A critical test-firing of the Space Launch System’s core stage engines cut off about a minute into a planned eight-minute burn Saturday on a test stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The rocket’s four engines ignited at 5:27 p.m. EST (2227 GMT) for a test that was to pave the way for the core stage’s shipment to the Kennedy Space Center for launch preparations.
Rocket Lab scrubbed a launch attempt Saturday for its first mission of 2021 to review sensor data. Officials did not immediately set a new target launch date. The company’s light-class Electron rocket is set for launch from New Zealand with a small clandestine satellite for OHB, a German aerospace company.
For its first mission of the year, SpaceX launched the Airbus-built Turksat 5A communications satellite to cover Turkey, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa with data relay and television broadcast services. A Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 9:15 p.m. EST Thursday (0215 GMT Friday).
A French military spy satellite lifted off Tuesday atop a Soyuz rocket from French Guiana. Launch of Arianespace’s final mission of 2020 occurred at 11:42 a.m. EST (1642 GMT). Officials called off a launch attempt Monday because of unfavorable high-altitude winds over the spaceport in South America.
SpaceX’s final Falcon 9 launch of the year carried a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, the U.S. government’s spy satellite agency. SpaceX aborted a launch attempt Thursday morning to assess a second stage sensor reading, but the Falcon 9 successfully lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT) Saturday. The rocket’s stage landed back at Cape Canaveral eight minutes later.