An Atlas V, in its “501” configuration with a 5.4-meter-wide (18-foot) payload fairing, no strap-on boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage, roars aloft with the National Reconnaissance Office’s NROL-41 payload. The RL-10 engine used by the Centaur has been the primary cause of more than a month of delays. Photo Credit: ULA
Quality control technician checks Long March 2F set to launch the Shenzhou 9 astronauts in mid June at the Jiuquan launch site.
China’s aggressive satellite production and launch pace is threatening launch vehicle failures and the malfunction in orbit of important spacecraft, according to a largely classified Defense Dept. report to Congress.