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NASA fuels moon rocket for liftoff

2022 Aug 29, 12:50, CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla
The NASA moon rocket stands ready less than 24 hours before it is scheduled to launch on Pad 39B for the Artemis 1 mission to orbit the moon at the Kennedy Space Center, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (via AP)

 NASA began fueling its new moon rocket early Monday for liftoff on a test flight to put a crew capsule into lunar orbit for the first time in 50 years.

Thunderstorms delayed the fueling operation by an hour. The threat of lightning diminished enough to allow the launch team to proceed with loading the rocket’s tanks. But it was uncertain how much the stalled work might shorten the two-hour launch window.

No one was inside the Orion capsule atop the 322-foot (98-meter) rocket at Kennedy Space Center. Instead, three test dummies were strapped in for the lunar-orbiting mission, expected to last six weeks.

It’s the most powerful rocket ever built by NASA, out-muscling the Saturn V that carried astronauts to the moon a half-century ago. Thousands of people jammed the coast to see the Space Launch System, or SLS, rocket soar.

Rain pelted the launch site as the launch team finally began loading more than 1 million gallons of super-cold fuel into the rocket. Forecasters remained optimistic the sky would clear by launch time later in the morning; the rocket is banned from flying through rain.

Besides the weather, launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson and her team were dealing with a communication issue involving the Orion capsule.


NASA thunderstorms Orion capsule rocket at Kennedy Space Center Space Launch System
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