A top secret cargo for the U.S. government’s spy satellite agency soared into orbit from Cape Canaveral at the tip of a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket Friday night, successfully debuting a new solid-fueled booster design that ULA says are cheaper and easier to handle than previous strap-on motors.
Originally expected to take off Saturday, the launch of SpaceX’s first operational Crew Dragon mission was delayed to Sunday because of expected high winds at the Kennedy Space Center and weather off-shore where the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage will attempt to land on a SpaceX droneship. The company plans to re-use the booster for the next Crew Dragon flight.
United Launch Alliance called off the planned launch of an Atlas 5 rocket Wednesday at Cape Canaveral to resolve a problem with valves at the launch pad, while a SpaceX team a mile-and-a-half to the south readied a Falcon 9 rocket for liftoff Thursday evening with a GPS navigation satellite for the U.S. military.
Ready for blastoff just after sunset Wednesday with a classified payload for the U.S. government’s spy satellite agency, a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket rolled out to its launch pad at Cape Canaveral late Tuesday afternoon after an unplanned trip back inside its integration building for repairs.