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UPDATE: 12 Doves to Hitch a Ride to Space Station Aboard Atlas V


UPDATE: The launch of Flock 2e has been delayed due to weather. The next attempt will be at 5:33 pm eastern on Friday, December 4.

In Cape Canaveral, Florida, twelve of our Dove satellites are packed in the Cygnus spacecraft ready for launch. We’re calling these Doves “Flock 2e”. The Cygnus sits atop ULA’s Atlas V rocket, bound for the International Space Station (ISS). Flock 2e will launch on December 3 at 5:55 pm ET as secondary payload. This is the first time the Doves (and the Cygnus) will hitch a ride on an Atlas V, making it quite the historic event. Including the Atlas V, Planet Labs will have flown on 6 different types of launch vehicles across 12 different launches.

The Cygnus will carry over 7000 pounds of supplies and experiments to the ISS. According to SpaceFlightNow: “This will be the heaviest payload ever launched by an Atlas rocket and the vehicle’s first flight dedicated to the International Space Station.”

Once in space, the Cygnus spacecraft will accelerate laterally and “chase down” the space station over the course of three days. After the spacecraft docks with the ISS, astronauts will unload the cargo, and pack Flock 2e two-by-two into Nanoracks deployers. To learn more about our work with Nanoracks and the ISS watch this video:

To watch the launch live along with Team Planet, tune in to NASA TV’s live-stream on December 3.