Author Topic: LIVE: Atlas V/Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - June 18, 09  (Read 179045 times)

Offline jacqmans

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Jan. 10, 2008


RELEASE: 08-004

NASA'S NEXT MOON MISSION SPACECRAFT UNDERGOING CRITICAL TESTS

GREENBELT, Md. - NASA's next mission to Earth's closest astronomical
body is in the midst of integration and testing at NASA's Goddard
Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The Lunar Reconnaissance
Orbiter, known as LRO, will spend at least a year mapping the surface
of the moon. Data from the orbiter will help NASA select safe landing
sites for astronauts, identify lunar resources and study how the
moon's environment will affect humans.

Engineers at Goddard are building the orbiter and rigorously testing
spacecraft components to ready them for the harsh environment of
space. After a component or entire subsystem is qualified, it is
integrated into the LRO spacecraft. The core suite of avionics for
the orbiter is assembled and undergoing system tests.

"This is a major milestone for the mission," said Craig Tooley, LRO
project manager at Goddard. "Our team has been working nearly around
the clock to get us to this point. Reaching this milestone keeps us
on the path to sending LRO to the moon later this year."

Various components of the avionics and mechanical subsystem are in the
process of going through their qualification program. Six instruments
and one technology demonstration aboard the spacecraft will provide
important data to enable a safe and productive human return to the
moon. The six instruments are scheduled to arrive at Goddard in the
coming months for integration.

The spacecraft will ship to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., in
August in preparation for launch. The orbiter and the Lunar Crater
Observation and Sensing Satellite will launch aboard an Atlas V
rocket in late 2008. The trip to the moon will take approximately
four days. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter initially will enter an
elliptical orbit, also called the commissioning orbit. Once moved
into its final orbit, a circular polar orbit approximately 31 miles
above the moon, the spacecraft's instruments will map the lunar
surface.

For more information about the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, visit:

http://lro.gsfc.nasa.gov

For more information about NASA's exploration program to the moon and
beyond, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/exploration
« Last Edit: 06/18/2009 11:12 AM by Chris Bergin »

Offline jacqmans

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RE: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - (Launch late) 2008
« Reply #1 on: 01/14/2008 08:18 PM »
RELEASE: 08-006

NASA'S QUEST TO FIND WATER ON THE MOON MOVES CLOSER TO LAUNCH

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. - Cameras and sensors that will look for the
presence of water on the moon have completed validation tests and
been shipped to the manufacturer of NASA's Lunar Crater Observation
and Sensing Satellite.

The science instruments for the satellite, which is known as LCROSS,
departed NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field Calif., for the
Northrop Grumman Corporation's facility in Redondo Beach, Calif. to
be integrated with the spacecraft. A video file is available on NASA
Television. LCROSS is scheduled to launch with the Lunar
Reconnaissance Orbiter aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral,
Fla., by the end of 2008.

"The goal of the mission is to confirm the presence or absence of
water ice in a permanently shadowed crater at the moon's south pole,"
said Anthony Colaprete, LCROSS principal investigator at Ames. "The
identification of water is very important to the future of human
activities on the moon."

In 2009, LCROSS will separate into two parts and create a pair of
impacts on the permanently dark floor of one of the moon's polar
craters. The spent Centaur upper stage of the Atlas V rocket will hit
the moon, causing an explosion of material from the crater's surface.
The instruments aboard the satellite will analyze the plume for the
presence of water ice or water vapor, hydrocarbons and hydrated
materials. The satellite then will fly through the plume on a
collision course with the lunar surface. Both impacts will be visible
to Earth and lunar-orbiting instruments.

Northrop Grumman is designing and building the spacecraft. After
installing the instruments on the satellite, Northrop Grumman will
test the entire spacecraft system to ensure it is flight worthy.

During development of the LCROSS payload, Ames engineers and
scientists built new spaceflight hardware and used new testing
procedures to take advantage of lower cost, commercially available
instruments. The team subjected the commercial instruments and
NASA-developed components to conditions simulating the harsh
environment of spaceflight. Working closely with the commercial
instrument manufacturers, all safety and operational concerns were
addressed quickly and efficiently.

"This payload delivery represents a new way of doing business for the
center and the agency in general," said Daniel Andrews, LCROSS
project manager at Ames. "LCROSS primarily is using
commercial-off-the-shelf instruments on this mission to meet the
mission's accelerated development schedule and cost restraints."

