Artwork on the Atlas V payload fairing for SBIRS GEO flight 4, containing the 3rd SBIRS GEO satellite. Photo credit: Bill Jelen / We Report Space
CAPE CANAVERAL: An Atlas V rocket, flying in the 411 configuration lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Friday, January 19, 2018. The logo on the fairing clearly said SBIRS-GEO-4, but the satellite inside the fairing was the third Space-Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (SBIRS-GEO-3) satellite off the production line. This isn’t the first time that a mission launched out of sequence. Gemini-7 launched before Gemini-6. Bumper-8 launched before Bumper-7. And now, the 4th SBIRS-GEO launched one year before the third SBIRS-GEO.
Bumper was a combination of the German V-2 rocket and the WAC Corporal sounding rocket and was used to study problems pertaining to two-stage high-speed rockets. Eight rockets were launched during the Bumper program between May 13, 1948, to July 29, 1950. The first six Bumpers launched at White Sands. Bumper 8 was the first rocket to launch from Cape Canaveral. Bumper 8 launched July 24, 1950. Bumper 7 launched five days later on July 29, 1950.
When the original Gemini VI mission was scrubbed because the launch of ...