SpaceShipTwo Glides, SpaceX Scrubs, Delta IV & 3 Other Launches Pending

SpaceShipTwo Unity on the runway after its seventh glide flight. (Credit; Virgin Galactic)

A busy day in space, so let’s get right to it:

SpaceShipTwo Flies: Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Unity performed its seven glide flight this morning in Mojave. The flight appeared to go as planned based on what I could see from the ground and Virgin Galactic’s tweets; the space plane landed and rolled to a stop on runway 30. The pilots were Mark Stucky and Michael Masucci.

This is the seventh glide flight for Unity and the 37th glide test for the SpaceShipTwo program. Its predecessor, Enterprise, flew 30 glide and three powered flights before it broke up during its fourth powered flight on Oct. 31, 2014.

Virgin Galactic officials have said today’s test should be the final glide flight for Unity. If all went well, the next test will be powered.

UPDATE: Virgin Galactic has posted a description of today’s flight here.

SpaceX Scrubs: SpaceX scrubbed a static fire of the Falcon Heavy booster for the second time in as many days at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The company planned a 12- to 15-second firing of the 27 first stage engines of the heavy-lift rocket. No reason has been given for the scrub. Reports indicate that a third attempt is set for Friday. If the same schedule is maintained, the six-hour test window will open at 1 p.m. EST.

Delta IV Launch Set: United Launch Alliance is planning to launch a Delta IV booster with the NROL 47 reconnaissance satellite from Vandenberg this afternoon. The original launch time was set for 1 p.m. PST, but ULA says it is working a technical issue that will delay the launch until later. No new time as been set yet. The launch was scrubbed on Wednesday due to high winds.

Webcast available at  www.ulalaunch.com and  www.youtube.com/unitedlaunchalliance

UPDATE: Liftoff is now planned for 1:55 p.m. PST. Webcast commentary will start at 1:30 p.m. PST.
UPDATE 2: Liftoff now at 2:05 p.m. PST.

Chinese & Indian Launches Scheduled: A Chinese Long March 3B rocket will launch two Beidou navigation satellites at approximately 2300 GMT (6 p.m. EST) today. The flight will be conducted from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

India’s PSLV booster will launch the Cartosat 2F remote sensing satellite from Satish Dhawan Space Center on Friday at 0358 GMT (10:58 p.m. EST on Thursday, Jan. 11). It will be the first PSLV launch since August when a failure of the payload shroud to separate doomed an IRNSS-1H navigation satellite to a fiery destruction.

A Long March 2D rocket is set to launch an unidentified satellite from Jiuquan on Saturday at approximately 0710 GMT (2:10 a.m. EST). This will be China’s third launch of the new year.

Another Week, Another Successful Launch for ULA

Launch of Atlas V with NROL-33 satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on May 22, 2014. (Credit: ULA)
Launch of Atlas V with NROL-33 satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on May 22, 2014. (Credit: ULA)

United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches Four Missions in Just Seven Weeks

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., May 22, 2014 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 on May 22 at 9:09 a.m. EDT. Designated NROL-33, the mission is in support of national defense.

“Congratulations to all of our mission partners on today’s successful launch of the NROL-33 mission! The ULA team is honored to deliver another critical national security asset to orbit together with the NRO Office of Space Launch and the Air Force,” said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs. “Today’s launch occurred six days after last week’s GPS IIF-6 launch – the second time this year that this team has launched back-to-back missions within a week. Successfully launching at this tempo is a testament to the team’s focus on mission success, one-launch-at-a-time, and continuous improvement of our launch processes.”

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Forecast Looks Good for Atlas V Launch

Atlas V rolled out at Cape Canaveral. (Credit: United Launch Alliance)
Atlas V rolled out at Cape Canaveral. (Credit: United Launch Alliance)

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. (April 9, 2014) — A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rolls out to Space Launch Complex-41 with a National Reconnaissance Office payload. Launch is set for Thursday, April 10 at 1:45 p.m. EDT. Designated NROL-67, the mission is in support of national defense.

Today’s forecast continues to show a 90 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for launch.

LAUNCH TIME – 1:45 P.M. EDT

Weather Forecast

Overall probability of violating weather constraints:
10%
Primary concern(s): Thick Clouds

Overall probability of violating weather constraints for 24 hour delay: 20%
Primary concern(s): Thick Clouds and Cumulus Clouds

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