Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket rolled to its Launch Complex 41 pad Thursday morning in preparation for tonightâ??s planned 11:23 launch. / ULA

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A forecast out this morning continues to show an 80 percent chance of favorable weather for Friday night's late launch of an Atlas V rocket and Global Positioning System satellite.

Liftoff from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is targeted for 11:23 p.m. Eastern, the opening of an 18-minute launch window.

After afternoon thunderstorms peter out Friday, there's a slight chance isolated showers and clouds could pose a problem during the launch window.

The weather odds are equally good Saturday if the Friday launch slips.

This will be the 47th launch by an Atlas V since its debut in 2002 under the Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.

The 19-story rocket, which rolled to its pad Thursday morning, will carry on its top the Air Force's seventh of 12 next-generation GPS satellites built by Boeing. It's the third of four new GPS IIF spacecraft scheduled to launch this year.

It's been four months since an electrical fire damaged an Air Force tracking radar station, resulting in an unprecedented two-week grounding of local rocket launches while the Eastern Range tested a backup.

That type of failure should soon be a thing of the past thanks in part to GPS satellites like one launching Friday.

The United Launch Alliance rocket is expected to be the last requiring ground-based radars to track its flight as part of the range's responsibility for public safety, which includes destroying rockets if they veer off course.

Future launches will have fully implemented GPS metric tracking, which uses GPS satellite signals to track a rocket's trajectory in much the way a GPS tracks a car's driving route. Metric tracking should also reduce the cost of range operations and maintenance.

"We're looking forward to that improvement," said Walter Lauderdale, the Air Force mission director for Friday night's launch. "It's something that's been a long time coming."



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: Atlas V set for Cape Canaveral liftoff Friday

More In

test

Real Deals

Flip, shop and save on specials from your favorite retailers in central Ohio.

GET DEALS | COUPONS

Things To Do

THU
18
FRI
19
SAT
20
SUN
21
MON
22
TUE
23
WED
24

CLASSIFIEDS

Classifieds from across Central Ohio
Lancaster
Chillicothe
Newark
Marion
Bucyrus
Mansfield
Zanesville
Coshocton

Weeklies & Shoppers

10TV Headlines

Dispatch Headlines

METROMIX