Space Force Approves Launch of NASA’s Megarocket, but Bad Weather Looms

The officials said SLS can withstand 85-mile-per-hour (137-kilometer-per-hour) wind gusts at the pad, while rollback can withstand sustained winds reaching 46 mph (74 kph). A meeting will be held tonight at 5:00 p.m. ET to review the current situation.

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It’s a real shame that Tropical Storm Nine had to appear right now. A cryogenic tanking test held earlier this week went well, with NASA achieving all main objectives. The test was done to confirm a repaired hydrogen leak, in which two seals were replaced at the quick disconnect fitting between the liquid hydrogen fuel line and the core stage. The hydrogen leak happened during the second failed attempt to launch the rocket, on September 3. The first test, on August 29, was scrubbed due to erroneous engine temperature readings.

SLS is a key component of NASA’s Artemis program, which seeks a sustained return to the Moon. The $50 billion rocket has been beset with delays and budget overruns and is currently being haunted by hydrogen leaks. The looming storm could potentially push back the inaugural launch even further, with the next launch phase running from October 17 to 31.

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More: NASA Refines Its Strategy for Getting Humans to Mars.

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