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Artemis I launch attempt scrubbed due to possible hurricane


(NEW YORK) — NASA said Saturday that is is scrubbing its third planned launch attempt of Artemis I, that was scheduled for Sept. 27, due to weather concerns. The announcement comes after NASA delayed two previous attempts in recent weeks.

Engineers will wait until Sunday night to decide if the rocket needs to roll back off the launch pad. If they do not roll it back, the next possible launch date is Sunday, Oct. 2.

If they decide to roll it back, that would begin Monday morning.

During a press conference Friday, officials said the launch window would have opened at 11:37 a.m. ET, but Tropical Depression Nine could delay plans.

As of Friday, there is only a 20% chance of favorable weather on Tuesday as Tropical Depression Nine heads towards Florida and may make landfall as a major hurricane next week.

Currently, the National Hurricane Center Track suggests the storm could become a major hurricane next week. It is projected to make landfall in Florida on Wednesday into early Thursday as a Category 3 Hurricane.

“It’s still a tropical depression number nine, it’s not a named storm,” Tom Whitmeyer, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development, told reporters Friday. “We really want to continue to try to get as much information as we can so we can make the best possible decision for the hardware.”

NASA had to scrub the first launch attempt on Aug. 29 because of a faulty temperature sensor and the second attempt on Sept. 3 due to a liquid hydrogen leak.

Since then, engineers and mission managers have been running tests to make sure the rocket is ready during its next attempt.

In a press release, NASA said the Artemis team encountered a hydrogen leak during a test run on Wednesday, but the issue was addressed and resolved.

The process of tanking, which includes filling the rocket’s core stage with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, was also successful.

“We had a very successful tanking test all of the tanks,” John Blevins, NASA’s Space Launch System chief engineer, said during the press conference. “We were able to do some things that we won’t have to do again, some things that we intended to do even on launch day that were left over from previous dress rehearsals. So, it was a very successful.”

If the Oct. 2 launch is also a no-go, the rocket will be taken back to the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center until the team decides on the next date.

Over the course of the Artemis missions, NASA plans to eventually send the first female astronaut and the first astronaut of color to the moon.

The federal space agency also plans to establish a moon base as a steppingstone to send astronauts to Mars by 2024 or 2025.

-ABC News’ Daniel Amarante and Gina Sunseri contributed to this report

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