Brevard County

NASA: Artemis is still a go despite several lightning strikes near the launchpad

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — NASA officials said things appear to be on schedule for Monday’s launch of Artemis I, despite some tense moments after several lightning strikes near the launch pad Saturday afternoon.

Crews worked throughout the night testing systems on the SLS and other parts of the spacecraft, ensuring there wasn’t any damage.


Read: Official countdown for Artemis I mission has begun

NASA test director Jeff Spalding said the 600-foot lightning towers near the launch pad did their job, keeping lightning away from the rocket and spacecraft.

“Clearly the system worked as designed,” Spaulding said.

Read: Official countdown for Artemis I mission has begun

He said at least five separate hits near the pad during Saturday’s storms caused some concerns but after running several tests, crews found the hits weren’t strong enough to delay a launch Monday.

“We have a threshold that we look at to see what the magnitude of these strikes are and we did not meet that criteria to have to do an intensive or invasive retest,” Spaulding said.

Read: ‘Eyes on the skies’: Visitors head to the Space Coast ahead of Artemis I launch

NASA will continue to monitor the weather very closely but for now, the countdown to launch will continue.

We are trying to be proactive and looking ahead and adjusting as required, Spaulding said.

Read: Artemis I: 9 things to know about NASA’s mission to return humans to the moon

The Artemis I mission is set to launch with a two-hour window scheduled to open at 8:33 a.m.

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Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser,

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.