Up to 24 launches are planned from Cape Canaveral in 2015, thanks to jam-packed manifests for SpaceX and United Launch Alliance to send up satellites for the U.S. military, NASA and commercial telecom operators.
Navigation satellites, communications spacecraft, classified missions, NASA science projects and the Orbital Sciences Cygnus cargo ship destined for the International Space Station are on the United Launch Alliance manifest for the new year.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket put on a display of power, sound and light Friday evening at Vandenberg Air Force Base in launching a clandestine national security payload, then successfully debuted a new upper stage engine as it flew over the horizon.
The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket unleashed two million pounds of thrust at 7:19 p.m. PST (10:19 p.m. EST) on Dec. 12 to blast off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on the NROL-35 mission. See photos of the launch from the press viewing site.
Orbital Sciences Corp. announced Tuesday it selected United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rocket to launch a Cygnus space station resupply mission in late 2015 while the company redesigns its Antares booster with a new engine following a catastrophic failure seconds after liftoff in October.