The United Launch Alliance (ULA)rocket ‘Vulcan’ is beginning final processing milestones in advance of the inaugural launch.

The first certification mission (Cert-1) is planned to launch on 24 December from Space Launch Complex-41 (SLC-41) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida.

The Vulcan rocket will provide higher performance and greater affordability for ULA customers across national security, civil and commercial markets.

Vulcan performance

“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 (PM1) for Astrobotic as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) 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 early 2024.

The Cert-1 Centaur V is enroute to the ULA facilities in Cape Canaveral, Florida aboard ULA’s R/S RocketShip. Additional future processing milestones include a wet dress rehearsal (WDR), spacecraft integration and then final processing in preparation for launch.
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