Artemis 1 Moon rocket moved back to pad for November 14 launch attempt

Nasa officials say they feel confident about chances of taking off, despite previous problems

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US space agency Nasa has moved its Artemis 1 Moon rocket back to the pad for a launch attempt on November 14.

The 101-metre rocket had been kept in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida since September 27.

It was moved there to shelter it from Hurricane Ian, one of the strongest storms to hit the state of Florida.

The Space Launch System rocket, with the Orion spacecraft on top of it, will take off as part of Artemis 1, a test-flight around the Moon that will pave the way for future crewed missions.

Two previous attempts to launch the rocket have failed because of technical problems, including a hydrogen leak.

Nasa officials said during a media briefing on Thursday that they were confident about the coming launch attempt, taking place at 12.07am Eastern time, or 8.07am Gulf Standard Time.

“Since we’ve gone back to the VAB, the work has gone really well,” said Jim Free, associate administrator for exploration systems development at Nasa.

“Everyone is comfortable with launching in the evening and I think everyone feels really good about the launch."

Mr Free said that this has been a "challenging mission" but that they feel "confident going forward".

There is a 69-minute launch window on November 14, which would result in a mission duration of 25 and a half days .

There are also back-up dates of November 16 and November 19.

As launch dates get closer, Nasa is watching a tropical low-pressure system that is expected to move towards Florida.

Mark Berger of the US Space Force's 45th Weather Squadron said during the media briefing that they were monitoring the weather event.

"As far as looking ahead over the next week or so, we are monitoring the potential development of at least an area of low pressure somewhere near Puerto Rico, just south of there this weekend, that will slowly move to the northwest over the course of early next week," he said.

"And so there's still a lot of inconsistencies on exactly where that may end up. In fact, the National Hurricane Centre just has said it has a 30 per cent chance of becoming a named storm.

"We'll have impacts from that in terms of the wind. But again, we're not looking at any likelihood at this point of seeing a strong system emerge out of this. However, again, we are continuing to watch that for potential impacts into the middle of next week."

Updated: November 04, 2022, 2:11 PM
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