The US space agency, “NASA”, announced that it will keep the date of Wednesday, November 16, as the date for the attempt to launch its new huge rocket “SLS” to the moon, after audits showed that Storm Nicole in Florida caused only minor damage. .
NASA Assistant Administrator Jim Frey said that “nothing prevents” the launch on this date, stressing that the agency’s teams were able, Thursday, November 10, to reach the launch pad again.
The SLS, the most powerful rocket ever built by the US Space Agency, is scheduled to take off at 1.04 am on November 16 local time (06:04 GMT), with the launch window remaining available for two hours. The rocket is supposed to launch the unmanned Orion capsule to the moon without landing on its surface. If the take-off takes place on time, i.e. Wednesday, this mission, which is the first in the large American “Artemis” program to return to the moon, will take 25 and a half days, and the returning capsule will land in the Pacific Ocean on December 11.
Two more backup dates have been set for November 19 and 25 for the launch of the missile in the event that it cannot take off on Wednesday, according to Jim Frey, who said, “Right now we are focusing on 16, but if we discover any problem during the power operation and tests, we will have to consider making the attempt on the 19th.” ” November.
Frey pointed out that the winds of Hurricane “Nicole” that the rocket was exposed to while on the open-air launch pad at the “Kennedy Space Center” did not exceed its endurance. But he acknowledged that the agency would certainly have kept the missile inside the assembly building had it known in advance that a hurricane was approaching Florida.
And “NASA” had put the missile into the building at the end of September to protect it from another hurricane, but it re-evaluated it a few days before “Nicole” passed. NASA was forced to cancel at the last minute two attempts to launch this rocket, which were scheduled at the end of August and then at the beginning of September due to technical problems.
The new “NASA” program “Artemis” will allow humans to return to the moon, and transfer the first woman and the first people of color to it, in the year 2025 at the earliest. NASA intends to establish a permanent human presence on the moon, which includes building a space station in its orbit, and this step will allow later a first trip to Mars.
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