Backup rocket rockets in Wichita return to flight status

The National Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (COSEA) program announced Thursday that it has expanded the ability to access that program’s boosters on the ground in Wichita, Kansas.

COSEA pilots will be able to access access to the Atlas V-41B rocket’s thrusters since their motors are now located in Wichita rather than Houston. That allows COSEA pilots to perform more dynamic test launches, the program stated in a news release.

“Going from Houston to Wichita was an issue to solve, but that was just one of many engineering problems we had to overcome,” COSEA Director Steve Kot in the release. “The fact that we were able to simultaneously accomplish our relocation, enabling us to launch rockets from the three main pad locations we have in Florida, Lubbock, Texas, and Wichita, is a significant accomplishment.”

COSEA operates from three locations in the United States: Apollo Launch Complex 41, Astrotech Test Site 15 and the NASASpaceFlight Government Launch Site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The project also announced that it planned to return to operational launch status in time for launch in November 2020. The program is on track to return to full operational status, the news release stated.

The COSEA program was established in 1989 as an advanced space simularization program to evaluate the technical feasibility of return to the moon as an exploration objective. It maintains a “substantial presence in these three space zones throughout the world, and last year conducted 30 mission operations and about 20 low-level associated activities,” according to the news release.

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