Vandenberg CA: United Launch Alliance will launch a rocket
The final Atlas V rocket launch from the West Coast will now be aimed for Nov. 10 after its departure was delayed last week, mission officials confirmed Thursday.
Plans for the Nov. 1 takeoff were scrapped due to a battery issue, ULA officials said Saturday.
“A faulty battery on the Centaur upper stage of the Atlas V rocket delayed the launch. Technicians have activated a replacement and will swap and retest the battery, clearing the way for launch,” Nasa officials said Thursday.
At the time, officials said the launch would not take place until November 8.
The Nov. 10 launch time has been moved forward 60 minutes due to the change to daylight saving time over the weekend, with clocks moving back one hour on Sunday.
Rocket launch times are established based on where a satellite is to be placed in space.
The two satellites awaiting their journey into space remain in good health, NASA said Thursday.
Atlas will deliver the next in the series of weather satellites, the Joint Polar Satellite System or JPSS-2 for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
It is the third in a series of five new weather satellites designed to provide critical data for forecasts well into the 2030s.
Once in orbit, the machine will be called NOAA-21.
The Low Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator, or LOFTID, will also hitchhike.
The inflatable heat shield will aim to demonstrate atmospheric entry and re-entry technology with possible future use for crewed and large-scale robotic missions to destinations such as Mars, Venus, Titan, as well as the return of payloads more heavy on Earth, according to NASA.
While JPSS will operate for years, LOFTID’s mission will be completed within hours of launch.
LOFTID, about 20 feet in diameter, is expected to crash about 500 miles off the coast of Hawaii, where a shipboard crew hopes to recover it. In addition to analyzing the structure, they will also examine data from the flight.
NASA and ULA dedicated the LOFTID mission to Bernard Kutter, head of advanced programs at ULA, who died in August 2020. Kutter advocated for access to space at lower cost and to technologies that could make it a reality.