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NASA says Artemis I safe for Nov. 16 launch after storm delay


American space agency NASA on Friday said it is on track to launch the Artemis I moon mission on Nov. 16, which was delayed this time due to Tropical Storm Nicole.

"There's nothing preventing us from getting to the 16th," said Jim Free, NASA's Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Development at a news conference.

The storm slammed Florida on Thursday as a Category 1 hurricane and continues to generate bad weather in that US state. The launch has been pushed back from Monday to next Wednesday, Nov. 16.

NASA kept the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion capsule on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center during the storm, which generated 100 mph winds, much higher than the 85 mph the hardware is designed to cope with.

Engineers made that decision in the best interests of the space flight equipment and Free said there are only some "touch-ups" and minor repairs and replacements to take care of before the next scheduled launch.

"The winds were really high... and the risk of rolling... and the risk of moving with the high winds, we decided to stay at the pad," said Free. "We would expect to see higher wind speeds and we designed for that."

"There's strength and fatigue that go into our design," Free continued. "We were within the limits for both stress and fatigue."

The Artemis I uncrewed space mission is the first of three test flights of NASA’s deep space exploration systems.

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