For the fifth time in four years, a massive U.S. Navy satellite will launch atop an Atlas 5 rocket on Friday to finish the military’s new $7.7 billion mobile communications framework 22,300 miles in space.
Air Force meteorologists are giving good odds of acceptable weather conditions for the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket to fly Friday morning from Cape Canaveral to put a Navy mobile communications satellite into orbit.
United Launch Alliance has granted “flight clearance” for its workhorse Atlas 5 rocket to resume satellite deployments after linking an errant valve with the fuel usage crunch on its most recent mission and tweaking subsequent vehicles.
The U.S. Navy’s Mobile User Objective System communications satellite No. 5 was encapsulated in the payload fairing at Astrotech on June 4 and then hoisted atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket at Complex 41 on June 13.
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx, the spacecraft that will grab a piece of Asteroid Bennu and return it to Earth, shipped to Kennedy Space Center from the Lockheed Martin production facilities in Denver on May 20 aboard an Air Force C-17.
With the performance hit on the Atlas 5 rocket’s most recent flight last month now isolated to a faulty valve, preparations to resume the manifest are underway as United Launch Alliance workers stack the next booster for blastoff this summer.