"This arrangement has proven to work very well," Andrews added. "The
vendors work with their products and develop a spaceflight knowledge
base, and the LCROSS project gets very mature products for deployment
on this mission."

For more information about the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing
Satellite mission, visit:

http://lcross.arc.nasa.gov

For more information about the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, visit:

http://lunar.gsfc.nasa.gov

For more information about NASA's exploration plans to the moon and
beyond, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/exploration

For NASA TV downlink, schedule and streaming video information, visit:


http://www.nasa.gov/ntv


-end-

Offline Big Al

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Re: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - (Launch late) 2008
« Reply #2 on: 01/27/2008 02:43 AM »

 This mission needs to fly before we start talking about changing our manned exploration from the moon to an asteroid. The discovery of significant water ice on the moon will open up the prospect of self sustained lunar exploration.

Online MKremer

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Re: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - (Launch late) 2008
« Reply #3 on: 01/28/2008 02:19 PM »
Never hurts to always talk about alternatives beforehand - it's never good policy to lock future plans in stone based on something you're not sure of yet.

Suppose LRO/LCROSS really doesn't find anything new, then what?

Offline Big Al

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Re: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - (Launch late) 2008
« Reply #4 on: 01/31/2008 04:30 AM »
Water ice or not there is allot of exploration to be done on the moon, my vision of the future of man on the moon is mining the moon. To live there on an ongoing basis, there will be pressurized tunnels under ground to provide stable temperature and allow pressurization for a habitable environment.

Probably the most important technology for the development of long term occupation of the moon is the development of remote TBM’s (tunnel boring machines)

Offline Big Al

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Re: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - (Launch late) 2008
« Reply #5 on: 02/02/2008 11:35 PM »


Back to the mission….It would be great if LCROSS had a hi-def TV camera on it. Remember the Ranger photos? What a rush! They had huge PR value to them. Imagine a set of those photos in high definition format; it would really help build public interest in lunar exploration.

Offline jacqmans

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RE: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - (Launch late) 2008
« Reply #6 on: 04/16/2008 08:39 PM »
RELEASE: 08-102

NEW NASA MOON MISSION BEGINS INTEGRATION OF SCIENCE INSTRUMENTS

GREENBELT, Md. -- Several instruments that will help NASA characterize
the moon's surface have been installed on the Lunar Reconnaissance
Orbiter, or LRO. The powerful equipment will bring the moon into
sharper focus and reveal new insights about the celestial body
nearest Earth.

Engineers and technicians on the LRO Integration and Test Team work
almost around the clock in a clean room at NASA's Goddard Space
Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., to ready the spacecraft for testing
and eventual launch later this year. "The spacecraft really is coming
together now," said Cathy Peddie, LRO deputy project manager at
Goddard. "We are in the space assembly homestretch and making solid
progress. You can begin to see what LRO will look like in all of its
glory."

Four of six instruments have been mated to the spacecraft, with one to
be installed soon and one to arrive in the near future. The
instruments are:

The Lyman-Alpha Mapping Project was built and developed at the
Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. The instrument will map
the entire lunar surface in the far ultraviolet spectrum and search
for surface ice and frost in the polar regions. It will provide
images of permanently shadowed regions that are illuminated only by
starlight.

The Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation, or CRaTER, was
built and developed by Boston University and the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology in Boston. CRaTER will characterize the lunar
radiation environment, allowing scientists to determine potential
impacts to astronauts and other life. It also will test models on the
effects of radiation and measure radiation absorption by a type of
plastic that is like human tissue. The results could aid in the
development of protective technologies to help keep future lunar crew
members safe.

Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment was built and developed by the
University of California, Los Angeles, and the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Diviner will measure surface and
subsurface temperatures from orbit. It will identify cold traps and
potential ice deposits as well as rough terrain and other landing
hazards.

The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter was conceived and built by
scientists and engineers at Goddard. The instrument will measure
landing site slopes and lunar surface roughness and generate high
resolution three-dimensional maps of the moon. The instrument also
will measure and analyze the lunar topography to identify both
permanently illuminated and shadowed areas.

The Russian-built Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector has arrived from
the Institute for Space Research in Moscow. The detector will create
high-resolution maps of hydrogen distribution and gather information
about the neutron component of lunar radiation. Its data will be
analyzed for evidence of water ice near the moon's surface.

