EM – US Space Force experimental satellite launch postponed to Monday

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ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 3 (UPI) – A US space agency plan to launch a cluster of experimental satellites from Florida, including a NASA laser communications spacecraft, has been postponed to early Monday morning.
United Launch Alliance rescheduled the launch of the STP-3 mission aboard an Atlas-V rocket during a window beginning at 4:04 p.m. EST from Complex 41 of Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
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ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 3 (UPI) – A US space agency plan to launch a cluster of experimental satellites from Florida, including a NASA laser communications spacecraft, has been postponed to early Monday morning.

United Launch Alliance rescheduled the launch of the STP-3 mission aboard an Atlas-V rocket during a window beginning at 4:04 p.m. EST from Complex 41 of Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

The one-day postponement was due to the discovery of a leak in the rocket fuel storage system, officials said.

The mission had previously been postponed from this summer for various reasons, said Col. Carlos Quinones, director of the Space Force’s space test program, in a press conference Thursday.

“We’ve been working on this for a long time, so we’re very excited,” said Quinones.

The $ 1.14 billion mission will carry a number of classified spacecraft for navigation and communication in the Space support, including a satellite to detect nuclear detonations in space, Quinones said.

The satellite series is designed for very high orbit – more than 32,000 miles above Earth – said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president for government and commercial programs.

“The [missile] is the most powerful Atlas in our fleet,” said Wentz. The height of the mission means the STP-3 will be “the longest mission, with seven hours and 10 minutes to break up … and 8 hours and 8 minutes to finish,” he said.

The NASA spent approximately $ 320 million on its contribution to the mission, the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration spacecraft.

The LCRD will demonstrate how optical laser light beams can transfer huge amounts of data from high orbits in space, including long high-definition videos, to Earth in seconds, said David Israel, architect, NASA’s Exploration and Space Communications division. in an interview.

Such laser communication would dwarf the radio in terms of time and amount of data that could be sent from space, he said.

“We’re really trying to figure out how we can get big The best way to send amounts of data from the Moon or Mars, “he said. “We have done brief experiments before, but the LCRD mission will help us understand how lasers work or not through the clouds and atmosphere.”

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