Cape Canaveral, flat. – United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully sent one Atlas also rocket After a series of delays due to hardware issues and bad weather conditions at the launch site, today (November 13) in space.
The 206-foot-high (63-meter) rocket was fired from the space launch complex at 5:32 p.m. EST (2232 GMT) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, setting a classified salary for the National Reconnaissance Office. Was Who manages the US government’s fleet of spy satellites.
Nominated NROL-101, the mission marks the fifth start of the ULA so far this year; The company has launched several other payloads for the military as well as NASA’s fixed Mars rover. The National Reconstruction Office (NRO) has been flaring up with payload details specific to this type of mission, but confirming that the payload was designed and built by the required NRO.
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Originally scheduled for launch on November 3, the mission was delayed by 24 hours when the team noticed an issue with the vehicle’s environmental control system. A hardware swap was ordered and the operators replaced the nose of the damaged environmental control system, which provides conditioned air to the rocket’s payload.
The rocket landed back on the pad for another attempt at the start. As the numbers grew, teams noticed an issue with the vehicle’s fingering system, which prevented the rocket from being filled with superchild oxygen, a major factor. The countdown was stopped and the launch was postponed again.
The most recent delay came from the mother’s nature Tropical storm conditions, Which intensified in the form of a hurricane on Monday (November 9) and threatened to bring rain and winds to Florida as the hurricane cut across the state. Fortunately, Eta was short-lived, which allowed the weather to improve dramatically in the Cape on Friday.
Weather forecasters forecast 90% of favorable weather conditions at the lift off Friday night, with the only cause for concern being cumulus clouds.
Today’s launch marks the 29th mission for the NRO and the 17th such mission launched on the Atlas V (the remaining 12 launches on the company’s Delta IV rocket.) Indicates flight 2002.
The NRO uses these “sky eyes” to provide Earth’s optical and radar images from space, as well as to send and intercept secure communications to various intelligence agencies.
As is common with this type of mission, the NRO did not disclose many details about this launch or its payload. However, warning notices issued to pilots and boats and a Mission profile animation The ULA suggests that the rocket is flying on a northeastern track that will eventually place it in a high-tilt link with the regular view of the northern golisfire.
The ULA has another official payload sitting on a nearby pad. A Delta IV heavy will hover the NROL-44 payroll in this year’s cycle. The mission, which was made due to hardware issues on the pad, was originally scheduled to be launched in August, but has been done. Postponed indefinitely.
Related: The Pentagon has selected SpaceX, the ULA, to launch national security missions
The two-stage Atlas also came to the pad from a nearby integration facility on Thursday (November 12) afternoon for its fourth start attempt. Once in place, the crew began preparing the rocket for its flight.
The Atlas V is ignited with a mixture of liquid oxygen and RP-1, an improved form of kerosene used for space lighting, and in its upper phase liquid hydrogen, which was loaded into the rocket on Friday afternoon. The vehicle flew in three “531” configurations, representing the first NRO mission to use the form, with three powerful rocket motors, the “171-foot (5.4 m) diameter payload.”
This is the fourth time overall an Atlas V531 has been configured, and the first mission to use newly upgraded solid rocket motors. The last three flights of this version have each carried an Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) communications satellite for the U.S. military.
In the photos: Atlas V launches AEHF-6 military satellite for US space force
The rocket’s strap-on booster, called GEM 63, is manufactured by North Grumman And were designed to replace previous models made by Aerojet Rocketdin. Each 66-foot-long (20-meter) rocket motor packs an extra 373,800 pounds. According to the ULA, GEM 63 is easier to manage and costs less than previous duplicates.
Once the ULA Vulcan Center The rocket is flying, it will be powered by the beefer version of the solid rocket motors, called GEM 63XL. By testing a smaller version on the Atlas V, the rocket maker plans to thoroughly test GEM’s capabilities before landing on a Vulcan.
Preliminary preparations for the NRL-101 began a few months ago on September 11, when teams began stacking the Atlas V rocket inside the pad-attached integration facility. The ULA teams started by hoisting the first stage at the top of the Atlas mobile launch platform, then adding a trio of solid rocket motors and finally the upper stage. Salary was established on 26 October.
Earlier this week, earlier this week, the planned double header was the first SpaceX is preparing to launch its next crew mission on the International Space Station. On Saturday evening (November 14), a Falcon 9 rocket from Pell 39A was about to explode at the Kennedy Space Center in Naka, in which it carried a four-passenger spacecraft.
If all goes according to plan, Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker, Victor Glover and Sochi Noguchi of Japan will board the 8.5-hour flight to the ISS. The crew will stay at the station for six months, launching the first long-term mission to launch from Florida. Lift 7:49 a.m. EST (0049 GMT on November 15) and scheduled for launch It will be broadcast live on Space.com.
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