The debut of United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket might slip from late December into early January, in response to the corporate’s president and CEO, Tory Bruno. In a social media put up on Sunday, Bruno stated the deliberate Dec. 24 launch date is “doubtless out.”
The assertion comes a pair days after the rocket carried out a Moist Costume Rehearsal (WDR), the place the car was totally fueled and went the countdown was to proceed to the ultimate seconds earlier than chopping off. However Bruno stated a “couple of routine floor points got here up close to the top” of the take a look at.
Floor groups had been concentrating on a T-0 of 4:30 p.m. EST on Friday. Primarily based on observations of venting in the course of the operation it appeared the countdown reached its remaining 4 minutes earlier than an abort occurred. The Vulcan car left the launch pad and returned to the Vertical Integration Facility constructing at launch advanced 41 Saturday afternoon.
“I’d like a full WDR earlier than our first flight, so [Christmas] Eve is probably going out,” Bruno stated in his put up on X. He added that they’re engaged on schedules however Spaceflight Now understands one other take a look at has been scheduled for as quickly as Tuesday.
#VulcanRocket WDR replace: Automobile carried out effectively. Floor system had a few (routine) points, (being corrected). Ran the timeline lengthy so we did not fairly end. I would like a FULL WDR earlier than our first flight, so XMAS eve is probably going out. Subsequent Peregrine window is 8 Jan.
— Tory Bruno (@torybruno) December 10, 2023
The first payload onboard is Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander, which is able to journey to the Moon. If the launch is ready to occur in the course of the December launch window (Dec. 24-26), the lander would contact down on the Moon’s floor at roughly 3:30 a.m. EST (0830 UTC) on Jan. 25, 2024.
Bruno stated that the following launch window primarily based on Peregrine’s wants opens on Jan. 8, 2024 and would doubtless final for 4 days. Dan Hendrickson, Astrobotic’s Vice President of Enterprise Improvement, advised Spaceflight Now again in October that the nominal time from launch to touchdown is between 30 and 39 days. It was not instantly clear if there’s a totally different transit time for the early January launch window.
Shifting Moon race
With the launch probably shifting to January, that adjustments the panorama for Moon-bound missions. Liftoff on Jan. 8 would imply Peregrine would launch simply 4 days earlier than the opening of the launch window for Intuitive Machine’s Nova-C lander onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Company’s (JAXA) Sensible Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) can also be making its solution to the Moon and is ready to land round 1520 UTC on Jan. 19.