Atlas rocket launch successful day after explosion, NASA officials said they don’t expect Tuesday night’s failure to impact to other missions in Florida or elsewhere.
Space industry advocates told Channel 9’s Melonie Holt that they have confidence in NASA’s use of multiple commercial providers to help fulfill the agency’s missions.
The go-ahead to load super-cold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into the rocket’s Centaur upper stage tanks came Wednesday morning. Liquid oxygen also was loaded into the Atlas booster, which burns a rocket-grade kerosene called RP-1.
The rocket is launching in its “401” configuration with no strap-on solid boosters. It is powered by a Russian-made RD-180 producing 860,000 pounds of thrust at liftoff, and an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL-10A Centaur engine.
The launch is the 50th by an Atlas V since it began flight in 2002, all successes.
Wednesday’s mission is the fourth this year updating a GPS constellation that now includes 31 active spacecraft orbiting in multiple plains about 11,000 miles up. The spacecraft is scheduled to separate from the rocket in orbit nearly three-and-a-half hours after launch.
There were no weather concerns for the launch.