United Launch Alliance teams at Cape Canaveral launched an Atlas 5 rocket at 6:13 a.m. EDT (1013 GMT) Thursday with the U.S. Air Force’s fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications satellite. The AEHF 5 satellite will join a network of geostationary relay stations providing secure, jam-resistant video, voice and data links for the U.S. military.
United Launch Alliance is pushing back its next Atlas 5 launch from Cape Canaveral until no earlier than Aug. 8, allowing time for engineers to ensure an unspecified anomaly during component testing at a supplier will have no impact on the Atlas 5’s mission to place a U.S. Air Force communications satellite into orbit.
Boeing has reshuffled a sequence of test flights planned for the company’s CST-100 Starliner capsule after stuck valves inside a test version of the ship’s service module caused a fuel spill in June, delaying the commercial spacecraft’s first unpiloted orbital demo mission until late this year or early 2019, and moving back the first crew launch to mid-2019, a company official said Wednesday.
Sierra Nevada and United Launch Alliance have announced the most powerful version of the Atlas 5 rocket, with five strap-on boosters and a twin-engine upper stage, will send the first two Dream Chaser cargo missions to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral in 2020 and 2021, a schedule that still must be confirmed by NASA.
A full-scale BE-4 engine developed by Blue Origin, the space company founded by Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos, is installed on a test stand in West Texas for a series of hotfire tests that United Launch Alliance will closely examine before settling on the reusable methane-fueled engine for its new-generation Vulcan rocket.