the countdown to NASA Artemis I The launch is underway for an early liftoff from Florida’s space coast on Wednesday, though damage sustained during Hurricane Nicole could delay the rocket’s journey a bit longer.
Like Hurricane Nicole did Landfall in Florida last Thursday, high winds caused a 10-foot section of putty to peel off near the crew capsule on top of the rocket, the Associated Press reported.
This is the first test flight for the 322-foot rocket, which is scheduled to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 1:04 a.m. Wednesday. The crew capsule will not be manned by astronauts on this lap, but by test dummies. will occupy the space.
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Mission managers fear that the peeling sealant, though narrow, could damage the rocket if it breaks. They are expected to make a final decision on whether to go ahead with the launch sometime Monday night, according to the AP.
“Artemis I will be the first in a series of increasingly complex missions to build a long-term human presence on the moon for decades to come,” NASA said on its website. “The primary goals of Artemis I are to demonstrate Orion’s systems in a spaceflight environment and to ensure safe re-entry, descent, splashdown and recovery prior to the first crew flight on Artemis II.”
Over the course of 25 days, 11 hours and 36 minutes, the spacecraft will travel 1.3 million miles, and when it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere, it is expected to travel at 24,500 mph, or Mach 32, before splashing down. . Dec 11
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While in space, the spacecraft will orbit the earth, deploying solar panels and the interim cryogenic propulsion stage, or ICPS, to gain enough propulsion to leave planet orbit and travel to the moon, NASA said on its site.
Getting to the moon will take several days, but once there, it will fly 62 miles above the moon’s surface and use the gravitational force to propel the Orion spacecraft about 40,000 miles from the moon to orbit.
It will then orbit the moon for six days before returning to Earth. Once the spacecraft returns, it is expected to land off the coast of Baja California.
The AP reported that the month-long, $4 billion mission has been grounded since August, due to fuel leaks and Hurricane Ian.
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NASA moved the rocket to its hangar during Hurricane Ian, but it remained on the launch pad during Hurricane Nicole.
The last time NASA sent astronauts to the moon was during the last mission of the Apollo program in December 1972.
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