Cape Canaveral, fl. – Successfully sent by United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V Rocket Today (Nov. 13) in space, followed by a series of delays due to hardware issues and bad weather at the launch site.
At 5:32 pm EST (2232 GMT) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida, the space launch complex exploded from 41 to 206 feet (63 m), along with a classified load for the National Reassessment Office, which manages the U.S. government’s spy satellites.
Appointed NROL-101, marks the fifth launch of the ULA so far this year; The company has introduced various payloads for the military and for NASA’s diligent Mars rover. The National Reassessment Office (NRO) is sparse with details about the payload, which is common to this type of work, but ensured that the payload was designed and built by the NRO.
Originally scheduled to start on November 3, the work was initially delayed by 24 hours when the team noticed a problem with the vehicle’s environmental control system. A hardware replacement was ordered and crews worked to replace the damaged environmental control system pipe, which provided conditioned air to the rocket’s payload.
The rocket rolled back to the pad for another attempt at launch. As the countdown progressed, the teams noticed a problem with the vehicle’s fuel system, which prevented the rocket from loading with super cool oxygen, one of its propulsions. The countdown has stopped and the release has been postponed again.
The most recent delay came in the form of Thai nature Tropical storm condition, Which intensified into a hurricane Monday (Nov. 9) and threatened to bring rain and wind to Florida as the storm cut across the state. Fortunately, the Etta was short-lived, allowing the weather conditions in the Cape on Friday to improve dramatically.
Weather forecasters predict that 90% of favorable conditions will occur in the elevator on Friday night, with cumulus clouds being the only cause for concern.
Today’s launch marks the 29th mission for the NRO and the 17th mission launched on the Atlas V. (Launched on 12 other company’s Delta IV rockets.) The NROL-101 mission marked the 86th aircraft of the Atlas V since the launch of the rocket in 2002.
The NRO uses these “eyes in the sky” to provide optical and radar images of the Earth from space, as well as to send and intercept secure communications to various intelligence agencies.
As usual in this type of work, the NRO has not released much detail about this release or its payload. However, warning notices to pilots and potters and a Task profile animation The rocket is reported to be flying in a northeasterly orbit, which will eventually be placed in a high-slope orbit with regular views of the northern hemisphere.
The ULA sits on a nearby pad with another government ballot. A Delta IV heavy is scheduled to load the NROL-44 payload into orbit from time to time this year. That work, which was grounded due to pad hardware issues, was originally scheduled to depart in August, but it did Postponed indefinitely.
The two-phase Atlas V sailed to Dindigul from its nearby integration facility on Thursday afternoon (Nov. 12) for its fourth launch attempt. Once, the crew began preparing the rocket for its flight.
The Atlas V is triggered by a combination of liquid oxygen and RP-1, which is the refined form of kerosene used for space travel and the liquid hydrogen in its upper stage was loaded on a rocket on Friday afternoon. The vehicle flew in the “531” configuration, with three solid rocket motors and a 17.7-foot (5.4 m) diameter payload firing, the first NRO to use this variant.
This is the fourth time the Atlas V has flown in the 531 configuration, and is the first to use the newly upgraded solid rocket motors. Each of the three previous aircraft of this edition carried advanced high speed high frequency (AEHF) communications satellites for the US military.
The strap-on boosters of the rocket are called GEM63 Northrop Krumman Developed to replace previous models manufactured by Aerojet Rocketine. The 66-foot (20 m) rocket motors each have an additional 373,800 pounds of propulsion. According to ULA, GEM63s are easier to handle and less expensive than previous iterations.
Once the U.L.A. Vulcan said The rocket flies, powered by a peephole version of solid rocket motors called the GEM 63XL. By testing a smaller version on the Atlas V, the rocket manufacturer plans to fully test GEM’s capabilities before building one on a Vulcan.
A few months ago, on September 11, when teams began stacking the Atlas V rocket into the integration facility near the pad, preparations for the launch of the NROL-101 began. The ULA teams began loading the first stage onto the Atlas mobile launch pad, then added the vehicle’s trio of solid rocket motors and finally the upper level. Payload was installed on Oct. 26.
Today’s release is the first in a dual title scheduled for this weekend SpaceX is preparing to begin its next crew mission to the International Space Station. On Saturday evening (Nov. 14), a Falcon 9 rocket is ready to explode from Bat 39AV at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, accompanied by four astronauts.
If all goes as planned, Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker, Victor Clover and Sochi Nokuchi of Japan will be in the ISS. Will fly for 8.5 hours. The crew is scheduled to stay at the station for six months, starting with the first long trip to start from Florida. Liftoff 7; 49 hours EST (0049 GMT on November 15) and set for launch Will be broadcast live on space.com.
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