Views from an airliner, close-up high-speed launch pad cameras, and photographers around the Guiana Space Center in the jungle of South America show the twilight launch of a European Ariane 5 rocket Saturday with three commercial satellites heading for orbits more than 22,000 miles over the equator.
An Ariane 5 rocket delivered a robotic space tug and a pair of commercial communications satellites into orbit Saturday following a fiery blastoff from French Guiana, debuting new upgrades in Arianespace’s first mission since temporarily suspending launch operations earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Two weeks after a sensor problem forced a delay, an Ariane 5 rocket blasted off at 6:04 p.m. EDT (2204 GMT) Saturday from French Guiana with two commercial communications satellites to cover the United States and Japan, and a Northrop Grumman-built robotic satellite servicing mission designed to link up with another spacecraft in geostationary orbit.
The first operational flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft with four astronauts aboard is set to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida no earlier than Oct. 23, following a formal certification review to assess data from the Crew Dragon’s two-man test flight that concluded earlier this month, NASA said Friday.
One of the final pieces for the first test flight of NASA’s huge Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket recently arrived at the Kennedy Space Center, joining other elements already at the Florida spaceport awaiting shipment of the SLS core stage once it completes testing at a NASA facility in Mississippi.
Loaded with three commercial satellites, a European Ariane 5 rocket returned to its launch pad in French Guiana Thursday after a two-week launch delay to resolve a technical issue that forced an abort to a countdown July 31. Arianespace says the mission has been rescheduled for launch Saturday due to unfavorable upper level winds in the forecast for Friday.
Fresh off a 64-day test flight to the International Space Station with astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, SpaceX’s first human-rated Crew Dragon spaceship is back at Cape Canaveral for inspections, refurbishment and upgrades before flying to the station again with a four-person crew next spring.