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ULA Vulcan Centaur inaugural flight, certification mission set

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Everything continues to progress toward the first ULA Vulcan flight test and certification mission, officials with United Space Alliance announced.

The mission is planned to lift off 2:18 a.m. EST Monday from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The forecast shows an 85% chance of favorable weather conditions for launch, officials said.

This will be the inaugural launch of Vulcan Centaur, ULA’s next-generation rocket.

“This launch begins a new era for ULA and for the country,” said Tory Bruno, ULA’s president and CEO. “This rocket is transforming the future of launch. Vulcan satisfies all challenging orbital requirements essential for U.S. national defense and provides one scalable system for all missions while continuing to provide unmatched reliability and orbital precision.”

The Cert-1 mission includes two payloads, the first Peregrine Lunar Lander, Peregrine Mission One for Astrobotic as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative to deliver science and technology to the lunar service. The second payload is Celestis’ Memorial Spaceflights deep space Voyager mission, the Enterprise Flight.

“We have worked diligently to develop this evolutionary rocket and certify the first vehicle for flight,” said Mark Peller, vice president of Vulcan Development. “This next generation launch vehicle incorporates new technology at all levels, powered by American ingenuity to meet our nation’s need for expanding space missions.”

The Cert-1 mission serves as the first of two certification flights required for the U.S. Space Force’s certification process. The second certification mission is planned for later this year.

With a lunar landing attempt slated for Feb. 23, Peregrine could become the first private mission to touch down on the moon. The lander is targeting a lunar region called Sinus Viscositatis to demonstrate its ability to deliver payloads to the moon’s surface for NASA’s Artemis program.

Peregrine payloads will also study the moon’s exosphere, regolith, magnetic fields and radiation environment on this first mission.

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