By JOHN ANTCZAK – Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A satellite tv for pc designed to enhance weather forecasting and an experimental inflatable warmth defend to guard atmosphere-penetrating spacecraft had been launched Thursday from California.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the Joint Polar Satellite System-2 satellite tv for pc and NASA’s test payload lifted off at 1:49 a.m. from Vandenberg Space Force Base northwest of Los Angeles.
Developed for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, JPSS-2 shall be launched into an orbit that orbits the Earth from pole to pole, bringing collectively beforehand launched satellites in a system designed to enhance weather forecasting and local weather monitoring.
The NASA mission weblog mentioned there was no instant knowledge confirming the deployment of the photo voltaic array.
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“Mission managers for NOAA’s JPSS-2 confirm that the satellite has acquired a signal and is receiving and responding to commands. The satellite is currently positive (powered) and in a safe and stable configuration as teams assess the status of the solar array,” the blog reads.
The array consists of five panels folded in an accordion fold for launch. The fully deployed array would span 30 feet (9.1 meters).
Mission officials say the satellite represents the latest technology and will increase the accuracy of observations of the atmosphere, oceans and land.
After the satellite dropped, the rocket’s upper stage was re-ignited to position the test payload for re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere and descent into the Pacific Ocean.
The device, dubbed LOFTID, short for Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator, is an “aeroshell” that could be used to launch heavy spacecraft descending into atmospheres such as those of Mars or Venus, or payloads, to slow down and protect those returning to Earth.
Effectively slowing down heavy spacecraft, according to NASA, requires greater atmospheric drag than can be generated by conventional rigid heat shields that fit within the envelopes surrounding payloads aboard rockets.
The LOFTID shield inflates to a diameter of approximately 6 meters.
In the thin atmosphere of Mars, for example, such a large shield would slow the craft at higher altitudes and reduce the intensity of warming, the space agency says.
The video showed the inflated heat shield detaching itself from the rocket and descending to Earth. A camera on board a salvage ship A few hundred miles east of Hawaii showed it splashing under a parachute.
NASA mentioned the defend was picked up by the boat, which then got down to recuperate a backup knowledge module that was ejected through the descent.
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