A successful launch for NASA’s Lucy mission with help from ULA in Decatur

Thanks To Ula, Spacecraft Can Safely Enter Earth'S Orbit.
Thanks to ULA, spacecraft can safely enter Earth’s orbit. Photo via United Launch Alliance

At 5:34AM on October 16, NASA’s Lucy mission launched on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) rocket at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. The launch could not have been successful without the help of our sweet home Alabama. Why? Because ULA in Decatur, Alabama built the rocket.

ULA makes space exploration easy and attainable

ULA is a spacecraft launch service provider. It manufactures and operates rockets that launch spacecraft into orbit around Earth and to space. To date, the company has safely launched 146 missions.

ULA has locations scattered throughout the United States from Alabama to Colorado. Its manufacturing and assembly operations factory in Decatur, Alabama built the Atlas V rocket carrying NASA’s Lucy mission. Now, the mission is on its way to Jupiter’s asteroids.

“We are honored to partner with NASA to launch this one-of-a-kind mission and are proud to add the Lucy mission and the Trojan asteroids to our list of exploration launch successes.”

Gary Wentz, Vice President of Government and Commercial Programs, ULA

NASA’s Lucy mission

The Mission Is Named Lucy, After The Fossilized Skeleton Of One Of Our Earliest Known Hominin Ancestors.
The mission is named Lucy, after the fossilized ancient skeleton. Photo via United Launch Alliance

The main goal of this mission is to investigate Jupiter’s asteroids. Over the next 12 years, Lucy will fly by one main-belt and seven Trojan asteroids. The Lucy mission rocks (no pun intended) because it is NASA’s first single spacecraft to explore this many asteroids.

“We started working on the Lucy mission concept early in 2014, so this launch has been long in the making. It will still be several years before we get to the first Trojan asteroid, but these objects are worth the wait and all the effort because of their immense scientific value. They are like diamonds in the sky.”

Hal Levison, Lucy Principal Investigator, Southwest Research Institute

You can follow the Lucy mission’s journey through space on NASA’s website.

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Sonia Kerrigan
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