First a technical defect, now a storm: Nasa cancels the “Artemis” moon mission for the third time

The US space agency Nasa has canceled the launch of its unmanned moon mission Artemis 1 scheduled for Tuesday due to an approaching tropical storm.

“Nasa is not launching” and is preparing to remove the rocket from the launch pad, the space agency announced on Saturday. Tropical Storm Ian, currently south of Jamaica, will “intensify rapidly” en route to Florida over the weekend, according to the US Hurricane Center (NHC).

The Kennedy Space Center is located in Florida, from which the rocket is to be launched. The rocket can withstand wind gusts of up to 137 kilometers per hour on the launch pad. According to Nasa, a decision will be made on Sunday whether it actually has to be removed from the launch pad. If this is the case, the mission could no longer take place in the current launch window, which runs until October 4th. The next launch window would be October 17-31.

Two earlier eagerly awaited launch attempts from the Cape Canaveral spaceport in Florida were called off in early September because of fuel leaks. 50 years after the last moon landing to date, NASA wants to use the Artemis 1 mission to prepare for people to travel to the moon again.

The task of the Artemis 1 mission is to test the most powerful launch vehicle to date and the Orion capsule at the top under real conditions. The follow-up mission Artemis 2 is to bring astronauts into a lunar orbit. With Artemis 3, another moon landing should be successful in 2025 at the earliest.