NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission began with a brilliant liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Launch was right on time at the first opportunity at 10:44 p.m. EDT and came on the heels of a smooth countdown.
“The countdown today went very well,” NASA Launch Manager Omar Baez said. “We really worked absolutely no launch vehicle or spacecraft issues, the range was green and the flight was nominal. Picture perfect.”
“This evening unfolded essentially perfectly for us,” MMS Project Manager Craig Tooley said of the countdown and flight. He reported all four spacecraft appear healthy following separation.
“It appears all four are where they need to be,” Baez said. “You can’t ask for anything more.”
With that we’ll conclude live launch coverage. Thank you for joining us! For the latest news on the MMS mission, visit https://www.nasa.gov/mms.
Spacecraft separation is complete! All four of NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale observatories have been released in orbit, where they’ll soon embark on an ambitious mission to unlock the secrets of magnetic reconnection.
MMS-2 is flying solo. MMS-1 is alone on the Centaur for another five minutes until it, too, is released.
Two released, two more to go! The MMS-3 spacecraft has separated, like MMS-4 a few minutes ago.
MMS-2 and MMS-1 are still attached to the Centaur, but they’ll soon separate as well. MMS-2 is up next.
The first of four MMS observatories is on its own after separation from the Centaur upper stage!
MMS-3 is next, five minutes from now.
Standing by now for release of MMS-4 in about three minutes.
The Centaur’s work is nearly complete. During this period the Centaur will be made as stable as possible to prepare for spacecraft separation.
Spacecraft separation begins in about 14 minutes with the release of MMS-4. Every five minutes, another spacecraft will be released, with MMS-1 the last to leave at 1 hour, 47 minutes into the flight.
Ignition! The second Centaur main engine burn is in progress. This burn is scheduled to last 5 minutes, 40 seconds.
The coast phase is coming to an end. Now five minutes away from the second and final burn of the Centaur’s main engine.