A $1.1 billion science investigation involving four formation-flying satellites circling the Earth will share a single Atlas 5 rocket launch Thursday night from Cape Canaveral to probe explosions in the magnetic field with millisecond speed.
The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket and NASA’s four MMS satellite probes passed their Flight Readiness Review on Friday that assessed the progress of work and affirmed plans to launch next Thursday night.
NASA’s four Magnetospheric Multiscale mission spacecraft were encapsulated Feb. 23 in the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket’s nose cone at the commercial Astrotech processing campus in Titusville. Delivery of the payload to the Atlas 5 assembly building for mating occurred on Friday, Feb. 27.
A groundbreaking Friday ceremonially commenced construction of an astronaut access tower at United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 launch pad in Florida, a 200-foot-tall gantry that will add to the future of U.S. human spaceflight.
The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket that will hurl the four MMS satellites into a highly elliptical Earth orbit on March 12 has completed its basic build up at Cape Canaveral’s Complex 41 Vertical Integration Facility.
“We had a terrific ride into space aboard the United Launch Alliance’s Delta 2 vehicle. They deposited us exactly where we wanted to be with with accuracy and precision,” said Kent Kellogg, NASA’s SMAP project manager.