ULA targets Dec. 18 launch of EchoStar XIX
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. — The launch of the Echostar 19 high-speed internet communication satellite will have to wait a little longer. Through a statement issued by Colorado-based United Launch Alliance (ULA) on Dec. 9, 2016, it was revealed that the commercial spacecraft would take to the skies on Sunday, Dec. 18.
EchoStar 19 is being prepared to launch atop the venerable Atlas V rocket in its 431 configuration – a four-meter fairing, three AJ60A solid rocket motors, and a single RL10-C engine in its Centaur upper stage.
The spacecraft is being sent to orbit in order to provide improved internet connectivity across North America, especially in regions where this resource is presently unavailable.
“During a test of the flight control system, a component of the first stage booster exhibited off-nominal behavior and will be replaced and retested early next week. This additional time will allow the ULA team to ensure all systems are operating nominally prior to final launch preparations,” ULA said via the statement.
When it does launch, it will do so from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida. The launch window is scheduled to open at 1:27 p.m. EST and extend for approximately two hours.
According to a report posted on SpaceFlight Now, the rocket – with the payload fairing and the Echostar 19 satellite inside – will tower some 194 feet (59 meters) in height.
The satellite itself was built by Space Systems Loral and weighs in at about 15,000 lbs (6,804 kg) and will use the Atlas V 431 to get it started on its way to its geostationary orbital destination.
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.