NASA said on Saturday that it was scrapping Tuesday’s plans to launch Artemis, the U.S. return to the moon after five decades, noting concerns about a tropical storm headed to Florida.
Tropical Storm Ian is expected to hit Florida, home to the Kennedy Space Center, next week, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
Apart from weather and technical challenges like a fuel leak, Artemis I, the uncrewed test flight, signals a major turning point for NASA’s post-Apollo human spaceflight program, after decades focused on low-Earth orbit with space shuttles and the International Space Station. Artemis will be headed to the moon, as a stepping stone for a future flight to Mars.
Named for the goddess who was Apollo’s twin sister in ancient Greek mythology, Artemis aims to return astronauts to the moon’s surface as early as 2025, though many experts believe that time frame will likely slip.