NASA announced on Monday its decision to bring the Artemis I rocket and spacecraft back inside its hangar at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to protect it from the approaching Hurricane Ian.
Managers made the decision to roll the rocket and spacecraft back to the Vehicle Assembly Building beginning Monday after data gathered overnight showed worsening weather conditions for the area around Cape Canaveral, Florida, the space agency said.
"The decision allows time for employees to address the needs of their families and protect the integrated rocket and spacecraft system," NASA said in a statement.
NASA delayed the launch attempt of its new moon rocket on Saturday because Tropical Storm Ian was expected to become a major hurricane.
The storm strengthened into a hurricane early Monday as it barreled toward Florida, where it was expected to hit its Gulf Coast on Thursday.
It’s the third delay in the past month for the lunar-orbiting test flight featuring mannequins but no astronauts, a follow-up to NASA's Apollo moon-landing program of a half-century ago. Hydrogen fuel leaks and other technical issues caused the previous scrubs.
The most recent delay for the test flight will likely be lengthy, possibly pushing it into November.
The Space Launch System rocket is the most powerful ever built by NASA. Assuming its first test flight goes well, astronauts would climb aboard for the next mission in 2024, leading to a two-person moon landing in 2025.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.