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New Locations for Old Rockets - SpacePod 2011.10.31

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The European Space Agency has been busy! An all new location to launch a very old rocket. This is your SpacePod for October 31st, 2011. In 2004 the European Space Agency retired their medium lift Ariane IV launch vehicle leaving only the heavy lift Ariane V rocket in their lineup. For the past couple of years ESA and Roscosmos have been working to add the all new launch site for medium lift Soyuz rockets at the Arianespace French Guianna launch site. This is a unique venture in that traditionally Soyuz rockets have only launched from Russia. On October 21st, 2011 the very first Soyuz rocket launched outside of Russia lifted off the pad, once again giving ESA a medium lift rocket to add to their manifest. Aboard are the first two satellites for the Galileo GPS constellation helping to remove Europe's reliance on the US GPS constellation which can be shut off at any time for political or military reasons. Their constellation should go live some time around 2014. And with the successful first flight of the Soyuz from the Amazon Jungle behind them, ESA is looking to add another vehicle to their lineup. Now scheduled to launch early 2012 the Vega rocket is designed to take even smaller payloads to orbit. With no boosters the Vega system will fill out ESAs rocket lineup giving them a light, medium and heavy launch capability for whatever payload they may need to loft to orbit. Speaking of rocket launches, United Launch alliance recently launched the last scheduled Delta II rocket, carrying the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System or the much easier to say "NPP" satellite to orbit. Launch Announcer: 2, main engine start, 1, 0. And liftoff of the Delta II with the NPP satellite, blazing the way in new technology for climate research and weather forecasting. Ben: Now NPP is an Earth observing satellite with a suite of five sensors that will take measurements of our planet including, cloud, vegetation, ice cover, ocean color, and sea and land surface temperatures. This data can then be used to help better understand climate change as well as help weather forecasters make predictions on dramatic and life threatening weather. While this was the last scheduled launch of the Delta II, that doesn't mean the program is over. United Launch Alliance still has parts to build up to 5 more Delta II rockets. However right now there are no customers signed on to have those rockets built. The Alliance hopes to fly these final 5 Delta II rockets sometime around 2014, of course they have to line up those customers first. Before we go, here is a quick calendar of upcoming launches. Now, remember that technology, weather or bad voodoo can scrub or delay any of these launches. Unfortunately the Spacevidcast live channel isn't quite online yet, but we're working on that. Until then make sure to check out the launches via the launch providers webcast and hit up the Spacevidcast Chat room to get your geek on with fellow space nerds.

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 41 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Benjamin Higginbotham
Director: Benjamin Higginbotham
Views: 55
Posted by: spacevidcast on Mar 24, 2012

ESA has been busy! An all new location to launch an old rocket. This is your SpacePod for October 31st, 2011.

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