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ULA’s first Vulcan rocket returns to assembly building after fueling tests

After completing a tanking test, engineers have now moved ULA s first Vulcan rocket back to the assembly building for some additional work prior to the first wet dress rehearsal countdown and static fire test.

A ULA spokesperson said the company’s engineers “collected excellent data” during the May 12 tanking test, which mimicked a launch countdown with holds, readiness polls, and other milestones. “Based on the test, there are several parameters that will be adjusted prior to conducting the Flight Readiness Firing,” the ULA spokesperson said in a statement. “We are rolling back to the Vertical Integration Facility, where our access is better and the vehicle is protected to isolate and perform those adjustments.”

The static fire test will occur prior to attaching two strap-on solid-fueled side boosters, provided by Northrop Grumman, that are needed for the first launch. That launch is presently scheduled for sometime this summer, but first the static fire test has to take place successfully, with no issues, and these boosters need to be attached.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Ray Van Dune

    Re your headline: vehicle did not return to the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building), but to ULA’s own VIF (Vertical Integration Facility).

  • Ray Van Dune: I’ve changed the headline. Thank you.

  • Ray Van Dune

    “With a successful Flight Readiness Firing and completion of the probe into the Centaur test explosion, Bruno said ULA is “protecting” for the possibility of launching the Vulcan test flight this summer.”

    I am unable find a projected completion date for the investigation into the Centaur V test explosion. ULA seems to be focusing on a successful Flight Readiness Firing, and “whistling past the graveyard” a bit on the outcome of the Centaur explosion investigation.

    Assuming that the first mission requires a Centaur V (as do they all?), whether the Centaur V at the Cape will be considered good to go after the explosion investigation seems to be a bit of a longshot.

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