Arianespace officials have approved the rollout and launch of the final Ariane 5 flight of the year, set to blast off Wednesday from French Guiana to haul Brazilian and Japanese communications stations toward their orbital perches more than 22,000 miles above the equator.
An Epsilon rocket is set to send a Japanese space weather research probe into an orbit stretching more than 20,000 miles above Earth to investigate how the Van Allen radiation belts shrink and swell with variable solar activity.
Japanese engineers aim to launch an upgraded Epsilon booster Tuesday with a satellite to study the origins of powerful geomagnetic storms, phenomena that trigger picturesque polar auroras but could disrupt communications and and damage electric grids.
Four days after a picture-perfect blastoff from southern Japan, a cargo-carrying supply freighter arrived at the International Space Station on Tuesday with 4.5 tons of equipment, food, clothing and experiments.
Trouble with a hydraulic pump needed to release Orbital ATK’s air-launched Pegasus XL rocket from its carrier jet Monday has delayed the deployment of eight NASA hurricane research satellites until at least Wednesday.
Orbital ATK’s Pegasus XL rocket will take about eight minutes to reach orbit with NASA’s eight CYGNSS weather research microsatellites, then comes deployment of the spacecraft more than 300 miles above Earth.
Take a look around the L-1011 jetliner, Pegasus rocket, and ground support gear at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Skid Strip for Monday’s scheduled launch of eight microsatellites to listen for winds inside hurricanes.
Spaceflight Now visited the CYGNSS production facility at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio and the Pegasus XL rocket’s carrier plane at Cape Canaveral for rare looks at hardware that make NASA’s $157 million hurricane research mission possible.
Eight miniature weather observatories, each the size of a piece of carry-on luggage, were installed on a specially-designed deployer module and mounted on the front end of an air-launched Pegasus XL rocket to prepare for Monday’s flight into orbit.