The Atlas V rocket blasted off Tuesday evening (October 4) from the Florida space coast, carrying two commercial communications satellites into orbit.
The Atlas VAnd the It topped the spacecraft twin SES-20 and SES-21, which launched Tuesday at 5:36 p.m. EDT (2136 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
The 196-foot (60-meter) missile hit all its tracks early on. It abandoned its three solid rocket boosters about two minutes after takeoff as planned, for example, and discarded the payload streamer, which protected the two satellites during launch, about 1.5 minutes later. The two Atlas V phases separated at about T+4.5 minutes.
Related: Missile History
Let’s relive the boot! #AtlasV #SES20 #SES21 @SES_Satellites pic.twitter.com/uDh70XTCad4 October 2022
But there is still a significant amount of work to be done, as the Centaur rocket’s upper stage still needs to operate itself to the SES-20 and SES-21 deployment destinations – the semi-circular, semi-circular, above-ground geosynchronous orbits.
If all goes according to plan, the SES-20 will be deployed about 5 hours 40 minutes after takeoff, and the SES-21 will follow suit about 40 minutes later. The two spacecraft will then use their onboard propulsion systems to spin their orbits, which will send them into orbit around Earth about 22,300 miles (35,900 kilometers) above the equator, according to ULA . mission description (Opens in a new tab).
Once the satellites are established in those orbits and through their exit period, SES-20 and SES-21 can begin to do what they were set up to do – provide broadcast television service over the United States to the telecoms company SES Luxembourg.
Built by Boeing with thousands of narrow, steerable beams and the ability to isolate sources of interference, the two vehicles provide SES and future customers with the ability to expand, extend, or even change a satellite’s coverage area and mission throughout its life, ULA representatives wrote. in the task description.
They added, “Proven hardware combined with next-generation technology has created an affordable and lightweight spacecraft, enabling two satellites to be launched on a single rocket.”
The launch of Atlas V is part of a busy week of spaceflight. For example, SpaceX plans to release a file Crew Astronauts Mission 5 NASA and another batch from the company starlink Two Internet satellites on separate missions on Wednesday (October 5), as well as two communications satellites for Intelsat on Thursday (October 6).
Three more missions are in the works for Thursday (October 6) as well, including a rocket lab which will be sent into orbit by a satellite built by General Atomics Energy and Technology.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 6:15pm EST on October 4th with news of a successful takeoff.
Mike Wall is the author of “Abroad (Opens in a new tab)Book (Great Grand Publishing House, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book on the search for extraterrestrials. Follow him on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab) or on Facebook (Opens in a new tab).