United Launch Alliance (ULA) has completed encapsulation of the payload fairing around NASA’s Lucy spacecraft inside the Astrotech Space Operations Facility in Titusville, Florida. The payload fairing secures and protects the spacecraft during launch and ascent.
Up next, the payload fairing will be transported to Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and hoisted up into the Vertical Integration Facility for mating to the Centaur stage.
Lucy is scheduled to launch at 5:34 a.m. EDT on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, atop a ULA Atlas V 401 rocket from SLC-41. NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy Space Center, America’s premier multi-user spaceport, is managing the launch.
Over its 12-year primary mission, Lucy will explore a record-breaking number of asteroids, flying by one asteroid in the solar system’s main belt and seven Trojan asteroids around Jupiter. Additionally, 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.