The remaining instrument, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera from
Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz., will provide high
resolution imagery to help identify landing sites and characterize
the moon's topography and composition. It should arrive at Goddard in
May.

Also on board will be the Mini-RF Technology Demonstration experiment
sponsored by NASA's Exploration Systems and Space Operations Mission
Directorates. The miniaturized radar will be used to image the polar
regions and search for water ice. The communications capabilities of
the system also will be tested during the mission.

The satellite is scheduled to launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center,
Fla., in late 2008 on an Atlas V rocket. It will spend one year in
low polar orbit on its primary exploration mission, with the
possibility of three more years to collect additional detailed
scientific information about the moon and its environment. That
information will help ensure a safe and productive human return to
the moon.

The spacecraft is being built and managed by Goddard for the
Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in
Washington. It will transition to the Science Mission Directorate in
2010.

For more information about LRO on the Web, visit:

http://lro.gsfc.nasa.gov


Offline simonbp

Re: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - (Launch late) 2008
« Reply #7 on: 04/17/2008 01:50 AM »
Quote
MKremer - 28/1/2008  8:19 AM

Suppose LRO/LCROSS really doesn't find anything new, then what?

It will find something new, as the results for polar subsurface ice are pretty vague right now; at worst case, it will constrain the amount of polar to a being small; at best, it will provide definitive proof.

Either way, the real result of LRO will be to help build up the lunar science community, who can be powerful stakeholders in keeping Constellation alive...

Simon ;)

Offline Zachstar

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Re: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - (Launch late) 2008
« Reply #8 on: 04/24/2008 04:35 PM »
Quote
Big Al - 2/2/2008  6:35 PM



Back to the mission….It would be great if LCROSS had a hi-def TV camera on it. Remember the Ranger photos? What a rush! They had huge PR value to them. Imagine a set of those photos in high definition format; it would really help build public interest in lunar exploration.


I think JAXA's orbiter is doing fine on that front.

No what is more important in my view is that this Orbiter stay as long as possible to collect the most detailed map of the moon yet.

In my view what we know now of the moon is pathetic compared to the rate we are learning about Mars. We need that detailed view of the moon to help convince congress to keep the moon dream alive or Mars will be FAR delayed.

Offline jacqmans

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RE: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - (Launch late) 2008
« Reply #9 on: 05/02/2008 08:20 AM »
RELEASE: 08-110

SEND YOUR NAME TO THE MOON WITH NEW LUNAR MISSION

WASHINGTON -- NASA invites people of all ages to join the lunar
exploration journey with an opportunity to send their names to the
moon aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, spacecraft.

The Send Your Name to the Moon Web site enables everyone to
participate in the lunar adventure and place their names in orbit
around the moon for years to come. Participants can submit their
information at http://www.nasa.gov/lro, print a certificate and have
their name entered into a database. The database will be placed on a
microchip that will be integrated onto the spacecraft. The deadline
for submitting names is June 27, 2008.

"Everyone who sends their name to the moon, like I'm doing, becomes
part of the next wave of lunar explorers," said Cathy Peddie, deputy
project manager for LRO at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in
Greenbelt, Md. "The LRO mission is the first step in NASA's plans to
return humans to the moon by 2020, and your name can reach there
first. How cool is that?"

The orbiter, comprised of six instruments and one technology
demonstration, will provide the most comprehensive data set ever
returned from the moon. The mission will focus on the selection of
safe landing sites and identification of lunar resources. It also
will study how the lunar radiation environment could affect humans.

LRO will also create a comprehensive atlas of the moon's features and
resources that will be needed as NASA designs and builds a planned
lunar outpost. The mission will support future human exploration
while providing a foundation for upcoming science missions. LRO is
scheduled for launch in late 2008.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is being built at Goddard. The
mission also will be managed at the center for NASA's Explorations
Systems Mission Directorate in Washington.

Send Your Name to the Moon is a collaborative effort among NASA, the
Planetary Society in Pasadena, Calif., and the Johns Hopkins Applied
Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.

