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Orbital L1011 to launch Pegasus rocket with 8 NASA satellites

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posted on Dec, 11 2016 @ 06:02 PM
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NASA is planning on launching a Pegasus rocket, carrying 8 satellites to study storms tomorrow morning. The difference in this launch is that the rocket will be air launched from the Orbital ATK L1011. The aircraft carries the rocket on the centerline station below the fuselage. It climbs to approximately 39,000 feet over the Atlantic, where the launch area is. It will release the rocket, which will then climb towards orbit and release the satellites, two at a time. They will operate in pairs to study the winds in the center of hurricanes.

There's a 60% chance of launching tomorrow. Weather in the area isn't good, so they may have to delay until Tuesday. The current plan is that the L1011 will taxi at 7:11AM EST, with takeoff at 7:26AM. The launch window opens at 8:19, with the rocket release set for 8:24AM.

The aircraft normally sits at the Mohave Air and Space Port in California but is currently in Florida at the Cape, preparing for the launch. NASA will cover the launch starting at 6:45AM.


Tomorrow, NASA will attempt to launch eight small satellites to space on board a Pegasus XL rocket, manufactured by private spaceflight company Orbital ATK. Called the CYGNSS mission, the probes are meant to study various aspects of tropical storms and hurricanes from orbit, in order to help scientists better understand how these cyclones form. But launching these satellites into orbit won’t look like your typical trip to space, where a rocket takes off vertically from a launch pad on the ground. Instead, this launch will take place in the air.

That’s because the Pegasus XL rocket launches after being dropped from the belly of an airplane. First, Orbital’s Stargazer L-1011 aircraft will take off from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida and carry the rocket to a target drop zone over the Atlantic Ocean, an area that sits at an altitude of 39,000 feet. There, the Pegasus is released and ignites its main rocket motor about five seconds later. The vehicle will then ignite two additional motors over the course of the flight to get to the right altitude and orientation for the eight spacecraft to deploy properly into lower Earth orbit.

www.theverge.com...




posted on Dec, 12 2016 @ 08:32 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Scrubbed for today. I think they are shooting for the next window at 8:24am EST tomorrow the 13th. If anybody is interested, you can watch live on NASA TV and track the Orbital Sciences L-1011 on Flightradar24.com...



posted on Dec, 15 2016 @ 01:41 PM
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They have successfully made contact with at least five of the 8 satellites so far.



posted on Dec, 16 2016 @ 06:21 PM
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Have they checked Mars for other 3?



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