NASA on Friday attempted a long-delayed unmanned mission to the Moon, as scheduled for next Wednesday, after an investigation found minor damage from Hurricane Nicol as it passed through Florida.
Jim Free, a senior U.S. space agency official, told journalists that “nothing is preventing us from launching that day,” and that the NASA team was able to access the launch pad on Thursday.
The launch of the most powerful heavy-lift rocket ever built by a NASA contractor is scheduled for Wednesday at 01:04 local time (0604 GMT), a launch time he could take two hours.
Dubbed Artemis 1, the unmanned mission will bring the United States one step closer to returning astronauts to the moon, 50 years after mankind last set foot on the moon.
But the U.S. space agency “has some work to do” before launch, including powering up the rocket and conducting technical tests, Free said.
It may be necessary to replace elements at the base of the rocket that may have been damaged.
The rocket propels the empty Orion crew his capsule without landing it on the moon. If the launch goes as planned, the mission will last 25.5 days and the capsule will land in the Pacific Ocean on December 11th.
The long-awaited launch has already been postponed three times over many months.
Free, NASA’s deputy director for exploration systems development, said he has two backup start dates, November 19 and November 25, if needed. rice field. Winds from Hurricane Nicole, a category 1 storm, hit a rocket standing on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center.
However, Flea said the wind speed was not beyond what the vehicle could withstand.