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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Nw: First-see weather forecast favorable for open of Lucy asteroid mission Saturday

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This illustration from United Open Alliance reveals the Atlas 5 rocket that can open the Lucy mission, and an artist’s notion of the Lucy spacecraft visiting the Trojan asteroids. Credit ranking: United Open Alliance

NASA and United Open Alliance officials met Wednesday and cleared an Atlas 5 rocket for open from Cape Canaveral sooner than spoil of day Saturday with the Lucy asteroid mission, a robotic spacecraft to search recommendation from unexplored asteroids in the outer list voltaic device.

)Managers gave a “lunge” to continue rocket preparations at some stage in an open readiness review Wednesday, giving a inexperienced gentle for teams to press on with rollout of the 188-foot-substantial (57.3-meter) Atlas 5 rocket to its open pad Thursday morning.

The rocket will construct the 1,800-foot (550-meter) glide from ULA’s Vertical Integration Facility to the Complex 41 open pad Thursday at 10 am EDT (1400 GMT) to commence up remaining pre-flight preparations.

The Atlas 5 will construct the time out on prime of a cell open platform pushed by locomotives along rail tracks lea ding to the open pad. The transfer must buy lower than an hour to complete.

As soon as the rocket and its cell platform are at pad 41, teams will join auto -couplers to feed cryogenic propellant into the Atlas 5 at some stage in the countdown Saturday morning.

The 75-minute open window for the Lucy mission opens at 5:34 am EDT (0934 GMT). ULA has open opportunities on hand at five minute intervals true by the window, every with a moderately about a trajectory the use of the Atlas 5’s yaw guidance ability to deploy the Lucy spacecraft on the real direction into the list voltaic device.

“We see forward to an shapely open Saturday,” acknowledged Omar Baez, NASA’s open director for the Lucy mission.

The weather forecast appears to be like favorable for liftoff Saturday, with a 90% chance of acceptable instances for the Atlas 5 to blast off from Cape Canaveral Map Power Map. “We can gape a pleasant role over the full Southeast US that’s mainly cloud free, and that’s which capacity that of high stress dominating the role,” acknowledged Jessica Williams, open weather officer from the US Map Power’s 45th Weather Squadron. “That role of high stress will if truth be told glide southward resplendent over Central Florida for Saturday morning, giving us a shapely morning for open.” )The weather team predicts mostly positive skies Saturday morning, with gentle westerly winds, and a temperature between 74 and 76 levels Fahrenheit. The good shrimp weather remark is a minute chance of a violation of the cumulus cloud rule. A frosty front is anticipated to lunge by Central Florida on Sunday, bringing more clouds, moisture, and stronger winds to the role. There’s a 50% chance of acceptable weather for liftoff Sunday morning, when the open window opens one more time at 5:34 am EDT. The The $981 million Lucy asteroid mission has a 23-day open window to lunge away Earth this year. If the mission isn’t off the floor by Nov. 7, NASA has a backup open period on hand subsequent October for Lucy to buy off and soundless search recommendation from its eight asteroid targets. ”We ‘ve had the alternative to companion with NASA and open spacecraft to search out all of the planets of the list voltaic device,” acknowledged John Elbon, ULA’s chief working officer. “It if truth be told gets the team excited to be a bit of this. It’s an immense deal. Interplanetary missions are in particular no longer easy which capacity that of the open windows are short.” In some unspecified time in the future of its 12 -year mission, Lucy will hover by eight asteroids, including seven objects positioned in the so-known as Trojan swarms earlier than and in the support of Jupiter in its orbit all over the solar. The Trojan asteroid flybys will commence up in 2027 and pause in 2033.

Scientists consider the Trojan asteroids are leftover building blocks from the formation of the gigantic planets in the outer list voltaic device. Discovering out more about the Trojan asteroids, which have by no formula been visited sooner than, could maybe well present insights into the list voltaic device’s evolution.

)Ground crews mounted the three,300-pound (1,500-kilogram) Lucy spacecraft on prime of ULA’s Atlas 5 rocket Oct. 7. Since then, teams performed a built-in methods test to check electrical connections between the Lucy spacecraft and the Atlas 5 launcher. NASA and ULA participated in a mission costume rehearsal Tuesday, atmosphere the stage for the open readiness review Wednesday, and rollout to the open pad Thursday. The open The team will procure a rest day for most of Friday sooner than reporting to the regulate heart for the commence up of the countdown at 10:14 pm EDT (0214 GMT Saturday).

ULA and swap on the Atlas 5 rocket’s computer methods and complete preliminary checkouts sooner than initiating the burden of cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into the foremost stage and Centaur higher stage.

The hydrogen and oxygen will feed the Centaur higher stage’s RL10 engine for 2 burns at some stage in Lucy’s open. The two firings will first attach the Lucy spacecraft into orbit round Earth, then add tempo for Lucy to flee the planet’s gravitational salvage and head into the list voltaic device.

The Atlas 5’s Russian-made RD-180 first stage engine will expend liquid oxygen along with kerosene gas. The kerosene gas, which is saved at room temperature, became loaded into the foremost stage at some stage in a countdown rehearsal earlier this month.

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Apply Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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