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ULA looks to close out 2016 with launch of EchoStar XIX

EchoStar XIX, with its antennas and solar arrays stowed, sits on a vertical stand prior to fairing encapsulation. Photo credit: SSL

As 2016 draws to a close, United Launch Alliance (ULA) is busy making final preparations to launch the EchoStar XIX communications satellite on the Atlas V rocket. Liftoff is scheduled for the beginning of a two-hour launch window at 1:27 p.m. EST (18:27 GMT) Dec. 18.

Originally scheduled to launch on Dec. 16, ULA was forced to delay the mission two days due to a hardware issue discovered during final checkout procedures.

EchoStar XIX will be launching on the 431 variant of the Atlas V, which has a 4-meter payload fairing, 3 supplemental solid rocket motors, and a single-engine Centaur stage. This will mark the 12th mission of the year for the Colorado-based launch provider.

The satellite, also known as Jupiter 2, arrived at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in early November 2016, where it has since undergone processing in preparation for its launch on Dec. 18, 2016.

Read more in my full piece at SpaceFlight Insider…

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