Launch of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket with NASA’s Lucy spacecraft is on track for Oct. 16, 2021 at 5:34 a.m. EDT, from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy Space Center, America’s premier multi-user spaceport, is managing the launch.
Weather officers with the 45th Weather Squadron, Space Launch Delta 45, at the Cape, continue to predict a 90% chance of favorable weather conditions at the launch pad for liftoff. The primary weather concern is the cumulus cloud rule.
During it’s 12-year primary mission, Lucy will explore a record-breaking number of asteroids, including a flyby of one asteroid in the solar system’s main belt and seven Trojan asteroids near Jupiter. Lucy’s path will circle back to Earth three times for gravity assists, making it the first spacecraft to return to the vicinity of Earth from the outer solar system.
Lucy’s principal investigator is based out of the Boulder, Colorado, branch of Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), which is headquartered in San Antonio. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, provides overall mission management, systems engineering, plus safety and mission assurance. Lockheed Martin Space in Littleton, Colorado, built the spacecraft. Lucy is the 13th mission in NASA’s Discovery Program. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Discovery Program for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C.
Live launch countdown and launch broadcast will begin Oct. 16, at 5 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website, as well as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, Daily Motion, Theta.TV and NASA’s App. Follow along on the Lucy blog.