On Monday, November 18, 2013, NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) successfully launched to Mars carried by the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The spacecraft was built by Lockheed Martin and has Etched Disc Propellant and Pressurant Filters supplied by VACCO in its Propulsion System.
MAVEN’s mission is to study Mars’ upper atmosphere and find out what happened to the water that was once on the Red Planet. It is scheduled to arrive at Mars on September 22, 2014. Click here for Lockheed Martin's news release about the launch.
On Saturday, November 2, 2013, the Navy christened its newest and most advanced nuclear-attack submarine: the USS North Dakota (SSN 784). The ceremony took place in Groton, Connecticut at the General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard.
The 11th ship of the Virginia class submarines, USS North Dakota is scheduled to be commissioned May 31, 2014. SSN-784 has nearly 40 VACCO valves and manifolds—both quiet and non-quiet—aboard. Click here to read more about the Navy’s newest Virginia class sub.
ESCO Fluid Controls, which includes VACCO, PTI and Crissair, recently acquired Canyon Engineering Products, Inc. Located in Valencia, CA, Canyon Engineering develops and supplies fluid control products for the aerospace industry. The acquisition marries the aerospace company to Crissair—also a fluid controls supplier to aerospace— to form a single fluid controls company. Combining the separate entities into one will significantly boost its product line and strengthen its technology base. Click here for more details about the acquisition.
On Wednesday, September 18, 2013, Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket blasted the unmanned Cygnus capsule toward International Space Station (ISS). Its mission was to deliver essential items to the Expedition 36 crew members, including:
Cygnus successfully linked to ISS on Sunday, September 29, 2013. Astronauts used their ship’s huge robot arm to catch hold of the capsule.
Cygnus was expected to dock at ISS a week earlier, but was delayed due to inaccurate navigation data. All was fixed with a software patch. Before continuing its route, the capsule waited for a Russian spacecraft bringing three new astronauts in midweek.
Astronauts worked to install Cygnus on the space station after its early morning capture. The hatch opening was set for early Monday. VACCO is proud to have several hardware components on board Cygnus:
Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is on a 30-day transit to the moon. The spacecraft blasted off from Pad 0B at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, VA on Friday, Sep 6 at 11:27 pm EDT.
The unmanned probe that LADEE shot into space is on a mission to orbit the moon and gather detailed information about its thin exosphere and lunar dust environment. Information gained will not only help scientists answer long-standing wonders about the moon, but also help understand other planetary bodies with exospheres, like Mercury and some of Jupiter’s bigger moons.
VACCO proudly supplied the following hardware to SS Loral, who built the propulsion for the LADEE spacecraft:
Liftoff for the next Atlas 5 rocket is scheduled for September 25, 2013 at 2:36:a.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral, marking United Launch Alliance’s 75th mission. The rocket will carry the Air Force’s Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite No. 3 into a supersynchronous transfer orbit.
This AEHF satellite is the third in a series of six built by Lockheed Martin, and provides ultra-secure US communications between the president, military commanders and troops. VACCO proudly supplies the following hardware:
To read more about ULA’s 75th mission and the AEHF satellite series, click here.
On August 4, 2013 at 4:48 a.m. Japan Standard Time, the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 4 successfully soared into space with HTV-4 (a cargo transporter) onboard. Its destination is the International Space Station where it will be berthed. VACCO Industries proudly supplied a significant amount of hardware on the payload including:
Click here to watch the successful launch of the H-IIB!
On May 1, 2013, the Boeing X-51A WaveRider Scramjet set a record. The unmanned hypersonic vehicle flew 230 miles in six minutes—the most successful and longest test flight of the engine. For three and half of those minutes, the scramjet engine produced a steady acceleration to reach a hypersonic speed of Mach 5.1+. VACCO proudly supplied Boeing’s X-51A WaveRider Scramjet with specially prepared tank isolation fuel valves, filters, and manual service valves. Watch footage of the amazing flight:
The Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) made its way into space on Monday, February 11, 2013, carried by NASA’s Atlas V rocket. The rocket, which launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, has VACCO metal mesh filters onboard.
LDCM is the new earth observation satellite that continues a 40-year legacy. With improved sensing and data capture capabilities from its predecessor, LDCM will provide critical and freely accessible information to people who work in agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping and global change research. Read more about LDCM.
The Delta II launch vehicle lifted spacecraft GRAIL-A (Ebb) and GRAIL-B (Flow) toward the moon on Sept 10, 2011. Ebb and Flow used high-quality gravity field mapping of the moon to achieve their mission goal, which was to determine the moon's interior structure.
VACCO Industries proudly supported the GRAIL mission with filters on the Delta II launch vehicle, as well as HP latch valves, propellant and pressurant filters, and miniature fill & drain valves on the twin GRAIL spacecrafts.
The end of Ebb and Flow’s successful mission was marked by honoring Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. She died of cancer last summer. Read more here.