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We Can All Now Nervously Watch as Nicole Approaches the Artemis 1



Image for article titled We Can All Now Nervously Watch as Nicole Approaches the Artemis 1

You can now watch all the drama of the Artemis 1 and NASA bout against Nicole in real time thanks to a live stream of Launch Pad 39B. NASA’s latest lunar mission is going to hunker down at the Kennedy Space Center as subtropical storm Nicole approaches the Florida coast. The storm may very well reach Cape Canaveral, Florida as a Category 1 Hurricane, but NASA is reportedly taking a calculated risk to avoid stressing the Artemis 1 by moving it to shelter.

Nicole is threatening to batter the area with hurricane-force winds that the Artemis rocket and Orion spacecraft are not entirely secure from given the mission’s design specifications. The looming storm has NASA on high alert, or HURCON III status. And in case you’d like to follow along, you can do so through the Launch Pad Live stream on YouTube channel Spaceflight Now:

Launch Pad Live: Storm Watch

As reported earlier, NASA is leaving the Artemis 1 Mission — which includes the Space Launch System rocket, Orion spacecraft and the mobile launch tower — on Launch Pad 39B, and hoping for the best. Obviously, NASA is taking further precautions than that: it’s currently under Hurricane Condition (HURCON) III status, which is the second of four levels of preparedness and is enacted at “48 hours prior to 50-knot [58 mph] sustained winds.”

The precautions include securing nearby “facilities, property and equipment, as well as briefing and deploying ROT’ personnel, AKA the Rideout Team. NASA is basically battening down the hatches and making sure the rocket and spacecraft are as prepared as can be when the storm hits. Well, if the storm hits.

Bloomberg reports that NASA powered down the Orion craft and major components of the SLS rocket ahead of the storm’s arrival. NASA also installed covers to protect the Artemis launch abort system, which sits in a vulnerable position atop the rocket. The crew access arm (or walkway) was retracted and secured. And ROT support personell are watching for any debris the storm could potentially hurl at the Artemis.

The stepped precautions of NASA’s HURCON levels are about all the space administration can do in liue of rolling back the Artemis to safety. And all we can do is watch and hope the next lunar rocket comes through unscathed.

Image for article titled We Can All Now Nervously Watch as Nicole Approaches the Artemis 1

Photo: Joel Kowsky/NASA (Getty Images)

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