CAP CANAVERAL, Fla .– United Launch Alliance (ULA) canceled an Atlas V rocket launch today (May 17), due to an issue with the rocket’s liquid oxygen system.
ULA is aiming for its rescue attempt scheduled for Tuesday afternoon (May 18), with liftoff now scheduled for 13:31 EDT (1731 GMT).
The double-decker rocket was scheduled to take off from Space Launch Complex 41 here at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 1:42 p.m. EDT (5:42 p.m. GMT) on Monday, May 17. Its payload: an anti-missile warning satellite for the US Space Force.
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Designated Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Flight 5 Space Infrared System (SBIRS Geo-5), the mission is ULA’s first launch in 2021. However, the company was forced to postpone the launch for 24 hours due to systems with ground systems. on the launch pad.
The official scrub came after launch officials set the T-0 back seven minutes as part of a collision avoidance maneuver. These types of maneuvers are performed to avoid any potential collision with an object already in space. (ULA officials did not specify which object they were trying to avoid.)
Shortly after this delay, the crews detected an anomaly during the liquid oxygen cooling operations of the upper stage. Engineers were dispatched to the launch pad, but were unable to resolve the issue with its launch during the scheduled 40-minute launch window on Monday.
The launch of a #AtlasV ULA carrying the #SBIRS GEO Flight 5 mission for the @SpaceForceDOD @USSF_SMC has been cleaned up. During Centaur Liquid Oxygen Cooling (LOX) operations, the team identified an abnormal system response that could not be resolved within the launch window.May 17, 2021
The SBIRS Geo-5 satellite was built by Lockheed Martin for $ 1 billion and, according to military officials, can detect and track plumes emanating from missile launches around the world using infrared sensors. Its capabilities will allow U.S. and allied forces to prepare for any impending attack, officials said.
The satellite is encased in a 13.12-foot (4-meter) diameter payload shroud, emblazoned with the mission logo – a red and blue emblem of an eagle holding a missile in its talons with Earth in the background .
This mission marks the fifth SBIRS satellite to be launched, with another to complete the constellation planned by the military.
Meteorologists predicted a 90% chance of favorable conditions for SBIRS Geo-5 takeoff on Monday afternoon, with the only cause for concern being cumulus clouds. The weather for Tuesday’s attempted launch is deteriorating slightly, with an 80% chance of good weather.
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