United Launch Alliance is close to completing the construction of its new heavy-lift rocket and the Boeing–Lockheed Martin joint venture expects to transport the vehicle from its factory in Decatur, Alabama, factory to the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida in November.
Vulcan Centaur is on track for its inaugural launch in the first quarter of 2023, according to ULA.
Northrop Grumman produced and delivered a pair of extended-length Graphite Epoxy Motors to the rocket’s launch site.
GEM 63XL measures 63 inches in diameter and 72 feet in length. Weighing over 117,000 pounds, each of the monolithic single-cast solid rocket motor is designed to generate 463,200 lbs of additional thrust at launch, Northrop said Wednesday.
The flight will carry payloads from Astrobotic, Celestis and two of Amazon’s Project Kuiper demonstration satellites. Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program.
The upcoming Vulcan Centaur mission is a prerequisite for ULA to achieve U.S. Space Force certification for its first national security space mission planned in the fourth quarter of 2023.