NASA may have to roll back the Artemis 1 rocket as Tropical Depression Nine moves toward Florida

Kennedy Space Center, Fla. , Later CAfter completing fuel testing of its Mega Moon rocket earlier this week, NASA engineers now have to contend with tropical depression nine Which appears to be aimed at Florida.

NASA managers plan to provide an update on the potential launch effort and the next steps for SLS and Orion, which make up the Artemis-1 mission. The Moon rocket stands vertically at Kennedy Space Center Launchpad 39B on Florida’s east coast, awaiting a third launch attempt.

After two previous scrubs due to uncontrolled hydrogen leaks and an engine cooling problem, NASA over-fuelled the SLS 700,000 gallons of cryogenic propellant during a test on Monday To determine if the engineers had solved the problems.

Overall, NASA management described the test as a success.

Artemis-1 launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson said the tanking test, “went really well,” and tweeted Jim Frey, NASA’s associate administrator for Exploration Systems Development, that the team met “all four test objectives.” achieved, and used new propellant loading procedures.

NASA is expecting launch on Sept. 27 at 11:37 a.m. EDT. However, it is not up to the space agency. To extend flight termination system certification due to safety requirements, NASA previously required approval from the Space Force, which oversees the Eastern Range. FTS is required on all rockets and the vehicle will self-destruct if it goes off track and threatens the public.

The launch date of September 27 and the backup window of October 2 are being reviewed by the Space Force. NASA needs an answer soon if the agency is going to launch on Tuesday.

in the last week, has been full of tropical activity After a slow start to the Atlantic hurricane season.

Launch weather officers with Space Force 45th Weather Squadron will closely observe Tropical Depression Nine, which is currently moving in the central Caribbean Sea about 600 miles east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica.

What is ‘cone uncertainty’ in hurricane prediction?

On Friday, the 45th Weather Squadron issued its first launch forecast for September 27. Forecasters are predicting only a 20% chance of favorable weather for a 70-minute launch window.

As forecast, a front will bring rain and northeasterly winds to the Space Coast later this week and then Tropical Depression Nine, which may soon become a tropical storm, will gradually push more shower activity to the Space Coast .

“The weather begins to worsen Monday through Tuesday, as a potential storm (TD 9) turns into the northwest Caribbean Sea,” wrote launch officials. “The National Hurricane Center’s official forecast tracks a potential storm over western Cuba early Tuesday, with the storm entering the East Bay near the Florida Keys at midday on Tuesday. Deep tropical moisture will dissipate into the spaceport Tuesday, leading to widespread cloud cover. There is a possibility of scattered showers along the coast and during the launch window.”

This particular system will be a factor in any upcoming Artemis launch effort as Tropical Depression Nine is forecast to become a tropical storm later on Friday and strengthen into a hurricane and possibly make landfall on the Florida peninsula early next week.

The latest cone of uncertainty covers Florida Keys, South Florida and Central Florida, including NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

If a tropical system brings strong winds to Florida’s space coast, NASA will need to roll back the 322-foot-tall rocket to the Vehicle Assembly Building. The hangar cannot have 2-mph winds in winds over 46 mph.

Check back for updates after the 12:30 p.m. EDT NASA briefing, and keep up with Fox Weather on Tropical Depression Nine.

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