Atlas 5 successfully puts NOAA weather satellite in orbit

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ULA’s Atlas 5 rocket today successfully placed a NOAA weather satellite in orbit.

The leaders in the 2018 launch standings:

7 China
4 SpaceX
3 Japan
2 Russia



  • Kirk

    Congrats ULA, NOAA, & NASA.

    Next US launch should be Hispasat on a Falcon 9 from the Cape. They were set to launch last weekend, but let it slip a few days to further check out the fairing. When they were finally confidant and ready to go they requested a 00:35 launch for last night / early Thursday morning, but were turned down. I understand that while the range would like to demonstrate their improved abilities to support two launches within 24 hours, it may have been pressure from ULA which led to the denial, as they were concerned about the effect a Falcon 9 early flight anomaly might have on their Atlas V waiting on the pad. (Sounds reasonable.)

    So you’d assume the Hispasat mission would launch soon, but no word yet on a new range date, and there are reports that the SpaceX navy is returning to Port Canaveral, so this suggests we are several days away. Recall since Hispasat weighs more than any other payload to GTO where the first stage was recovered, many observers expected this booster to be expended. But it was seen to be outfitted with legs and titanium grid fins for the static fire, and the ASDS OCISLY was towed out of Port Canaveral last Wednesday, so they appear to be attempting an experimental, extreme recovery for this mission.

  • Kirk

    Hispasat launch is now scheduled for early morning Tuesday 2018-03-06 at 00:33 EST. SpaceX Atlantic fleet remains in Port Canaveral. It will be interesting to see if they get underway into the heavy seas, or if they will remove the Ti grid fins from this booster and expend it.

  • Kirk

    Falcon 9 / Hispasat will launch from the Cape tonight after midnight, at 00:34 EST. F9 with payload is vertical on pad 40, with legs and titanium grid fins still in place. SpaceX Atlantic fleet is still in Port, with seas too rough from Winter Storm Riley to attempt an ASDS landing tonight. I suppose there still might be time to take the F9 horizontal and remove those pricey Ti grid fins. The conventional wisdom is that they are too expensive to waste on tests without a chance at recovery, but perhaps will do so.

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