To send your name to the moon, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/lro

Offline eeergo

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RE: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - (Launch late) 2008
« Reply #10 on: 05/02/2008 02:47 PM »

I've been having a look at LRO's homepage and, specifically, the instruments the probe is carrying. I'll make a short summary to give some background and for further reference (you can click on the name of the instruements and it will take you to each one's official website):

  • CRaTER : Radiation measurement device, to better characterize the cislunar radiation environment, and test its effects on electronics samples or samples similar to human tissue.
  • LEND :  Russian instrument to measure neutron flux with high resolution. Hydrogen absorbs a lot of neutrons, and hydrogen can be related to water, furthermore if high hydrogen concentrations are found in polar craters.
  • Diviner/DLRE : Instrument to generate a global temperature map of the moon (useful for non-equatorial latitudes missions) and help with the search for water and moon geology.
  • LOLA : Laser altimeter and geodetic instrument, to create a global and local elevation maps of the moon's surface, as well as roughness of the terrains.
  • LAMP : Ultraviolet imager to look inside permanently shadowed regions, and contribute to the search for water ice trapped there. It can also probe the moon's geology and its tenuous atmosphere with a newly developed technique.Its technology could prove useful for future missions too.
  • LROC : The much-anticipated cameras, which will provide the detailed imagery (among which will be the first images of the Apollo missions since the astronauts departure), as well as useful topographic and mineralogical composition of the regolith.
  • Mini-RF: This is a technology demonstrator for a lunar SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar)

This is a good image of the instruments' locations on LRO, found in LEND's website:

 

And, latest news is that LEND is integrated, LOLA is being integrated too, and they're proceeding with thermal vacuum tests for the High Gain Antenna, as well as thermal blanket installation and production.

-DaviD-

Offline jacqmans

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Re: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - (Launch late) 2008
« Reply #11 on: 06/03/2008 03:54 PM »
RELEASE: 08-59
 

MEDIA INVITED FOR NASA LRO MEDIA DAY


NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. invites reporters to participate in a special media day that will highlight NASA's upcoming Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission. LRO Media Day will be held on Thursday, June 12, 2008 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT.

Media Day will provide reporters with an opportunity to learn more about this upcoming mission. A panel briefing will begin at 10 a.m. The briefing will be followed by a question and answer session with the panelists. Opportunities for one on one interviews with panel members will be provided following the Q&A session. Following the briefing, reporters will be taken to Goddard’s Integration and Test Facilities to view the LRO cleanroom where media will be briefed on activities going on inside the cleanroom. The final tour stop will be the LRO Mission Operations Center where LRO data will be received and processed from the spacecraft.

Reporters interested in attending should contact Nancy Neal Jones at 301-286-0039, or at nancy.n.jones@nasa.gov by June 9 to reserve a space and provide names for security badges. Foreign nationals must RSVP by June 5 to allow for proper clearance. Reporters should meet at the Goddard Visitor's Center, located off Greenbelt Road (State Route 193) and ICESat Road no later than 9:15 a.m. EDT to allow sufficient time for everyone to receive badges. A shuttle will take reporters to the various sites.

LRO will create a comprehensive atlas of the moon's features and resources that will be needed as NASA designs and builds a planned lunar outpost. LRO focuses on the selection of safe landing sites, identification of lunar resources, and studies of how the lunar radiation environment will affect humans. The mission will support future human exploration while providing a foundation for upcoming science missions. LRO is scheduled for launch in late 2008.

The spacecraft is being built and managed by Goddard for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. It will transition to the Science Mission Directorate in 2010.


Offline jacqmans

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Re: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - (Launch late) 2008
« Reply #12 on: 06/24/2008 09:17 PM »
RELEASE: 08-156

MOON-BOUND NASA SPACECRAFT PASSES MAJOR PREFLIGHT TESTS

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. -- Engineering teams are conducting final
checkouts of the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite,
known as LCROSS, that will take a significant step forward in the
search for water on the moon.

The mission's main objective is to confirm the presence or absence of
water ice in a permanently shadowed crater near a lunar polar region.
A major milestone, thermal vacuum testing of the LCROSS spacecraft,
was completed June 5 at the Northrop Grumman facility in Redondo
Beach, Calif.

To simulate the harsh conditions of space, technicians subjected the
spacecraft to 13.5 days of heating and cooling cycles during which
temperatures reached as high as 230 degrees Fahrenheit and as low as
minus 40 degrees. Previous testing for the LCROSS spacecraft included
acoustic vibration tests. Those tests simulated launch conditions and
checked mating of connection points to the Atlas V rocket's Centaur
upper stage and the adapter ring for the Lunar Reconnaissance
Orbiter, known as LRO.

