Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., March 26, 2020 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) communications satellite for the U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 on March 26 at 4:18 p.m. EDT. This marks the 83rd successful launch of an Atlas V rocket, 138th launch for ULA and first mission for the U.S. Space Force.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — The Mars 2020 mission involving NASA’s newly named rover — Perseverance — received a significant boost following the completion of important testing at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Here’s quick look at the launches scheduled for the rest of March. Information from Spaceflightnow.com’s launch schedule.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 launch scheduled for March 30 is listed. However, unofficial reports say it has been delayed indefinitely due to travel restrictions imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The booster will launch the SAOCOM 1B Earth observation satellite for Argentine.
What the months ahead hold in terms of launch is uncertain. Europe has suspended flights out of its launch base in French Guiana. Whether other spaceports are closed remains to be seen. China appears to have weathered the worst of the virus.
I would expect crew and cargo flights to the International Space Station (ISS) to continue. The first crewed flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft to ISS is scheduled for mid- to late May. It’s difficult to say whether that schedule will hold.
Launch Vehicle: Long March 2C Payloads: 3 Yaogan 30-06 military surveillance satellites Launch Time: Approximately 11:40 p.m. EDT on 23rd (0340 GMT on 24th) Launch Site: Xichang, China
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (ULA PR) — Everything is progressing toward the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V launch carrying the AEHF-6 mission for the U.S. Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center.
The mission is set to lift off on Thursday, March 26 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The two-hour launch window begins at 2:57 p.m. ET.
Live broadcast coverage of launch will begin at 2:37 p.m. ET on March 26. Live launch updates and webcast available at: www.ulalaunch.com.
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin released a fact sheet about its programs when it opened its new Huntsville manufacturing facility on Monday. Below is an excerpt on the company’s New Glenn rocket and its BE-3, BE-4 and BE-7 engine development program.
BLUE ORIGIN FACT SHEET
Named after John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit Earth, New Glenn is a single configuration, heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle capable of carrying people and payloads routinely to low Earth orbit, geostationary transfer orbit, cislunar and beyond. Its first stage is fully reusable and built for 25 missions initially.
An United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V booster successfully launched the joint ESA-NASA Solar Orbiter on a mission to study the Sun from Cape Canaveral on Sunday night.
Ground controllers confirmed the receipt of a signal from the spacecraft after it separated from the Centaur second stage of the launch vehicle.
Solar Orbiter is an international collaborative mission between the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA. The spacecraft will observe the Sun with high spatial resolution telescopes and capture observations in the environment directly surrounding the spacecraft to create a one-of-a-kind picture of how the Sun can affect the space environment throughout the solar system.
The spacecraft also will provide the first-ever images of the Sun’s poles and the never-before-observed magnetic environment there, which helps drive the Sun’s 11-year solar cycle and its periodic outpouring of solar storms.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Feb. 7, 2020 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket is in final preparations to launch the Solar Orbiter mission, an international cooperative mission between the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA. The launch is on track for Feb. 9 at Space Launch Complex-41 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Launch is planned for 11:03 p.m. EST at the opening of a two-hour launch window. The live launch broadcast begins at 10:30 p.m. EST on NASA TV at and www.ulalaunch.com.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA is targeting 11:03 p.m. EST Sunday, Feb. 9, for the launch of Solar Orbiter, an international collaborative mission between ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA. The spacecraft will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 411 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida.
Live coverage will begin on NASA Television and the agency’s website Friday, Feb. 7, with prelaunch events.
Last year was a busy one for suborbital flights as Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic conducted a combined four flights of their crewed suborbital vehicles. Despite hopes to the contrary, neither company flew paying tourists on their spaceships.
There were also 26 sounding rocket launches that carried scientific experiments and technology payloads above the atmosphere. The year saw:
Japanese startup Interstellar Technologies conduct a successful launch of its Momo commercial sounding rocket;
Texas-based Exos Aerospace continue to struggle with its reusable SARGE booster; and,
the first suborbital launch ever achieved by college students.
