Atlas 5 launches climate satellite tv for pc, expertise demonstration mission
Up to date at 7:50am EST with LOFTID splashdown, launch of the JPSS-2 array.
WASHINGTON – Atlas 5 efficiently launched a polar-orbiting climate satellite tv for pc and a return expertise demonstrator on the automobile’s remaining flight from California.
United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 401 lifted off from Area Launch Advanced 3 at Vandenberg Area Base in California at 4:49 a.m. ET on Nov. 10. An issue with loading liquid oxygen into the Centaur rocket’s higher stage delayed takeoff by 24 minutes, two. – a 3rd of the best way into the 36-minute launch window.
The Centaur higher stage deployed the mission’s essential payload, the Joint Polar Satellite tv for pc System (JPSS) 2 satellite tv for pc, 28 minutes after liftoff, putting it in a sun-synchronous orbit roughly 800 kilometers excessive. The spacecraft made contact with controllers shortly after launch. Nevertheless, NASA reported about three hours after takeoff that that they had but to obtain telemetry that positioned the photo voltaic array as deliberate.
JPSS-2 is the second of 4 deliberate climate satellites within the JPSS program, which supplies climate knowledge for the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. JPSS-1, constructed by Ball Aerospace, launched in 2017 and operates as NOAA-20. An older satellite tv for pc, the Suomi NPP, additionally supplies climate knowledge from polar orbit but is nearing the end of its life as it’s consumed by the engine of the stationary engine.
Northrop Grumman constructed JPSS-2 and has contracts for JPSS-3 and -4, which is able to guarantee continuity of the JPSS program into the 2030s. Steve Crain, Northrop Grumman’s vp of civil and industrial area, stated in an October interview that the corporate is “progressing effectively” within the manufacturing of two future JPSS satellites.
The satellites use the newest model of Northrop’s LEOStar-3 bus. “We have got a brand new avionics bundle, we have got a brand new set of sensors, wheels, star trackers, and so on. that we have utilized to each Landsats.  mission and the JPSS mission,” he stated. “It is a steady modernization of elements and working paradigms.”
The JPSS satellites present vital climate knowledge that enhances the observations of the GOES sequence of satellites in geostationary orbit. “JPSS knowledge is a key enter to U.S. and worldwide international digital climate prediction fashions,” stated Jordan Gert, meteorologist and satellite tv for pc scientist for NOAA’s Nationwide Climate Service throughout a Nov. 8 briefing. “Native high quality with JPSS. The climate forecast for 3 to seven days is superb.”
The secondary launch payload was the Low Orbit Flight Take a look at of the Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID), a expertise demonstration of an inflatable warmth protect. LOFTID separated from Centaur 75 minutes after liftoff, after the higher stage carried out two burns to place it again on the reentry trajectory.
The automobile appeared to carry out as anticipated when it re-entered, deploying a parachute and splashing down within the Pacific Ocean, east of Hawaii, 2 hours and 13 minutes after takeoff. The restoration ship will decide up the spacecraft in addition to a separate knowledge recorder ejected from the LOFTID prior to leap.
LOFTID is designed to test the operation of a six meter wide inflatable retarder, gathering knowledge throughout reentry earlier than falling east of Hawaii. NASA is eager about utilizing the expertise, on a bigger scale, to land future Mars missions which are too massive for present entry, touchdown, and touchdown methods. ULA, which has partnered with NASA via a Area Act settlement with LOFTID, is exploring utilizing the expertise to recuperate engines from its Vulcan rocket.
The launch was the one hundredth mission for NASA’s Launch Companies program, which coordinates NASA science mission launches. That is additionally the ultimate Atlas 5 launch for this system and the ultimate Atlas 5 launch from Vandenberg. ULA will convert the launch pad to be used by Vulcan.