CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA’s Artemis 1 moon mission will try to launch again anyway.
Mission managers met on Monday (Nov. 14) to discuss the flight readiness of the Artemis 1’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft after minor damage caused by Hurricane Nicole, which was quickly downgraded to a tropical storm after touching down. country came. Thursday (November 10). Despite the fact that a band of insulating seal on Orion was damaged by high winds during the storm’s landfall, Mike Sarafin, Artemis mission manager at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said, “There is no change in our plan to try to launch on the 16th” during a media conference call today (Nov. 14).
“The unanimous recommendation to the team was that we were in a good position to go ahead and continue the launch countdown,” added Jeremy Parsons, deputy manager of NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems Program at Kennedy Space Center ( KSC) in Florida. If all goes according to plan during additional preflight checks and the cryogenic fuel process on Tuesday (Nov. 15), the Artemis 1 mission will launch from Launch Pad 39B at 1:04 a.m. EST (0604 GMT) on Nov. 16. watch the countdown, refuel and
Artemis 1 launch live online here on Space.com courtesy of NASA.
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One of the main concerns was a strip of insulating sealant known as RTV, which is designed to smooth out a small gap in the exterior of the Orion spacecraft. High winds during Hurricane Nicole stripped a 10-foot stretch of Orion’s RTV. After discovering the damage, there were concerns that the missing seal could cause unwanted airflow that could lead to overheating during launch and flight. After reviewing the issue and conducting multiple analyses, Artemis 1 mission managers believe the vehicle is still flyable.
“We looked at the entire vehicle stack, from the Orion spacecraft all the way to the base of the stack, and we agreed that the risk is bounded by the current hazards and hazard reports we have there,” Sarafin told reporters.
“That being said, if an issue arises that causes us to meet one of our no-go criteria, it might not be our day,” Sarafin added.
A NASA image of a damaged section of RTV insulation kit on the outside of the Artemis 1 mission’s Orion spacecraft. (Image credit: NASA)
Still, Parsons added that while there’s still a chance mission managers discover issues that would prevent a launch attempt on Wednesday (Nov. 16), there’s a lot to be proud of in terms of how the Artemis 1 teams have held up so well. . far through the many setbacks of the mission.
“And I’ll tell you, the team is running on all cylinders right now, so I just couldn’t be more proud of them. Because I think if you asked me a few weeks ago, we’d be going through a storm like the hurricane Nicole and then being able to turn around and have the vehicle cleaned up and in good shape, I would have said, hey, chances are probably slim. But this team really fired on all cylinders,” Parsons said.
Artemis 1 will see an unmanned Orion spacecraft launch into lunar orbit atop the SLS vehicle. The mission is intended to lay the groundwork for future Artemis missions that will see humanity return to the moon with the ultimate goal of establishing a lasting human presence there.
With Artemis 2, a human crew will not be launched into lunar orbit until 2023, while with Artemis 3, scheduled for 2024 or 2025, astronauts will again see footprints on the lunar surface.
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