Vulcan Soars on its Maiden Flight
Cape Canaveral S.F.S., FL- This morning, January 8, 2024 a United Launch Alliance (U.L.A.) Vulcan / Centaur rocket lit the night sky in a historic liftoff and maiden flight of this rocket from Launch Complex – 41 with the Astrobotic Peregrine One mission and the Celestis Enterprise Flight. Liftoff came at 2:18 AM EST at the very opening of the window. The Peregrine One Lunar Lander is part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) for NASA and is part of a larger program for gathering information from the Moon for future Artemis missions. Astrobotic is aiming for Peregrine to have a Moon landing in late February.
In a statement from United Launch Alliance: “Vulcan’s inaugural launch ushers in a new, innovative capability to meet the ever-growing requirements of space launch,” said Tory Bruno, ULA’s president and CEO. “Vulcan will provide high performance and affordability while continuing to deliver our superior reliability and orbital precision for all our customers across the national security, civil and commercial markets. Vulcan continues the legacy of Atlas as the world’s only high-energy architecture rocket.”
In a statement from NASA: “The first CLPS launch has sent payloads on their way to the Moon – a giant leap for humanity as we prepare to return to the lunar surface for the first time in over half a century,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “These high-risk missions will not only conduct new science at the Moon, but they are supporting a growing commercial space economy while showing the strength of American technology and innovation. We have so much science to learn through CLPS missions that will help us better understand the evolution of our solar system and shape the future of human exploration for the Artemis Generation.”
Also on board the maiden flight of the U.L.A. “Vulcan” rocket was the first Celestis Voyager Memorial Spaceflight called the “Enterprise Flight”. Celestis celebrates and honors the memories and the human spirit thru a variety of Memorial Spaceflights.
Photo Credit: Michael Howard - We Report SpaceIn a continuing statement from United Launch Alliance and Tory Bruno: “As we build on today’s successful launch, the team will continue to work towards our future bi-weekly launch rate to meet our customers’ manifest requirements, while continuing to develop future Vulcan upgrades including SMART reuse plans for downrange, non-propulsive recovery of Vulcan engines,” said Bruno.
In an update given from Astrobotic: "Astrobotic-built avionics systems, including the primary command and data handling unit, as well as the thermal, propulsion and power controllers, all powered on and performed as expected, unfortunately, an anomaly occurred, which prevented Astrobotic from achieving a stable sun-pointing orientation. The team is responding in real time as the situation unfolds and will be providing updates as data is obtained and analyzed."
Image Credit: Michael Howard - We Report Space
The next scheduled launch for United Launch Alliance (U.L.A.) is the crewed flight of the Boeing Starliner capsule on a Atlas V rocket currently slated for April 2024 from Launch Complex 41. Image Credits: Michael Howard, Michael Seeley and Graham Smith - We Report Space
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