ULA Vulcan Centaur Rocket’s Maiden Launch Delayed to January Written 12 December 2023


United Launch Alliance (ULA) hoists its Vulcan Cert-1 booster into the Vertical Integration Facility. | Credit: ULA

SPACE reports that the premiere “of the Space Coast’s newest launch vehicle, carrying a moon lander aiming for the first commercial touchdown, will likely slip to the beginning of 2024.” United Launch Alliance (ULA) “performed a wet dress rehearsal (WDR) of the company’s new Vulcan Centaur rocket over the weekend, which includes loading propellant into the spacecraft and running through launch-day procedures up to the moments before engine ignition.” However, the test did not go to plan. A social media post from ULA CEO Tory Bruno Sunday indicated the test “ran the timeline long so we didn’t quite finish.” Vulcan’s first launch, “which includes the rocket’s Centaur second stage, was scheduled for Dec. 24 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in coastal Florida.” But the incomplete WDR “means that window is likely out.” The next window “opens Jan. 8, and will last four days, the CEO clarified in a follow-up post.” Each of those opportunities “include an instantaneous launch window to accommodate the mission’s main payload: Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander, headed for the moon.”
Full Story (SPACE)