Monthly Archives April 2018

Rarely Used Heavyweight Atlas V Delivers Military AFSPC-11 Payload

Pummeling the ground with an estimated 2.5 million pounds (1.1 million kg) of thrust, the largest and most powerful member of United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V fleet roared aloft earlier tonight (Saturday, 14 April), to deliver a multi-purpose payload into orbit on behalf of the U.S. Air Force Space Command. Liftoff of the Atlas V 551—equipped with a 17-foot-wide (5-meter) payload fairing, five strap-on solid-fueled rockets and a single-engine Centaur upper stage—occurred from Space Launch Complex (SLC)-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., at 7:13 p.m. EDT, right on the opening of tonight’s two-hour “window”...

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Falcon 9 Underway for SpaceX CRS-14

A Falcon 9 rocket is being loaded with propellants in preparation for liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40, to boost a SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station. Liftoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. EDT, for its 14th commercial resupply services mission to the space station.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 is 230 feet-tall and has two-stages topped by the company’s unpiloted Dragon spacecraft. The rocket’s first stage is powered by nine Merlin engines that ignite at T-0. Its second stage has a single Merlin engine that takes over after separation of the first stage. The engines run on a combination of super-cold liquid oxygen and the fuel, RP-1 — highly refined kerosene.

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