Final ULA Launch For 2016 Of Atlas V Is Scheduled This Afternoon – Stay Tuned
The United Launch Alliance will be launching its final rocket of 2016. This rocket is an Atlas V rocket and will be responsible for sending out a communications satellite into the orbit. If this launch takes place successfully, ULA will have completed 12 launches this year. Overall for the company since it was formed 10 years ago, this launch will be its 115th. This company is joint venture of Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Boeing Defense, Space & Security and it held a monopoly for a long time in terms of military launches before SpaceX was given a GPS satellite contract by the government.
Atlas V and EchoStar 19
This launch will mark another success for ULA this afternoon. The satellite that will be launching today is referred to as the ‘EchoStar 19’ and will be used by HughesNet to give high speed internet to homes and businesses in North America. The obvious question that arises here is that how will this be achieved? Well, the probe responsible will be placed in the geosynchronous orbit, which is a super high orbit above the Earth and is approximately 22,000 miles up! While in this the satellites match the rotation of the Earth in a manner so that they appear geostationary (appear to stay in the same location all the time).
Now let’s look a little into the features of the Atlas V rocket. This rocket which will be carrying the EchoStar 19 will have 3 additional boosters attached to the base and these boosters will give the extra thrust to get the satellite into such a high orbit. The success of the launch is highly dependent on these special boosters and we have to wait for the launch to see whether they work or not. The takeoff will take place this afternoon at 1:27PM ET and the conditions are perfect for the launch. There is a 70% chance of favorable conditions and the company has its fingers crossed that the unfavorable doesn’t overcome the favorable at this crucial time. You can catch the LIVE coverage starting 1:07PM ET as ULA will begin the process. So stay tuned!