A new NOAA weather satellite destined to track cyclones, wildfires, and solar flares from a perch high above the Western United States and Pacific Ocean is set for liftoff Tuesday from Cape Canaveral on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. The GOES-T satellite will launch with modifications to its main imaging camera, changes designed to avoid a minor cooling system problem that afflicted NOAA’s previous geostationary weather monitor sent into space four years ago.
Kathy Lueders, head of NASA’s human spaceflight operations division, said Monday that joint activities on the International Space Station are continuing amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, including preparations for the return of NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei to Earth on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft March 30.
Rocket Lab’s first launch of 2022 was also the first flight to use the company’s second launch pad in New Zealand, located just north of the existing pad at the privately-owned spaceport. Launch of Rocket Lab’s Electron booster occurred at 3:37 p.m. EST (2037 GMT) Monday, hauling a small Japanese radar observation satellite into orbit.
Blaming European sanctions enacted after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Russian space agency said Saturday it is recalling dozens of engineers and technicians from French Guiana and suspending Soyuz rocket operations there, grounding a pair of European navigation satellites previously set for launch in early April.
United Launch Alliance said Friday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will have no impact on the company’s Atlas 5 rocket program, which has 25 missions left to fly with Russian-made main engines before retirement. The launch provider said it has all the Russian engines it needs before transitioning to a replacement rocket.