Here’s the traffic plan for Artemis I launch during holiday weekend on Florida Space Coast

Launch window was set to open at 2:17 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3

The NASA moon rocket stands on Pad 39B before the Artemis 1 mission to orbit the moon at the Kennedy Space Center, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson) (Brynn Anderson, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Disappointed space aficionados hit the roads again after the second attempt to launch Artemis I, NASA’s mega moon rocket, was scrubbed Saturday.

Brevard County officials prepared for hundreds of thousands of people heading to the coast for the historic launch and holiday weekend.

The two-hour launch window was set to open at 2:17 p.m., but during tanking operations in the morning, hydrogen fuel began leaking from the engine section at the bottom of the rocket.

Three attempts were made to troubleshoot the leak, however, around 10:30 a.m. NASA said attempts were unsuccessful and discussed next steps.

This marks NASA’s second attempt to launch the Space Launch System rocket for the Artemis I mission. The Artemis I mission is part of NASA’s goal to bring astronauts back to the moon.

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Brevard County communications director Don Walker said managing Monday’s rush to the coast went better than expected, but Saturday will be even more of a challenge due to the Labor Day holiday.

“You could be seeing no less than 400,000 people or more,” Walker said.

Access to Port Canaveral

Port officials said Jetty Park will open at 7 a.m. on Saturday and will be open until it reaches capacity. There will be five parking areas available for visitors hoping to see the launch.

The port said these parking lots will be open until they reach capacity. Notices on whether parking capacity has been reached will be shared on electronic signs on State Road 528 and A1A, port officials said.

Port Canaveral parking overview. (Port Canaveral)

After the launch window

The Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization issued a traffic advisory map for post-launch.

Space Coast traffic plan (Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization)

If the rocket launches Saturday afternoon, the Orion spacecraft it carries will go on a 37-day mission with splashdown on Oct. 11.

The first attempt was scrubbed on Monday after an engine issue that needed to be resolved, however, mission managers said they believe there was a bad sensor.

“There’s no guarantee that we’re going to get off on Saturday, but we’re going to try,” Artemis I Mission Manager Mike Sarafin said.

The weather is forecasted to be an improved 60% go for launch on Saturday, according to Space Launch Delta 45, with concerns about cumulus clouds and the electrical field.


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About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.