Whether you missed it the first time or just want to watch it again, check out the video of tonight’s dazzling liftoff of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft:
For an in-depth look at the mission ahead for the four Magnetic Multiscale observatories, download the MMS press kit (PDF). It’s full of details about the mission’s science objectives, the spacecraft and their instruments, and the key organizations that made the mission possible.
Right now, MMS remains attached to the Centaur upper stage during this 59-minute coast phase. After a second Centaur engine burn, the observatories will be released one by one, five minutes apart.
Hear launch controllers give the “go” for launch:
The first Centaur engine burn is complete, kicking off a 59-minute coast phase. The MMS spacecraft remain attached to the Centaur.
When the coast phase ends, the Centaur engine will perform one more burn to set up for MMS spacecraft separation. Finally, the four observatories will be released one by one over a period of about 15 minutes.
The Centaur’s first burn continues to look good according to ULA Telemetry Officer Marty Malinowski. First Centaur main engine shutdown (MES1) is coming up in about three-and-a-half minutes.
Booster engine cutoff and separation of the Atlas from the Centaur occurred on time, effectively handing the reins to the Centaur to continue the flight. The Centaur’s main engine is burning now and the payload fairing has fallen away, exposing the four MMS spacecraft to their first encounters with space.
The rocket’s two solid rocket boosters exhausted their fuel and separated from the Atlas V. Booster engines are performing well as the first-stage burn continues.
NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission is underway with a spectacular nighttime liftoff aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The vehicle is lighting the darkened skies over the spaceport, leaving Earth behind as it rockets into orbit after an on-time liftoff at 10:44 p.m. from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41.