(Image credit ranking: Amy Thompson)
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s most smartly-liked asteroid probe, named Lucy, rolled out of to the starting up pad this day (Oct. 14) sooner than its planned Saturday morning liftoff.
Correct after 10: 30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT), the Atlas V rocket constructed by the United Open Alliance (ULA) began its 1,800-foot (550 meters) lumber from its vertical integration facility, where it turned into once stacked, to the starting up pad at Space Open Complex 41. The rollout took approximately an hour, and left the 188-foot-astronomical (57.3 m) rocket perched atop its pad till delivery day. Built by Lockheed Martin, the 3,300-pound (1,500 kilograms) Lucy spacecraft is determined for delivery on Saturday (Oct. 16), which is the main opportunity in a planned 23-day delivery period that will kick off the spacecraft’s 12-yr tear via the characterize voltaic procedure.
Lucy will fly by an complete of eight pretty a number of asteroids (seven Trojans, that are located sooner than and in the lend a hand of Jupiter in its orbit, and one main belt) in roar to lend a hand scientists better realize how the characterize voltaic procedure progressed. Researchers deem that the Trojans are completely preserved cosmic time capsules and hope that discovering out them can also shed more light on how the extensive planets formed.
On delivery day, Lucy will fill a 75-minute delivery window that opens at 5: 34 a.m. EDT (0934 GMT). It would proceed to space atop one of ULA’s most classic Atlas V rockets, the 401, which relies on a single-engine Centaur greater stage and doesn’t utilize stable rocket boosters.
Lucy’s rocket turned into once in the foundation intended to ferry Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule on an uncrewed take a look at flight to the Global Space Predicament, but after groups learned a valve disclose in the capsule’s propulsion procedure, groups had been forced to send the craft lend a hand to the factory to troubleshoot the disclose; that flight is now expected to delivery out in 2022.
So the rocket turned into once reassigned to Lucy. In roar to toughen that mission, groups at ULA had to purchase away the rocket’s twin-engine Centaur greater stage as properly because the strap-on stable rocket boosters that had been designed to propel the Starliner capsule into space. A clear Centaur greater stage with a single RL10 engine turned into once attach in on the rocket’s first stage sooner than the spacecraft’s integration.
“It turned into once downhearted that OFT-2 had its malfunctioning valve problems procedure leisurely in the sport,” Omar Baez, delivery director for Lucy at NASA’s Open Providers Program at Kennedy Space Heart stated at some level of a prelaunch data conference on Sept. 28. “And fortuitously, we had been able to purchase lemons and originate lemonade out of it.”
This mission will imprint the 89th delivery of an Atlas V rocket and the 100th mission to fly from ULA’s pad (SLC-41) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Predicament. Currently, climate officers on the 45th Space Delta predict a 90% chance of favorable stipulations for delivery, with the ideal purpose for disclose being the ability for cumulus clouds.
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