Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Looks Like Artemis is Staying Out on the Pad

Having just finished putting up my shutters and just about completing all the storm preparations, I've been checking on the Artemis blog since yesterday and still no changes.   

NASA is working with U.S. Space Force and the National Hurricane Center to monitor Subtropical Storm Nicole. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is currently in a HURCON (Hurricane Condition) IV status, which includes implementing checklists and preparations for the storm as the agency continues to prioritize its employees in the Kennedy area. Based on current forecast data, managers have determined the Space Launch System rocket and Orion will remain at Launch Pad 39B. Teams at Kennedy will continue to monitor the weather, make sure all personnel are safe, and will evaluate the status of the Monday, Nov. 14, launch attempt for the Artemis I mission as we proceed and receive updated predictions about the weather.

Since it's a roughly 12 hour trip for the crawler-transporter each way from Pad 39B to the VAB and it seems to take at least that long to prepare everything for the trip, that  pretty much guarantees that if they aren't moving by now, they're not moving.  To be honest, though, I haven't seen specs for what sort of winds the mobile launch tower can tolerate.   

The Cape Canaveral Space Force Station has its own weather forecasting group and the local reputation is they're more accurate than anything else we'll see.  Ordinarily, their task is to be extremely accurate for a few hours for a small area and I understand that's quite different from being accurate for days over a large area.  

I'll skip the obligatory joke about NASA hoping Artemis/SLS gets blown over so they can file an insurance claim on it and be done with Artemis.  Who would insure such a $4 billion dollar white elephant?  

Unlike Ian, which only hoisted tropical storm warnings here until it was onshore SW Florida and pouring up here, they posted Hurricane Warnings for us at 11AM this morning.  It seems likely to come onshore as a Category 1 storm Thursday morning and the most recent advisory shows it a little farther south than the previous forecasts.  In the same advisory, our chance of hurricane force winds is only 10-20%.  My guess is that chance will go up for another day as the storm approaches.

As a last minute update, moments before I was going to hit the "publish" button, NASA Artemis updated the blog posting describing that the “the safest option for the launch hardware was to keep the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft secured at the pad.”  They say the rocket on the pad is rated to 85 mph winds at the 60 foot level, with margin, and the winds are not expected to reach that.



  1. HAH! I was thinking the same "Insurance Claim" scenario before I read it.

    Our weather at the Sea Launch site (154*W, 0*N) was handled by our meteorologist. Between all the weather instruments on both ships, our own Boeing-funded NOAA buoy, our C-Band Pulsed Doppler Weather Radar, and the six weather balloons we launched over three days, we were pretty well covered for the launch site.

    Ans yes, predicting the weather over that small piece of geography takes different skills.

    Hope you Weather The Storm OK, SiG!

  2. Launch now set for the 16th.

  3. Thanks for the update. I was looking for information on the flying white elephant, well, flying orange elephant, but couldn't find anything.

    Glad you and yours are set. Are you cranking down the tower?

    1. Tower went over Sunday to work on the funky antenna and with the storm forecasts looking like they were, I left it cranked over, weight mostly supported by a ladder but can be caught by the cable at the winch if need be.

      (Didn't notice this posted as anonymous and not me the first time.)

  4. Do you think we should send NASA a rabbit's foot at this point?

  5. no insurance, they want a way out not involving explosions or a lost in space scenario

  6. You know, Artemis/SLS gets a lot of hate, but at 4 trips to/from the VAB / Pad it must have traveled 50km *already* - much more than Starship.

    1. Well, skippy, when you consider just how long SLS has taken to actually getting around to the "light that candle" part, and when you consider tat SpaceX is still waiting for a launch license, you may actually wise up and come to the conclusion that SLS is a Giant Boondoggle.

      Also, when you consider that it only takes 2 hours to move a Booster or Starship from the build facility to the launch facility (about 2 miles), and that they do it all the time, you'll soon realize that the "travel" metric is a waste of computational power. Apples to Oranges.