The satellite currently is undergoing final checkout tests. After all
tests are complete, the LCROSS spacecraft will be prepared for
delivery to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for launch
processing and integration onto the Atlas V as a secondary payload to
LRO. Both spacecraft are scheduled to launch from Kennedy in late
2008.

"The spacecraft steadily has taken shape since Ames delivered the
science payload in January," said Daniel Andrews, LCROSS project
manager at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. "It
is a testament to the hard work, perseverance and expertise of the
NASA and Northrop Grumman teams that the spacecraft has completed
these critical tests ahead of schedule."

After launch, the LCROSS spacecraft and the Atlas V's Centaur upper
stage rocket will execute a fly-by of the moon and enter into an
elongated Earth orbit to position the satellite for impact on a lunar
pole. On final approach, the spacecraft and the Centaur will
separate. The Centaur will strike the surface of the moon, creating a
debris plume that will rise above the surface. Four minutes later,
LCROSS will fly through the debris plume, collecting and relaying
data back to Earth before impacting the lunar surface and creating a
second debris plume. Scientists will observe both impacts from Earth
to gather additional information.

LCROSS is a fast-paced, low-cost mission that is leveraging existing
NASA systems, commercial-off-the-shelf components and the spacecraft
design and development expertise of integration partner Northrop
Grumman Space Technologies. The LCROSS and LRO missions are
components of the Lunar Precursor Robotic Program at NASA's Marshall
Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala. The program manages pathfinding
robotic missions to the moon for the Exploration Systems Mission
Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

For more information about the Lunar Crater Observing and Sensing
Satellite, visit:

http://lcross.arc.nasa.gov

For more information about the Lunar Precursor Robotic Program, visit:

http://moon.msfc.nasa.gov

For information about NASA's exploration program to go to the moon and
beyond, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/exploration


-end-

Offline collectSPACE

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Re: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - (Launch late) 2008
« Reply #13 on: 07/02/2008 03:51 AM »
This photograph, taken today, shows Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter laying on its side as it undergoes a comprehensive performance test, its first "total checkout" at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

For more photos and enlargements, click here.

Offline Eerie

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Re: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - (Launch late) 2008
« Reply #14 on: 07/02/2008 11:16 AM »
I got a question regarded to spectacular photos:

Is it possible for lunar spacecraft orbit to be so low that it will pass below some points of terrain?

Offline Jim

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Re: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - (Launch late) 2008
« Reply #15 on: 07/02/2008 12:23 PM »
I got a question regarded to spectacular photos:

Is it possible for lunar spacecraft orbit to be so low that it will pass below some points of terrain?

It would be too risky to be in such an orbit.

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Re: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - (Launch late) 2008
« Reply #16 on: 07/02/2008 12:29 PM »
Is this launch still planned for the end of the year? Would be the only element of the vision staying (almost) on schedule. But I doubt it will. Missions with flexible windows (non planetary) tend to slip.

Analyst

Offline collectSPACE

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Re: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - (Launch late) 2008
« Reply #17 on: 07/21/2008 07:26 PM »
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter: Drifting to the Right a Little
http://www.livescience.com/blogs/2008/07/21/nasas-lunar-reconnaissance-orbiter-drifting-to-the-right-a-little/

MSDB now lists February 27, 2009.

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Re: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - (Launch late) 2008
« Reply #18 on: 07/26/2008 06:36 AM »
Is this launch still planned for the end of the year? Would be the only element of the vision staying (almost) on schedule. But I doubt it will.

Now late February 2009, as expected.

Analyst

Offline Orbiter

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Re: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - (Launch late) 2008
« Reply #19 on: 07/26/2008 07:48 AM »
Is this launch still planned for the end of the year? Would be the only element of the vision staying (almost) on schedule. But I doubt it will.

Now late February 2009, as expected.

Analyst

-adds going to see LRO launch next to Discovery launch on my List-
Now, in the mean time, I heard that they were going to photograph some of the Apollo Lunar Landing sites, is this true?
Attended space missions: STS-114, STS-124, STS-128, STS-135, Atlas V "Curiosity", Delta IV Heavy NROL-15, Atlas V MUOS-2, Delta IV Heavy NROL-37, SpaceX CRS-9, SpaceX JCSAT-16, Atlas V GOES-R, SpaceX SES-11.

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