Today saw the successful launch of an Atlas V with the X-37B space plane payload on mission OTV-3. The Atlas V roared into life bang on the opening of the first window of opportunity to launch today. It was a text-book launch after a number of scheduling delays.
The launch was dogged by pre-flight issues none of which were specifically related to the craft itself. First there was the problem with a previous Delta IV launch that uses common components. An investigation into the cause of the Delta IV problem ruled out any possibility of a recurrence on the Atlas V clearing the way for todays launch.
As the launch date approached there were some serious concerns about the weather coming in to play and even 2 hours before the launch window opened the weather officer was only predicting a 30% chance of favourable conditions. As things played out the weather cleared and the weather never went red.
Continue reading for the full launch report… READ MORE »