NASA pushes back Artemis moon rocket launch 2 days because of Nicole

New launch date is Wednesday, Nov. 16

NASA is aiming for a launch attempt on Nov. 14, sending an empty crew capsule around the moon and back in a dramatic flight test before astronauts climb aboard in a couple years.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – NASA is pushing back the launch of its Artemis I moon mission to give its crews at Kennedy Space Center more time once Tropical Storm Nicole passes.

[TRENDING: Nicole expected to become hurricane, projected path shifts over Central Florida | Powerball ticket sold in California snags record $2.04B win | Become a News 6 Insider]

NASA was originally targeting Monday, Nov. 14 at 12:07 a.m. from KSC’s Launch Pad 39B.

However, now NASA will target 1:04 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Nov. 16 for the launch of the Space Launch Systems rocket with the Orion spacecraft on top.

A backup launch opportunity will be Saturday, Nov. 19.

NASA says this will give its teams time to tend to their families and homes after Tropical Storm Nicole passes, and also time to inspect the rocket and get back into launch status.

A ride-out crew will be on property in a safe location throughout the storm to monitor conditions, including the flight hardware.

The rocket, meanwhile, will remain on the launch pad through the storm. NASA says it is designed to withstand 85 mph winds at the 60-foot level. Current forecasts say the high winds at the launch pad are not expected to exceed the rocket’s design, and the rocket is designed to handle heavy rain.

As of Wednesday at 11:45 p.m., gusts were recorded at 68 mph at 131 feet on Pad 39B as Nicole closed in on Florida’s coastline.

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Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.