NASA said Friday that it would attempt to launch its Moon mega-rocket in November, but would not commit to a specific date for the long-delayed Artemis 1 mission.
The US space agency, which had to postpone its most recent launch attempt due to Hurricane Ian, which slammed Florida this week, announced that it was planning its next launch window between November 12 and November 27.
“In the coming days,” NASA said in a blog post, the team will assess conditions and necessary work and “determine a specific date for the next launch attempt.”
Officials had previously refused to completely dismiss an earlier attempt in October.
The SLS rocket, NASA’s most powerful ever designed, had to be returned to its storage hangar at Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday to avoid being hit by Hurricane Ian.
The storm devastated parts of Florida, but the rocket was unharmed, according to NASA.
The November launch window will allow “time for employees at Kennedy to address the needs of their families and homes following the storm” and in the run-up to the next mission attempt.
It will also take days to raise the 98-meter-high (320-foot) rocket and transport it to its launch pad before configuring it for takeoff.
NASA has already attempted to launch the uncrewed Artemis 1 mission twice, in late August and early September, but both failed due to technical issues.
SLS has been in development for more than a decade but has never flown.
Artemis is NASA’s new flagship programme, launched fifty years after the last mission of the Apollo programme. Artemis 1 will be used to ensure that the Orion capsule at the top of the rocket is safe for future crew transport to the Moon.