NASA Teams Assessing Lightning Strikes to Towers at Artemis Launch Pad at Kennedy Space Center
By Space Coast Daily // August 28, 2022
Space Launch Delta 45 predict a 70 percent chance of favorable weather for launch
Overnight, engineers conducted preparations on the umbilicals, power up the core stage and begin charging the Orion and Space Launch System core stage batteries.
NASA – As the Artemis I countdown progresses, rain and thunderstorms have continued throughout Saturday afternoon at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Meteorologists with Space Launch Delta 45 predict a 70 percent chance of favorable weather for launch on Monday morning.
On Saturday afternoon, there were three lightning strikes to the lightning protection system towers at Launch Pad 39B – a strike to Tower 1 and two strikes to Tower 2.
Initial indications are that the strikes were of low magnitude. A weather team has begun an assessment that includes collecting voltage and current data, as well as imagery.
The data will be shared with a team of experts on electromagnetic environment efforts who will determine if any constraints on vehicle or ground systems were violated.
Engineers conducted a walkdown at the pad Saturday night and, if needed, will conduct additional assessments with subsystems experts.
Overnight, engineers conducted preparations on the umbilicals, power up the core stage, and begin charging the Orion and Space Launch System core stage batteries.
The lightning protection system at the launch pad includes three 600-foot-tall towers and catenary wires positioned to protect the rocket, spacecraft, and mobile launcher. The wires run to the ground almost diagonally, steering the lightning current away from the rocket.
The Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft are set to lift off from Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad 39B during a two-hour launch window that opens at 8:33 a.m. on Monday morning.