NASA moon rocket on track for launch despite lightning hits | AP News

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  one month ago  •  6 comments

By:   MARCIA DUNN (AP NEWS)

NASA moon rocket on track for launch despite lightning hits | AP News
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA's new moon rocket remained on track to blast off on a crucial test flight Monday, despite a series of lightning strikes at the launch pad. The 322-foot (98-meter) Space Launch System rocket is the most powerful ever built by NASA.

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA's new moon rocket remained on track to blast off on a crucial test flight Monday, despite a series of lightning strikes at the launch pad.

The 322-foot (98-meter) Space Launch System rocket is the most powerful ever built by NASA. It's poised to send an empty crew capsule into lunar orbit, a half-century after NASA's Apollo program, which landed 12 astronauts on the moon.

Astronauts could return to the moon in a few years, if this six-week test flight goes well. NASA officials caution, however, that the risks are high and the flight could be cut short.

In lieu of astronauts, three test dummies are strapped into the Orion capsule to measure vibration, acceleration and radiation, one of the biggest hazards to humans in deep space. The capsule alone has more than 1,000 sensors.

Officials said Sunday that neither the rocket nor capsule suffered any damage during Saturday's thunderstorm; ground equipment also was unaffected. Five strikes were confirmed, hitting the 600-foot (183-meter) lightning-protection towers surrounding the rocket at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The strikes weren't strong enough to warrant major retesting.

"Clearly, the system worked as designed," said Jeff Spaulding, NASA's senior test director.

More storms were expected. Although forecasters gave 80% odds of acceptable weather Monday morning, conditions were expected to deteriorate during the two-hour launch window.

On the technical side, Spaulding said the team did its best over the past several months to eliminate any lingering fuel leaks. A pair of countdown tests earlier this year prompted repairs to leaking valves and other faulty equipment; engineers won't know if all the fixes are good until just a few hours before the planned liftoff. If Monday doesn't pan out, the next launch attempt would be Friday.

After so many years of delays and setbacks, the launch team was thrilled to finally be so close to the inaugural flight of the Artemis moon-exploration program, named after Apollo's twin sister in Greek mythology.

"We're within 24 hours of launch right now, which is pretty amazing for where we've been on this journey," Spaulding told reporters.

The follow-on Artemis flight, as early as 2024, would see four astronauts flying around the moon. A landing could follow in 2025. NASA is targeting the moon's unexplored south pole, where permanently shadowed craters are believed to hold ice that could be used by future crews.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.


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Kavika
Professor Principal
1  Kavika     one month ago

We are at Daytona Beach around 70 miles north of the launch area in Coco Beach. It's cloudy and we've had a few lightning flashes here. Artemis is having problems with one of it's four engines so the 8:33 am launch may be delayed. 

Hopefully, I'll get some photos of the launch when and if it is today.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2  Kavika     one month ago

NASA just scrubbed the mission.

The next opening for a launch is September 2nd.

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
PhD Principal
2.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Kavika @2    one month ago

Bummer

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
2.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  Kavika @2    one month ago

I'm glad they scrubbed it. No point in taking chances with that expensive rocket

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
3  Greg Jones    one month ago

I'm all for exploration, but this is a waste of money.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
3.1  Ronin2  replied to  Greg Jones @3    one month ago

I agree.

I understand the need to test the rocket to make sure it will with stand the stress and strain of lift off and reentry; as well as gathering information on the radiation that the hopefully "advanced human like" dummies (they had better be advanced and able to simulate real humans under those conditions). 

But NASA went to the moon once with far worse technology. Now they need to relearn everything all over; as the rest of the world passes the US by again on space exploration.

I am not holding high hopes for this rocket. It has taken far too long in development; and is beyond issue laden.

 
 

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