However, engineers deferred a final decision about the rollback to Sunday to allow for additional data gathering and analysis.
As Tropical Storm Ian continues to brew, NASA has announced its decision to forego a launch attempt this Tuesday for its Artemis I mission to the moon.
The space center made the decision in a meeting Saturday morning. according to an update from NASA, in which teams determined it was best to stand down on moving forward with the Tuesday launch date.
Foregoing the launch will allow the teams roll back the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft back to the Vehicle Assembly Building.
However, engineers deferred a final decision about the rollback to Sunday to allow for additional data gathering and analysis. If Artemis I managers elect to roll back, it would start moving the massive 5.75 million-pound, 322-foot-tall structure back to the safety of the Vehicle Assembly Building late Sunday night or early Monday morning.
“The agency is taking a step-wise approach to its decision making process to allow the agency to protect its employees by completing a safe roll in time for them to address the needs of their families while also protecting for the option to press ahead with another launch opportunity in the current window if weather predictions improve,” NASA wrote in an update.
NASA will continue to review the most up-to-date information provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Space Force and the National Hurricane Center.
The rocket can withstand gusts of 85 mph at the pad, but only 46 mph once it’s on the move, according to The Associated Press.
This would be the third launch attempt for the Space Launch System rocket, the most powerful ever built by NASA. Fuel leaks and other technical problems scrapped the first two tries, in late August and early September.
Tropical Storm Ian maintains a troubling forecast path toward Southwest Florida, and is expected to strike sometime late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning. Heeding meteorologists, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in Florida’s 24 southernmost counties counties Friday afternoon.