The Atlas V rocket with the Lucy mission spacecraft lifts off the pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider
NASA’s Lucy mission to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids has begun with a launch atop an Atlas V rocket.
Liftoff atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket came at 5:34 a.m. EDT (8:34 UTC) Oct. 16, 2021, from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider
Over the course of 58 minutes, the rocket propelled the Lucy spacecraft on its initial trajectory before separating from the vehicle.
Atlas V was in a “401” configuration, which means it had a 4-meter payload fairing that encapsulated the spacecraft, zero solid rocket motors and a single-engine Centaur upper stage.
The first stage’s burn lasted about four minutes and three seconds. The first burn of the Centaur upper stage lasted about nine minutes.
After a coast of about 27 minutes, the Centaur upper stage burned for an additional six minutes to propel the vehicle on an Earth escape trajectory. Some 12 minutes later, Lucy was separated from the upper stage.
NASA’s 3,400-pound (1,550-kilogram) Lucy spacecraft is more than 46 feet (14 meters) ...