Spaceflight Nowreports that SpaceX is completing plans for a mobile service tower so the company can integrate U.S. military satellites onto its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy boosters while they are in a vertical position on Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
The tower will surround Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets at pad 39A, shielding the vehicles from storms and high winds and providing a controlled environment for ground crews to hoist heavy satellites and mount them on top of the launch vehicles in a vertical configuration.
SpaceX currently installs satellites, already cocooned inside their payload shrouds, onto Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets horizontally inside hangars near the company’s launch pads. But some of thee U.S. government’s most sensitive intelligence-gathering satellites, some of which come with billion-dollar or higher price tags, are designed to be mounted on their launch vehicles vertically.
SpaceX officials said the vertical integration capability is required for participants in the National Security Space Launch Phase 2 Launch Service Procurement. The U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center — now part of the U.S. Space Force — released a request for proposals for the Phase 2 Launch Service Procurement last May.
The military plans to select two companies later this year to launch the Pentagon’s most critical satellite missions from 2022 through 2026. The military’s incumbent National Security Space Launch providers — United Launch Alliance and SpaceX — are competing for the lucrative contracts with newcomers Northrop Grumman and Blue Origin for the Phase 2 contracts.
The CST-100 Starliner is in a safe, stable orbit after an anomaly this morning following launch and spacecraft separation from the Atlas V.
The anomaly appears to have been the result of a mission elapsed timer (MET) using an unexpected timeline, which delayed orbital insertion thruster firings, putting Starliner in an unplanned orbit. Further root cause analysis is needed.
The Boeing flight control team quickly took action to place Starliner into an orbit that supports a safe landing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
The combined Boeing and NASA team now plan to work together to define test flight objectives for the remainder of the mission, while preparing for the Starliner landing.
At this time, we do not expect the Starliner to dock at the International Space Station on this flight.
We are proud of the team for their professionalism and quick action to protect the vehicle and enable a safe return. We look forward to reviewing and learning from the data that has been generated from this mission so far.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., (Dec. 20, 2019)– A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying Boeing’s Starliner capsule on the Orbital Flight Test lifted off on Dec. 20 at 6:36:43 a.m. EST, from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This marks the 81st launch of an Atlas V rocket and ULA’s 136th successful launch.
Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft suffered an anomaly after reaching space during its maiden flight test on Friday morning, resulting in the abandonment of plans for a rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station (ISS).
Boeing and NASA officials said the spacecraft is in a good orbit and performing well. They are planning an abbreviated two-day flight test before bringing the spacecraft down for a landing on Sunday morning at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
Centennial, Colo., Dec. 18, 2019 (ULA PR) – NASA’s Launch Services Program announced today that it selected United Launch Alliance’s (ULA’s) proven Atlas V vehicle to launch the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-T mission, the second to last satellite in the GOES constellation. This award resulted from a competitive Launch Service Task Order evaluation under the NASA Launch Services II contract.
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (ULA PR) — Everything is progressing toward the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V launch carrying the Orbital Flight Test (OFT), Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner capsule.
The mission is set to lift off on Friday, Dec. 20, from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The instantaneous launch is planned for 6:36 a.m. EST.
Live broadcast coverage of launch will begin at 5:30 a.m. EST on Dec. 20 and will broadcast live on NASA TV. Live launch updates and the webcast will be available at www.ulalaunch.com and www.boeing.com/starliner
Atlas V rocket will deliver the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft to a 98 nautical mile suborbital trajectory to the International Space Station. After Starliner separation from Atlas V, Starliner engines will burn taking it the rest of the way to orbit and on to the International Space Station.
The Starliner OFT will be the 81st launch of the Atlas V and will mark ULA’s 136th mission.
Launch Forecast Summary
Today’s forecast shows a 70 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for launch.
Overall probability of violating weather constraints: 30% Primary concerns: Cumulus cloud rule, ground winds Overall probability of violating weather constraints for 24-hour delay: 40% Primary concern: Cumulus cloud rule, thick cloud layer rule