United Launch Alliance teams loaded super-cold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into an Atlas 5 rocket Friday at Cape Canaveral during a countdown dress rehearsal for a planned launch next month with the Solar Orbiter mission, a robotic spacecraft to study the origins of the solar wind and image the sun’s poles for the first time.
United Launch Alliance moved its next Atlas 5 rocket off its Florida launch pad Wednesday for inspections after a cooling duct unexpectedly disconnected before a planned countdown rehearsal to prepare for liftoff next month with the joint U.S.-European Solar Orbiter mission. The roll back to the Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral’s Complex 41 launch pad could delay Solar Orbiter’s liftoff, which was scheduled for Feb. 5
This gallery of photos shows the rollout Tuesday of United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rocket and Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule to pad 41 at Cape Canaveral, plus additional views of the 172-foot-tall launcher standing next to the crew access tower Wednesday as teams prepared for a countdown rehearsal.
United Launch Alliance and Boeing teams worked through the weekend on closeouts of the Starliner crew capsule, inspections and final outfitting of the Atlas 5 rocket. A launch readiness review Tuesday approved the continuation of final preparations for liftoff from Cape Canaveral Friday of the first Starliner spacecraft on an unpiloted test flight to the International Space Station.