A powerful new rocket has arrived at the pad for its first ever liftoff.
United Launch Alliance (ULA) launched its Vulcan Centaur rocket into Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida this morning (January 5), putting it on target for its planned launch on Monday (January 8).
That liftoff, scheduled for 2:18 a.m. EDT (0718 GMT) on Monday, will send Peregrine's lander toward the moon. You can watch the event live here on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV, starting at 1:30 a.m. EDT (0630 GMT).
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The 202-foot (62-meter) Vulcan Centaur rocket will replace ULA's venerable Atlas V and Delta IV rockets, which have sent several notable payloads to the skies over the past few decades.
The new rocket traveled 0.3 miles (0.5 kilometers) from its hangar this morning “with the help of rail cars and track machines that push[ed] “The entire 1.7 million pound (771,000 kg) pad and Vulcan rocket along the tracks up the hill to the pad,” ULA wrote in a statement. Published on X Today.
“This is a beautiful sight right now,” ULA CEO Torey Bruno wrote in a message. Share X is his own Today, she shared a photo of a red and white Vulcan Centaur standing atop the podium at the end of the launch.
Monday's launch will also mark the debut of Peregrine, a robotic lunar lander built by Astrobotic of Pittsburgh. Peregrine will target relegation next month, and the success will be historic; No private vehicle has ever been able to land on the moon.
Peregrine is flying through NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, which aims to pave the way for the agency's Artemis astronaut missions. The special lander carries a variety of scientific payloads provided by NASA and the German Space Agency, known as DLR.
Astrobotic has booked some special payloads on Peregrine's flight as well, including commemorative capsules organized by Celestis and Elysium Space. This shipment generated some controversy. The Navajo tribe has objected to the inclusion of the capsules, saying depositing human remains on the moon would violate a sacred place.
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