunity in the current window
The Eastern Range, a branch of the Space Force that oversees launches from the Florida east coast, granted NASA permission to launch on Sunday October 2, despite the fact that it won't happen on Tuesday. Technical issues resulted in scrubs on August 29 and September 3 when NASA tried to launch SLS.