Science & Tech

Journalists Slam NASA for Lack of Transparency Behind Moon Rocket Prelaunch

“This excuse is total BS.”


NASA has made the unprecedented determination to conduct a serious check of its House Launch System (SLS) with none press in attendance — and the reporters tasked with overlaying the company are understandably miffed.

This type of “wet dress rehearsal,” which is spaceflightspeak for ultimate prelaunch checks during which rockets are rolled out to the launchpad and ready for liftoff, is sort of at all times open to the general public and press, and media gamers like Spaceflight Now writer Steven Younger say it units a troubling tone for the uber-expensive Artemis 1 lunar mission.

“Never in the history of US human spaceflight has the press corps or the public been left this much in the dark about a new NASA vehicle,” Younger tweeted.

Calling Bull

Younger additionally remarked that even because the moist costume rehearsal’s April 1 date attracts ever nearer, “NASA is still working on a countdown timeline to release to the press and public,” and contrasted the secrecy unfavorably with entry granted throughout the improvement of the House Shuttle program.

In accordance with a press release from NASA’s Tom Whitmeyer, the press is barred from the launch of the SLS megarocket’s prelaunch as a result of it might compromise army safety. Per New York Instances area reporter Joey Roulette, Whitmeyer added that NASA wouldn’t present any extra details about the moist costume rehearsal as a result of it might “inadvertently give an indication towards specific characteristics of the operations.”

Evidently, that’s a skinny justification and a slippery slope towards intertwining NASA’s scientific mandate with a army one. In response to it, Michael Baylor of NASASpaceflight mentioned that the company’s “excuse” was “total BS.”

“It is industry standard to broadcast the primary countdown loop,” Baylor tweeted. “Pretty much all of the US launch providers do it.”

Information of the Bizarre

To date, NASA doesn’t seem to have reversed its determination forward of the Friday prelaunch, although it did maintain a press convention on March 29 to debate the moist costume rehearsal. As Ars Technica‘s Eric Berger tweeted, NASA’s determination to maintain journalists at midnight in regards to the Artemis launches might be much less probably about hiding a mistake and extra about “an overzealous government lawyer somewhere.”

“But it’s still a weird situation,” Berger concluded.

Extra on SLS drama: NASA Descends Into Chaos as Moon Program Revealed to Be Means Behind, Over Finances

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