Photo: NASA Kennedy
Northrup Grumman’s Pegasus XL launch vehicle is finally ready to launch NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) after being delayed for nearly a year.
In November of 2018, some of the sensor readings on the rocket were not within normal limits during various ferry and launch attempts.
After being flown back to Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California and having some modifications done, the launch is back on the schedule and is targeting a date of October 9th from the Landing Strip at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Pegasus XL rocket is an air-launched rocket which is carried into the upper atmosphere via airplane and then dropped to launch into space. After being released the rocket will ignite its solid rocket engine and orientate itself on a trajectory into orbit, carrying the payload safely out of Earth’s Atmosphere. After the rocket is dropped, the airplane then makes a u-turn and begins its flight back to the landing strip where it took off from, completing the mission. A time has not yet been determined for the launch.