NASA may have to retract its Artemis 1 rocket as Tropical Depression IX moves toward Florida

Kennedy Space Center, Florida – after, after cAfter conducting a fuel test of its massive lunar rocket earlier this week, NASA engineers now have to deal with Tropical Depression Nine that appears to be targeting Florida.

NASA administrators plan to provide an update on a possible launch attempt and next steps for SLS and Orion, which make up the Artemis-1 mission. Moon rocket vertically at Launch Pad 39B of the Kennedy Space Center on the east coast of Florida, awaiting its third launch attempt.

After two previous cleanups due to a runaway hydrogen leak and an engine cooling problem, NASA fueled the SLS with more than 700,000 gallons of coolant fuel during Monday’s test to determine if engineers fixed the problems.

In general, NASA management described the test as successful.

Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, Artemis-1 launch manager, said tank testing “goed really well,” and NASA Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Development Jim Frey tweeted a team that met its “four test objectives” and used new thruster loading procedures.

NASA hopes to launch on September 27 at 11:37 a.m. EDT. However, it is not up to the space agency. NASA first needs approval from the Space Force, which oversees the eastern term, to extend the Flight Termination System certification due to safety requirements. The FTS is required on all missiles and may cause the vehicle to self-destruct if it veers off course and threatens the public.

Launch date September 27 and backup window October 2 are under review by the Space Force. NASA needs an answer soon if the agency is to launch on Tuesday.

Last week, the tropics became buzzing with activity after a slow start to the Atlantic hurricane season.

Meteorological officers from the Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron will closely monitor Tropical Depression Nine as it currently roams the central Caribbean about 600 miles east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica.

What is the “cone of uncertainty” in a hurricane forecast?

This particular system will be a factor in any upcoming attempt to launch Artemis because Tropical Depression Nine is expected to become a tropical storm later Friday, turn into a hurricane and possibly make landfall on the Florida peninsula next week.

The latest cone of uncertainty covers the Florida Keys, southern 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 return the 322-foot rocket to the Vehicle Assembly Building. This 2 mph movement to the fold cannot occur in winds greater than 46 mph.

Check back for updates after our 12:30 p.m. EDT NASA briefing, and stay tuned with FOX Weather for the last time in Tropical Depression Nine.

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