NASA Teams Continue To Monitor Severe Weather Ahead of Artemis I Wet Dress Rehearsal

Artemis I at Pad 39B Sunrise

The sunrise casts a golden glow on the Artemis I Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft at Launch Pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 23, 2022. Credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

The launch team is continuing to monitor severe weather in the Kennedy Space Center area surrounding Launch Complex 39B. Earlier this evening one of the lightning towers was struck and teams are currently assessing any impacts.

The lightning protection system consists of three nearly 600-foot (180-foot) tall towers that work together to protect the rocket from lightning strikes. The team will provide an update once a determination has been made on the intensity of the strike and has established a go forward plan.

Meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force Space Launch Delta 45 currently predict favorable weather conditions for tanking on April 3. The forecast for this afternoon slightly improved from yesterday. There is currently less than a 5% chance of lightning within five nautical miles of the launch pad. Weather constraints stipulate there must be less than a 20% chance of lightning within 5 nautical miles  (9.3 kilometers) of pad during the first hour of tanking. Meteorologists are also predicting a 10% chance of winds greater than 23 knots on April 3, when tanking begins. Winds must not be above 37.5 knots and the temperature cannot be below 41 degrees Fahrenheit.

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