Why Did NASA Prohibit Press From Photographing Moon Mission Launch Site?

NASA Prohibited Photography Of Moon Mission Launch Site
Photo Credit: NASA

NASA ordered the press not to photograph the launch site of its uber-expensive Space Launch System after it took off with the Artemis I Moon mission on Wednesday, November 16.


Some reporters took to Twitter to share that NASA had sent out a message saying they were prohibited from clicking the Artemis I launch tower after the rocket took off. Ars Technica's senior space editor, Eric Berger tweeted, "NASA did not provide a reason."

What Could Be The Reason?

Berger added that, as per his sources, NASA prohibited journalists to take pictures of the launch site because it wanted to hide the fact that the launch damaged the tower.

"So now sources are saying that yes, Launch Complex-39B tower was damaged during the Artemis I launch on Wednesday morning," Berger’s tweet read. "Basically, there were leaks and damage where there weren't supposed to be leaks and damage."

Other Posts Corroborate With Sources

Washington Post space reporter Christian Davenport later posted a statement from the marquee space agency that corroborates with Berger’s sources. However, Davenport’s post emphasizes there was "no word on damage" to the tower.

"Because of the current state of the configuration, there are ITAR restrictions and photos are not permitted at this time," the statement given to Davenport. "There also is a launch debris around the pad as anticipated, and the team is currently assessing."

Regardless of what the reasoning is, it’s clear that NASA doesn’t want unapproved images of the Space Launch System rocket floating around the web.

Pieces Came Off Before SLS Launch

The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket seems to have lost some pieces while it was launching off with the Artemis I Moon mission. That could be problematic for a spacecraft, but NASA’s spokespersons say it won’t have any effect on the spacecraft.

While pieces coming off the rocket during the launch sounds like a serious problem, the space agency is said to have assessed the situation and learned that there’s nothing to worry about.

The Artemis I mission took off with an uncrewed Orion capsule aboard the SLS rocket. It will take the capsule into Moon’s orbit. The mission will lay the groundwork for upcoming Artemis Moon missions that will see humans set foot on the lunar surface after five decades.

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