January 21, 2022

Beyond Going Long

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SpaceX’s competitor is reaching incredible numbers, but today’s journey marks its full end

One of Musk’s competitors, SpaceX, United Launch Allianca, is about to launch an important satellite into space today.

The rocket will break many records and reach the long-awaited milestones, informuje every day an astronaut. But at the same time, it heralds the end of the Atlas V missiles. What will happen next?

The 300th historical beginning of the fifth Atlas

This is the 300th launch of the Atlas rocket from Vandenberg, while the rocket will be launched at 20:11 our time and the whole process will be enabled by the ULA Watch it live. Atlas V in configuration 401 will launch the Landsat 9 satellite into a sun-synchronous orbit.

Sun-synchronous orbit is the one in which the satellite is always above a certain region at the same local time – its orbit is sun-synchronous, so it is called solar synchrony.

An Atlas V missile before the GPS IIF-12 mission. Source: ULA / LFlickr

The 401 configuration of the missile means that the aerodynamic payload cover has a diameter of 4 meters, does not contain additional solid-fuel rocket engines, and the second stage, known as the Centaur, has only one engine.

In this configuration, it can carry 9,797 kg into low Earth orbit with a starting price of $109 million. The most powerful version flown so far is the 551, which will carry 18.814 kg, which is It can be compared to the Falcon 9, but three times the price – 153 million dollars.

Other landmarks and the end of the Atlas

Another important milestone that Vandenberg Space Station must reach on this journey is the 2,000th launch of any rocket. The base has been operating since 1941, and the first of them began in the 1960s.

In addition, today’s launch is also the 20th mission of the Atlas rocket under the NASA LSP (Launch Service Provider) program, in which private companies export satellites and satellites into space, the task of which is to observe the Earth, visit other planets, and so on. employment, NASA explains.

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At the same time, after hundreds of successful flights, the Atlas missile is preparing for the well-deserved rest. It will be replaced in service by a brand new Vulcan missileprepared by ULA and, thanks to a number of innovations, should be more competitive and partially reusable, reach UL.

Landsat 9 satellite.

The Landsat project is the longest-running project on satellite images of the Earth, while the Landsat 9 satellite is equipped with observational instruments similar to its predecessor. But it has been aptly improved with expanded capabilities.

NASA/Orbital Attack

Landsat 9 will create about 750 sets of photos per day, which will then be combined with photos from its predecessor Landsat 8. In total, there are 1,500 photo sets per day that anyone can download. through USGS.