Sunday, November 22, 2009

Atlas V ready for early Monday satellite launch

A 19-story United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is back on its launch pad, ready for an early Monday blast-off of a communications satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Liftoff is scheduled for 12:50 a.m. EST, the opening of a window that extends until 2:20 a.m.

The weather forecast is 60-percent "go," with a shower or thunderstorm possible early in the countdown and cloud cover the main concern. Click here to read the most recent Air Force forecast.

A Nov. 14 launch attempt of the Intelsat-14 satellite scrubbed because of faulty signal relayer.

The part was replaced in a vertical processing hangar near the pad at Launch Complex 41 and the rocket rolled back out to the pad Saturday.

The Intelsat-14 spacecraft will join the world's largest fixed satellite services fleet. Established in 1964, Intelsat operates more than 50 commercial communications satellites that provide service to 1,800 customers in 200 countries.

The spacecraft being launched Saturday is equipped with 66 channels that will beam signals to customers in North America, Central America, South America, Europe and Africa.

It also is outfitted with a U.S. Department of Defense payload designed to demonstrate a capability to beam the Internet through space.

Click here to read a ULA mission overview.

IMAGE: Photo by Pat Corkery, Lockheed Martin and United Launch Alliance

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